Club historian recalls a visit to north London at the start of a decade, when London pride was at stake…
Chelsea headed to Highbury on 17 March 1990 knowing victory could help bring closer to fruition the hope of finishing as highest-placed Londoners that season. It would be for the first time since 1970. It may be a minor crown, but one always worn at a jaunty angle.
Bobby Campbell’s Blues had just secured a Wembley appearance in the even-less regarded Full Members’ Cup thanks to goals against Crystal Palace from Gareth Hall and Johnny Bumstead. You had to look back almost a decade for a brace by young Chelsea homegrowns in the same match.
Then (as now) the west Londoners were quite formidable on the road, with Erland Johnsen and Kenny Monkou forming a fine new partnership in central defence (pictured top) in Graham Roberts’ absence. In contrast, George Graham’s Arsenal, the reigning champions, had a creaky rearguard.
No better example of that was there than the only goal of the game at Highbury. A long throw from Gordon Durie caused turmoil in the box until Bumstead – on his 300th appearance – controlled on his chest, turned and fired past John Lukic.
The hordes of away fans in the Clock End exploded in delight, and the visitors comfortably saw out the club’s first victory there since a 2-1 in 1974.
Sadly, at the season’s close, three points separated the three top teams from the capital in the table, with Tottenham sneaking the London honours.
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