50 Years of Chelsea: 1971-72
The Chelsea FanCast looks back, season by season, to 50 Years of Chelsea history from 1970 to the present day.
Stamford Chidge is joined by Jonathan Kydd and Clayton Beerman to look back at the 1971-72 season.
Chelsea supporters went in to the 1971-72 season full of optimism. Chelsea had just won their second trophy in consecutive seasons and many both expected and hoped that a title challenge was on the cards.
But thanks to some poor transfers and a worse start to the season it was to be a disappointing season.
Bedeviled by the unrest of stars such as Peter Osgood and Alan Hudson and the season long injury to Ian Hutchinson, the league campaign was up and down all season culminating in a final position of 7th, Chelsea’s worst finish for 5 seasons.
The Cup competitions were not much better. Having beaten Jeunesse 21-0 on aggregate Chelsea, the European Cup Winners Cup holders, were unceremoniously dumped out in the second round by Atvidaberg on away goals. As a result Chelsea were booed off the pitch.
They didn’t fare much better in the FA Cup. With one defeat in 24 games and favourites for both cups, only a few points off 1st place in the league, Chelsea faced Division 2 Leyton Orient. Chelsea were 2-0 up and conspired to lose 3-2 to a screamer, a defensive mix up and a last-minute goal. There were many missed chances too and the fans invaded the pitch in an attempt to get it abandoned!
The one beacon of hope in the season was reaching the final of the League Cup against Stoke City featuring England legend and World Cup winning ‘keeper Gordon Banks. In spite of ‘Blue is the Colour’ recorded in Feb 1972 by Chelsea supporting producer Larry Page reaching no. 5 in the Charts; Chelsea’s complacent performance with defensive errors and a lack of urgency ended in defeat to Stoke. Little did we know then that this would be Chelsea’s last appearance at a Wembley final in a major competition for 22 years.
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