History

Where are they now: Luton FA Cup semi-final

As the Blues prepare to meet Luton Town for the first time in 27 years, we take a look back at the side who beat them in the 1994 FA Cup semi-final and find out what they’re up to now...

On Saturday 9 April 1994, Glenn Hoddle’s Chelsea revolution had taken the club into the FA Cup semi-finals, with the Hatters standing between us and a return to the final for the first time since we had lifted the trophy in 1970.

Wembley was the scene for a game that had the fascinating sub-plot of Blues legend Kerry Dixon lining up for Luton – indeed, the reception he received that day from the Chelsea faithful is still the standout memory for many who attended, such is the esteem in which Kerry is held.

Two goals from Gavin Peacock ensured we saw off the spirited Hatters and booked a Wembley return to face Manchester United a month later. The less said about that, the better, but let’s find out what those semi-final heroes are up to nowadays.

Dmitri Kharine

One of the Premier League’s first overseas signings, Kharine was an agile and eccentric keeper who certainly stood out with the garish goalkeeper shirts that were customary in his era, as well as the tracksuit bottoms he was rarely seen without! He is now goalkeeper coach at Hemel Hempstead, having previously spent the best part of a decade in that role with Luton.

Steve Clarke

The versatile Scottish defender was Player of the Year during this run to the FA Cup final. By the time of his retirement, in 1998, only three players had surpassed his tally of 421 appearances for the club. Has since become a well-respected coach – most notably at Chelsea – and manager, becoming a hero in his homeland for leading Scotland to a first major tournament since 1998.

Jakob Kjeldbjerg

The Danish centre-half had risen to prominence in his homeland with an outstanding display against Diego Maradona – and soon he’d be finding out what it was like to take on the likes of John Fashanu and Lee Chapman. A serious knee injury brought his career to an early end, but he has since become Denmark’s equivalent of Ant and/or Dec, presenting I’m A Celebrity and other shows.

Erland Johnsen

Another Player of the Year winner among our defensive ranks, Johnsen was an ex-Bayern Munich centre-half who embraced the English lifestyle to become a big hit with fans and team-mates alike. He now heads up the youth development at Sarpsborg 08 in his homeland, having previously been head coach of Lillestrom, along with various youth levels of the Norwegian national team.

Frank Sinclair

What’s this – another defender who won Player of the Year. Youth-team graduate Sinclair won the award in 1993 and he went on to lift the FA Cup, European Cup Winners' Cup and League Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge, scoring in the final of the latter against Middlesbrough. Now head of coaching development at Port Vale and, due to the interim boss testing positive for Covid-19, he’s taking charge of their next two matches.

Craig Burley

A hardworking midfielder who started his career with Chelsea, Burley was the last Scottish player to score at a major tournament and he went on to enjoy great success with Celtic in his homeland. Known to the newer generation of Chelsea fans, particularly those Stateside, for his forthright opinions as a pundit for ESPN.

Gavin Peacock

In his first season as a Blue, Peacock scored the goals that took Chelsea to the 1994 FA Cup final, including his brace in the semi-final. Also well known for scoring the winning goal in home and away wins over Manchester United in the Premier League that season. He later became a pundit for the BBC, but then came the opportunity to become a pastor in Calgary – and he’s since embarked on a path trodden by few former footballers.

Eddie Newton

Newton came through the ranks at the same time as Sinclair, who was his best mate, and although his 1994 FA Cup campaign ended in heartache as he conceded a penalty in the final, the midfielder went on to net in our 1997 triumph over Middlesbrough. Has had a long coaching career which included a spell as assistant manager here when we won the Champions League, and he was recently manager of Trabzonspor in Turkey.

Dennis Wise

Although this season would end in frustration for a player who made 445 appearances for Chelsea, he went on to become a serial trophy winner as our captain during a golden era for the club. He’s now involved with Garuda Select, a TV show about a team of the same name, seeking to unearth an Indonesian football superstar.

Tony Cascarino

A big centre-forward who was an even bigger presence in the dressing room, Cascarino spent two years with the Blues before heading to France to see out the end of his career. He’s largely kept himself occupied post-football by working as a pundit and writing for the Times, although he’s also had success on the poker table.

John Spencer

The popular, pint-sized Scot still ranks 11th among our all-time leading scorers in the Premier League, which shows how effective he was for the Blues during the early years of the rebranded English top flight. He ended his career playing in the USA, where he has since gone on to have several coaching and managerial jobs in MLS.

Of course, we should also mention the manager, Hoddle. Many Blues fans and players from this era consider him as the man who helped awaken the sleeping giant, as despite losing the 1994 FA Cup final, we never looked back from that moment.

He left the Bridge to manage England and, incredibly, hasn’t sat in the dugout for any club since leaving Wolves in 2006. Hoddle can now be seen regularly on BT Sport as a pundit.

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