Division One - 6 September 1930
Having bowed out of the top flight with a 3-1 home victory over Manchester City in April 1924 it was fitting that the first opponent on the Pensioners’ triumphant return to Division One in September 1930 should be their metropolitan rivals United.
‘The family likeness was even more pronounced than this,’ suggested the Observer, ‘for Chelsea won by 6-2 – a triumph that was mainly brought about by the Scottish international forwards, [Hugh] Gallacher and [Alec] Cheyne, which the London club have secured.’
Expensive new boys Gallacher (two) and Cheyne (three) hogged the limelight as well as the goals, the former in particular a revelation with his buzzing dynamism and prodigious leap.
United opened the scoring against the run of play before Gallacher capped his promising start in London with a close-range header. On 25 minutes the Scot demonstrated another formidable weapon, his early, powerful and laser-guided shooting, giving the visiting keeper no chance.
Gallacher turned provided next, crossing from the right for Cheyne to a second, then third, this time from Jackie Crawford’s wing-play. Token English goalscorer and long-serving centre-back Jack Townrow, netted the fifth from a corner. Cheyne completed his hat-trick and the 6-2 scoreline by rounding the goalie and firing in from an acute angle.
‘Astute, clever and vivacious’ was the Observer’s summary of the great Gallacher’s debut. ‘There has not been such forward manoeuvring at Stamford Bridge for many years,’ the paper continued. The only downside? ‘Both of United’s goals should have been prevented.’