1970 memories from the men who won the cup

First-hand tales of a special day on a special anniversary...

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the day we first laid hands on a trophy we had been chasing for over 60 years.

Chelsea players had come close before. We were losing FA Cup finalists in 1915 and in 1967, three years before many of the same players eventually triumphed. There had been numerous semi-finals too, but at last on a late April evening in Manchester, watched by a packed crowd in the stadium and a record TV audience, Chelsea at last won the Cup.

To mark one of the club's most-loved team's most famous days, the game is being shown in full on the 5th Stand app tonight at 7.30pm UK time and it will be available on demand afterwards.

Ahead of that and to further celebrate the anniversary, we have words from some of the key players involved, about events before and after the 1970 FA Cup replay versus Leeds at Old Trafford.

 

Charlie Cooke - the silky-skilled Scot who made magic in the middle of the park on the night, not least his run and pass for Peter Osgood's iconic diving equaliser:

It surprised me when I remembered back that there was actually almost three weeks between the final and the replay. There was a lot of time to work up to it and think about it, so it was unusual in that sense, and also the pitches had dried out a bit. I don't think people realise just how soft and deep the mud was at Wembley for the first game.
 

John Hollins - the Chelsea youth product and midfield dynamo whose move out to the left flank in the second half of the replay helped revive a trailing side:

That was the danger at Wembley, a heavy pitch. Had it not been for Peter Bonetti and some good defensive work we would have been high and dry, out of the cup.

In the first game Leeds completely dominated and then we nearly nicked it in extra-time, although we wouldn't have deserved it in the Wembley game. They had dominated that match for sure. By the time we got to Old Trafford, the field had dried out completely. I wouldn't say it was dusty but it was certainly much firmer and didn't have a lot of grass down in the middle. That made a huge difference to the game.
 

We were finishing off the season and there was a feeling you could take care of any injuries and you made sure you were fit. As far as the game itself, it was such a huge thing. People forget the rivalry between Leeds and Chelsea, this was a huge game. Another thing you have to remember is that because the '67 Final against Spurs was a London derby and we lost it, it was a huge disappointment for all the fans and the club. That was a big weight on the club's shoulders.

We went on the train to the replay. I don't think we trained anywhere. We had a run but we just went up there, stayed in the hotel and had a sleep in the afternoon. But you were playing an FA Cup Final replay. How were you supposed to sleep in the afternoon?


Ron Harris - the captain, youth product and enforcer who switched position for the replay and neutralised main Leeds threat Eddie Gray:

You used to get into the train compartments and you'd get people walking through the trains, so you'd always mix with the supporters a little. Ossie used to invite some into the compartment. The only time they stayed away was when we were having our meal. That was always private.

Hollins: When we arrived we had scrambled eggs on toast and tea. I had no appetite at all. It was something really light, no steak and chips. You just had to feel like your stomach was full, to get a bit more relaxed and afterwards I remember thinking, 'I feel great; I'm ready to go now'.

What impressed me most was the fans. As you came out of the tunnel at Old Trafford, the Stretford End was a mass of blue and white and there was a tremendous roar.


Harris: For the replay it was almost like we were playing at home. I'd say we had more fans there than Leeds even though Old Trafford is just down the road for them and it was on a Wednesday night. The vocal support was fantastic. It just erupted and I still get a tingle now when I think about it.

The atmosphere at Chelsea wasn't as good because of the dog track and the fans were so far away from the pitch so when we went to Old Trafford I felt the support was tremendous. Anybody who played that game will tell you that.


Hollins:
The whole feeling was that we had to do something for these guys but unfortunately we went 1-0 down. The whole place fell silent. We are looked around at each other but you could see it had annoyed everyone.


Harris: I do remember at 1-0 it went quiet but when Peter Osgood scored the diving header, the whole place erupted. At that point I think a lot of people would have backed Chelsea to go on and win, only because of the fantastic support.

Chelsea songs were all you could hear and scarves swinging was all you could see. It was absolutely fantastic. When we lost the first goal, Leeds' confidence was high but once Ossie scored you could see their confidence seeping away. All of a sudden they looked a lot smaller and we knew we had them.

David Webb – the defender who completed a fairytale story by scoring the winner, having been given such an awful time by Leeds winger Eddie Gray in the first clash:

We talked about changing the defence as soon as we got on the coach to go home from Wembley. Ron Harris is a tighter marker than me and we thought it would be better if he took Eddie Gray who had given me such a hard time and I looked after Allan Clarke.

We might even have done that in the first match if Ronnie had been fully fit and the way it worked proved what a good move it was. First of all at Wembley I thought the pitch was against me and then everything went against me. To get the winning goal was marvellous after all I went through then.

Leeds thrived for a long time on intimidation but we were too brave for them.

Cooke: We finally deserved it in the end and it was a great event but leading up to the replay, the emotions were all real. It was very much Leeds versus Chelsea and there was a lot of feeling going into that game. Add the fact that it was an FA Cup final, an FA Cup final when they were extremely important as well. You didn't have the Champions League overshadowing it then. It was the big event of the year.

Let's not mince words. We all know the reputation Leeds have for hard men. In the heat of the match, when all you can think about is winning, it lifted me to see the way some of them were turning away and appealing to the ref.


Hollins:
It was about determination, skill and drive. We had the mentality that we would not let another goal in but we would score against them.

The power and strength of that is amazing. We played 90 minutes plus 30 on a heavy, doughy pitch at Wembley, which took every bit of energy out of us. But all of us had to play; if somebody ran you had to pick him up. It tested everyone to their ultimate level of fitness and skill. It took everything out of us in the replay as well. There were 22 players who gave everything they had and all of them were very good players, but we came out on top.


Harris: The only disappointment for the players was we didn't have the 39 steps to walk up to lift the trophy; it took a bit of the gloss off it. Everybody will tell you walking up the steps is all part of the whole experience but it never happened for us.
 

Hollins: At the time the FA Cup was sponsored by the milk board and we were in the bath drinking pints of milk and I was thinking, 'milk?' while David Webb was sat in the bath, with a cigarette, saying, 'We've won it,' while drinking milk. It was quite surreal.

Cooke: I don't think we drank too much milk. It was a pretty wild group then and we enjoyed a little bit more than milk at that time. The celebrations were brilliant. It was a joyous time, it must have been a bitter moment for Leeds, a tough one to take for them, but we were overjoyed. That was a huge thing for the club, the first big one, Leeds, first historic replay, all these things made it big. A lot of people took time off work, a lot of kids took the next day off school. It was just brilliant for everybody.


Hollins: I remember we had the FA Cup on the train, bacon and egg, a few beers, lots of singing and the journey took no time at all. Then there was an open-top bus which took us from Euston Station all the way down to Fulham Town Hall.


Harris: There were a few blurry eyes on the train, because we'd all had a celebration the night before. Then we had to catch the train back at 7.30 in the morning. But I can remember getting off at Euston and driving on the bus all the way back. That was fantastic. I have never seen so many people in and around Fulham Road. Thousands and thousands of supporters who would have travelled back in the morning. That will stay with me until the day I die.

The supporters were all singing the songs from the terraces and going past a market, people threw up apples and pears to the lads.
 


Hollins: There was plenty of champagne at the Town Hall. There were thousands of people out the front and we went out on the balcony


Harris: Chelsea had been starved of success and I'm proud of the fact that I'm the first Chelsea captain to ever lift the Cup. It was an historic moment.

 

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