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L. Chelsea History (1962-1967)


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Chelsea History (1962-1967)

Written by Dorset in June 2007

What followed can only be described as a period of great optimism for the supporters, as the team developed a flamboyant style of play, underpinned by real commitment, tough tackling and the quick closing down of the opposition.

bonetti%2010%20march%201965%20chelsea%20 By the start of the 1964/5 season we had become a difficult side to beat and the Doc had built on his reputation for inventive play, epitomised by overlapping defenders and unusual free kicks where the ball was chipped through the wall or where a couple of players argued over who would take it, whereupon it was played through the player’s legs to give a clear shot on goal. However, enough about our new role as entertainers, this was to be the campaign that told me all I needed to know about Chelsea’s penchant for self inflicted wounds.

Almost as if it was a logical progression, with team and manager in harmony, we won the League Cup (3-2 on aggregate) after an away leg to Leicester (yes THAT much chanted trip) and a goalless draw dominated by Peter Bonetti’s performance. It was totally forgettable in every aspect except the silverware and even that feel good factor didn’t seem to last long as we went out late on in the FA Cup against Liverpool, the eventual winners. The newspapers also had a field day when some of our players went out late on again , this time for a bit of after-hours drinking in Blackpool that ended in them being sent home whilst the remainder of the squad suffered defeat against Burnley.

1965%20league%20cup%20finalprogramme.jpg As a Chelsea fan you could normally take such events in your stride, but we were clear at the top of the league at the time and, with only a few games to go, blew it completely due to this stupid incident. My new found team ethics were shattered and I was getting grief from my father who, though I loved him dearly, always seemed to know that these things were only just around the corner and never tired of telling me so. Until, that is, salvation arrived in the magical form of Charlie Cooke.…

Now, as you have probably guessed, my Dad never really saw eye to eye with the Doc, but rumour had it that neither did Terry Venables and time was about to be called on one relationship, which would then turn out to be the making of another. Bringing in the raw, charismatic, Cooke for the much more media savvy Tel Boy was, according to someone who spanned thirty years of footballing knowledge, ‘the best day’s work Tommy Docherty ever did‘.

cooke%20cig%20card.jpg Here was a genius displaying skills that were a throwback to those my father had seen on the terraces in his own youth and, having paid his dues in the interim, he was going to enjoy the moment. Charlie Cooke became not only his favourite Chelsea player of all time, but the catalyst for many a self indulgent conversation between the two us, brought about by the matches that were to come, primarily two crucial and contrasting FA Cup finals.

By the autumn of 1966 we were up at the top of the league again with the Doc’s ’new’ team, containing all those players I look back on now as heroes, although David Webb, Alan Hudson and Ian Hutchinson didn’t arrive until later, but once again things fell apart just when Chelsea fans thought the title was a possibility.

tony%20hateley.jpg Peter Osgood broke his leg against Liverpool around about this time and I can’t remember whether we got Tony Hateley before or after the injury - either way he didn’t make much difference and the gap between the skills of both can only be described as vast. Ossie had so much elegance and grace on the ball, whereas Hateley would attack corners by beginning his run from outside the box and throwing his massive frame at the ball. Sadly, this was regarded as his major, if not sole, attribute and we had paid about the same amount for this talent as was received for Greavsie!

However, the bulldozing Hateley is included in this piece for a reason - he got the FA Cup semi-final winner against Leeds, to salvage another flattering to deceive season, and I could look forward to a trip to Wembley because, as if by magic, my Dad got hold of a ticket!

newspaper%20headline%20when%20hateley%20 Like the present day, and it will always be so, a Cup Final ticket was like gold dust and this one arrived from a friend of a friend (know what I mean?) like a welcoming response to a drink - just the one. It may have caused ructions between us had it not been for the fact that it was for the terrace at the tunnel end of the stadium and there was about as much chance of my father going in there as there was of Tony Hateley going on a mazy dribble past three defenders.

So the ticket was duly passed over, on the strict understanding that my Dad would go next time - see how much blind faith we had in those days - but, as with all things Blue, life couldn’t be that easy. One Saturday afternoon shortly before the game, playing a local league match, I went up for a corner and had my collarbone broken. No namby-pamby injury this, the bone being pushed into a nice inverted V shape, and it was one that I was proud of until I realised it threatened attendance at Wembley. Only those of you who now know my Chels background will realise the effort it took to get my family to sanction the trip, though I doubt they could really have stopped me without inflicting further injury. I have to admit that having one arm strapped up inside your jacket was not the best way to meet up with Sheddites, but, despite the vulnerability, I was treated well right up until the closing minutes - more of that later.

1967facupfinal%20programme.jpg The match itself was a big disappointment, the Doc actually calling it “…the quietest Finals I have ever not heard”, a phrase that was such an assault on the English language I’ve remembered it to this day. Spurs won it easily, scoring just before halftime and midway through the second period through Frank Saul, the only non-international in their ranks, which said it all about the relative strengths of the teams at that time. Bobby Tambling got a consolation goal in an otherwise invisible game from him and the only memorable performances for me were Chopper’s effective man marking of Greaves (for which I shall be eternally grateful, as it would have been unbearable if he’d scored) and some dazzling stuff from Charlie Cooke that brightened me up a little and overshadowed Venables in their mini-battle. Apart from that it was, to put it bluntly, agony on and off the pitch and the end was still nigh…

I thought that getting out of Wembley Stadium was going to be painful and indeed there was a mad rush at the outset that totally disregarded life and one particular strapped limb of mine. When I eventually got outside it was clear that the all hell had broken loose at the Tottenham end and the early exodus had been part of a hastily planned attack. By the time I was well clear and looking back down Wembley Way the violence had spread to the car park - an ugly end to my first FA Cup final, but little did I know that three years late I’d be back and by then the brutality would be played out on the pitch.

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