Division Two - May 7th 1983
The most important victory Chelsea Football Club’s history came in our least successful ever season.
Any pre-season hopes of challenging for promotion were quickly extinguished and it soon became apparent that the 1982/83 Second Division campaign could well end with us finishing in our lowest ever league position. Even so, it was only in January when we embarked on a run of just three wins in 20 games that the threat of relegation became apparent.
A 3-0 loss at Burnley followed by two home draws meant that we travelled to Bolton Wanderers for the penultimate game of the season knowing that realistically only a win would save us from the third division and the almost inevitable financial meltdown that would follow.
Bolton themselves were one of 11 clubs that could still go down and the scene was set for a tense affair. The flow of the game was not helped by the appalling weather conditions. For much of the match it looked as if neither team would score, and then with 20 minutes remaining Clive Walker netted the crucial goal from outside the area.
When the final whistle eventually sounded the thousands of Chelsea fans, who made up almost half of the attendance and were now thoroughly soaked, danced in delight and relief.
Even then there was work to be done. A goalless draw with Middlesbrough in our final game took us to the brink of safety, but only when news came through of other results could we finally relax.