Division Two - 2 September 1905
Just five months after the foundation of Chelsea Football Club, and four after our acceptance into the Football League, we were ready to play our first match.
A squad that had been assembled hastily and expensively during the summer travelled north to Edgeley Park, Stockport, a ground even then regarded as the worst in the League. An even first half, according to the following week’s Chelsea Chronicle, remained goalless and all the drama was reserved for the second period. William Foulke, known, not surprisingly as ‘Fatty’ due to his 20-stone bulk, became the first Chelsea goalkeeper to save a penalty, but in the melee that followed a wayward County shot was deflected into his own net by Robert McEwan.
Chelsea dominated from then on; Jimmy Windridge hit the County post twice, and we were denied two penalties, the first when Martin Moran was barged over, and the second as a Stockport defender handled on the line. That time the referee at least consulted his linesman but to the surprise and anger of the Chelsea team, failed to award the kick.
So for the first time in our history, but not the last, we were left to rue our bad luck and the intervention of the officials. The attendance that day for Chelsea’s first game was 7,000, a club record for Stockport. Attracting record gates on our travels was a trend to be repeated on many occasions over the next few seasons.