History

The 1970s

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.

FORMER MANAGERS

Dave Sexton

photo of Manager: 1967-74 Manager: 1967-74

Ron Suart

photo of Manager: 1974-75 Manager: 1974-75

Eddie McCreadie

photo of Manager: 1975-77 Manager: 1975-77

Ken Shellito

photo of Manager: 1977-78 Manager: 1977-78

Danny Blanchflower

photo of Manager: 1978-79 Manager: 1978-79

Geoff Hurst

photo of Manager: 1979-81 Manager: 1979-81

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.

KEY PLAYERS

Peter Osgood

photo of Player: 1964-74 & 1978-79 Player: 1964-74 & 1978-79

Charlie Cooke

photo of Player: 1966-72 & 1974-78 Player: 1966-72 & 1974-78

Ian Hutchinson

photo of Player: 1964-74 & 1978-79 Player: 1964-74 & 1978-79

Alan Hudson

photo of Player: 1969-1974, 1979/80 Player: 1969-1974, 1979/80

Ron Harris

photo of Player: 1966-72 & 1974-78 Player: 1966-72 & 1974-78

Ray Wilkins

photo of Player: 1973-79 Player: 1973-79

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

CHELSEA 2 LEEDS 2 / CHELSEA 2 LEEDS 1

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. READ MORE>>

CHELSEA 1 REAL MADRID 1 / CHELSEA 2 REAL MADRID 1

Our first European final was against one of the great names of world football. Real Madrid had already been crowned European champions on no fewer than six occasions but they were an aging team by then and the Chelsea players were confident of victory. READ MORE>>

CHELSEA 4 LIVERPOOL 2 / CHELSEA 2 LIVERPOOL 0
The late 1970s and early 1980s were grim times for Chelsea fans with very little to get excited about. There were few highlights in an era when financial issues were threatening the very existence of the club yet twice in that time the European Champions were beaten in the FA Cup.  READ MORE>>

BRUGES 2 CHELSEA 0 / CHELSEA 4 BRUGES 0
Only once in the victorious European Cup Winners’ Cup campaign of 1970/71 did we find ourselves having to come from behind. That was in the quarter-final tie against FC Bruges. READ MORE>>

JEUNESSE HAUTCHARAGE 0 CHELSEA 8 / CHELSEA 13 JEUNESSE HAUTCHARAGE 0
Luxembourg amateurs Jeunesse Hautcharage are possibly the smallest club ever to appear on the European stage. READ MORE>>

CHELSEA 3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 / TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 CHELSEA 2
The first leg of the League Cup semi-final was played just three days before Christmas but there was never likely to be much festive cheer when the opponents were the holders of the trophy - Tottenham Hotspur. READ MORE>>

WOLVES 1 CHELSEA 1
The 1976/77 season had not started well. It was our second in the Second Division and two months before the start of the season debts of £3.4m almost bankrupted the club. READ MORE>>

1970s Matchday Programme Cover

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