FA Cup final - 24 April 1915
It took 10 seasons to reach Chelsea’s first FA Cup final, but it was a far from joyous occasion.
The 1914/15 season had continued despite the outbreak of World War One and with casualties rising, the football authorities were coming under increasing pressure to abandon professional football.
Nevertheless, a crowd of 50,000 attended the final at Old Trafford, many of them soldiers on leave from the front and still dressed in their uniforms.
It was a dark, dismal, overcast day and the majority of the crowd cheered for our opponents. Our captain, the England international Vivian Woodward had been granted leave from the war and travelled back for the game but, despite pressure from the directors, refused to play, stating that Bob Thomson who had played in the earlier rounds deserved his place in the team, this despite Thomson not having fully recovered from a dislocated shoulder.
Yet it probably made little difference to the result. Chelsea were poor and managed just two attacks on the United goal. Mistakes by the normally reliable Jack Harrow and keeper Jim Molyneux gifted United a first-half goal. As fog enveloped the ground United added two further goals and the game was over long before the final whistle.
To make matters worse the team stayed north to finish the League season but managed one point in fixtures against Everton and Notts County and were subsequently relegated for the second time in our history.