It took 65 years, three finals and many broken hearts before we finally lifted the FA Cup. The fact that the team defeated in the Final was dirty Leeds United just made the joy even greater.
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A decade in which Chelsea sank from the sublime to the ridiculous. The crowning glory of Dave Sexton’s studious approach, the magnificent Cup Winners’ Cup final replay triumph over Real Madrid in Athens in 1971, soon appeared a watershed.
Defence of that title began in record-breaking fashion – 21-0 against part-timers Jeunesse Hautcharage – but crashed to a halt on away goals against lowly Atvidaberg. When, a year later, underdogs Stoke City swept the Blues aside at Wembley in the League Cup final, the end-of-era warnings were unmissable.
A tail-spin ensued. Financial calamity followed the drawn-out building of an ambitious new East Stand during a recession and soon special fundraising appeals to fans began to appear.
Straitened times meant wage restraint and disputes with stars. Departing legends of the Bridge such as Osgood and Webb heralded the break-up of the ‘Kings of the King’s Road’ and years of instability in the dugout followed Sexton’s sacking in 1974.
The flowering of youth, especially under Eddie McCreadie’s brief, dynamic leadership in 1976/77, once again shielded the club from outright disaster but not from the ups and downs of relegations in 1975 and 1979.
The loss of status and credibility of a once great sporting institution hit hard. Three sides of the ground were still in need of redevelopment while desperate attempts to relive the golden era with glamorous signings such as three-times European Footballer of the Year Johan Cruyff provoked scorn rather than respect.
When Ray Wilkins, Chelsea’s best youth product for a generation, teenage skipper and an England international, was sold to Man United in 1979 to chip away at the club’s mounting debts, it was a symbolic low point for supporters. Change was sure to come.
Spirit Of The Age
Chart hits for the likes of T. Rex, David Bowie and Sweet bring glitter, make-up, platform boots, feather boas and flared trousers to the worshipping teenage masses. Glam rock bends the line between the genders, paving the way for New Romantics and other C20th dandies.
Key Matches : 1970-1979
1970s Matchday Programme Cover
Players of the 1970s
|Player||Years||Total Apps||Total Goals|
|COOKE, Charlie||1966-72 & 1974-78||360+13||30|
|HOLLINS, John||1963-75 & 1983-84||592||64|
|HUDSON, Alan||1968-74 & 1983-84||188+1||14|
|OSGOOD, Peter||1964-74 & 1978-79||376+4||150|
|WICKS, Steve||1974-79 & 1986-88||163+1||8|