Division Two - August 22nd 1983
The summer of 1983 proved to be one of the major turning points in the club’s history. Eight players were signed as a reaction to the near relegation of the previous season, mostly young hungry players from the lower or Scottish leagues but also former hero John Hollins who joined as player-coach.
Even so, we were not considered to be among the favourites for promotion and it was vital to get off to a strong start in the opening game of the season against the strongly fancied Derby County.
In fact, we could not have made a better start, Nigel Spackman, one of five debutants, opening the scoring with a fierce shot after just four minutes. After half-time the new look team ran riot with Clive Walker and Chris Hutchings scoring within five minutes. Finally, another debutant, Kerry Dixon scored the first two goals of his Chelsea career.
The victory and more importantly the manner of it, gave the team great confidence. We lost just one of the opening 17 games and went top of the table on December 31, before clinching the Second Division title for the first time in our history on the final day of the season.