The Blues secured the Full Members’ Cup in 1990 courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough at Wembley, Tony Dorigo scoring the only goal of the game with a brilliant free-kick.
A Chelsea side under the stewardship of Bobby Campbell went into the game full of confidence after recording a 1-0 away win at Arsenal the previous week, and we started the match as favourites due to the fact Middlesbrough were in the old Second Division at the time.
Captain Peter Nicholas produced a brilliant last-ditch tackle to prevent ‘Boro striker Bernie Slaven from giving them the lead early on, and Colin Todd’s side were made to pay when Dorigo curled a wonderful left-footed free-kick into the top corner after 26 minutes, a goal which sent the travelling Chelsea faithful into a frenzy and ultimately proved decisive.
The format of the competition had been tweaked slightly from the previous time we reached the final, with straight knockout matches all the way through, rather than small leagues. The teams entering the competition were split into Northern and Southern sections, with the top side from each category meeting in the final.
Alan Dickens scored a hat-trick as we overcame Harry Redknapp’s Bournemouth after extra time in the second round, eventually winning 3-2, before West Ham were beaten 4-3 at the Bridge just before Christmas in a thrilling London derby.
A Kerry Dixon goal and a Kevin Wilson brace then sealed a 3-2 win at Ipswich in the quarter-finals, setting up a two-legged semi-final against Crystal Palace.
In the first leg at Selhurst Park, two goals in the space of three minutes – a brilliant Dixon volley and a Wilson strike – put us in control of the tie, and back at the Bridge another 2-0 victory booked our safe passage to Wembley.