TEAM HISTORY - 1930s
Emerging from the horrors of war to face economic depression, Londoners wanted distraction and entertainment in their limited spare time. Crowd figures at the Bridge continued to rise, culminating in an October Saturday in 1935 when 82,905 crammed into the curving terraces for a league game against Arsenal - the highest official attendance ever recorded at the ground. It remains the second biggest attendance in English league football too.
It was little wonder this London derby proved such a draw. Arsenal had built London's first great side - winning four out of five championships in the early 30s.
The pressure had long been on Chelsea to compete with our local rivals. Having never been shy of spending cash since our birth, at the start of the 1930s the club splashed out in style. Continuing strong links with north of the border - three Scottish international forwards were bought for large sums. Alec Cheyne, Alec Jackson and Hughie Gallacher.
Small in stature, Gallacher was the biggest name in the game. Chelsea prised him away from Newcastle with a club record £10,000 fee.
The Stamford Bridge spectators, who had recently emerged from watching six years of Second Division football, our longest spell out of the top flight, caught their first glimpse of the new sparkling forward line in a 6-2 win over Man United. Hopes were sky high but expectations were not matched.
By Christmas both Birmingham and Derby had found the Chelsea net six times. Arsenal scored five at the Bridge. The pattern had been set for lower table finishes. It was a big disappointment.
An FA Cup run in 1932 brightened the mood and Chelsea found ourselves in our third semi-final. Ironically for Gallacher it was against Newcastle. The wee man scored past his former team but Chelsea lost 2-1. The next season we finished 18th out of 22 teams.
Those two redoubtable servants - Jack Harrow and then Tommy Law had ensured quarter-of-a-century of quality at left-back, but it wasn't enough to tip the balance.
Some of the stars missed too many training sessions and misfired in too many matches. It was a side high on ego but low on team spirit. While Gallacher's 81 goals in 144 games was a good return, he is remembered just as much for his indiscipline and volatile temper. After just over four seasons, he left for the north once more.
As London drifted to war again, Chelsea did little to lift the spirits of our fans. It often took England international goalkeeper Vic Woodley to prevent relegation being added to the worries.