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Blues Brothers - a potted history

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I note with interest some of the earlier posts over the connection between Chelsea and Rangers. Having lived through the development of the relationship (yes I really am that old!) I hope that my perspective helps to throw some light on it.

1. In the sixties it became fashionable at english games to chant Rangers or Celtic, particularly in the half time intervals. At Chelsea this was heavily steered towards Rangers even then. I think it was to do with the disproportionate amount of serving and ex servicemen (and their patriotic leanings) who frequented Chelsea. Remembering also that the old nickname was the 'Pensioners' referring to the proximity of the Old servicemans home near the ground. They still receive a number of complimentary tickets even today and they can be seen in attendance resplendent in their red regalia. There is however no doubt that the 'bias' towards anything 'Unionist' was also to do with right wing links which became more evident and visible in the 70's with the growth of the NF, with Chelsea being a known recruiting ground. Nothing to be proud of, but a fact and factor nonetheless.

2. The seventies saw a dramatic shift towards the Rangers allegiance. This was definitely due to the IRA bombing campaign in London and north Surrey, from where Chelsea drew its support. The Guildford bombing and its fatalities in particular signalled an outcry against the IRA and anything associated with it. Celtic were seen as sympathetic the the republican cause. Overnight any Celtic chants disappeared.

3. The seventies (and early eighties) were described as the dark days of Chelsea FC when the hooligan element dominated the headlines. At least 2 of the Chelsea 'firms' at the time had their 'leadership' drawn from ex-servicemen, most of whom had served in Ulster. This strengthened the anti IRA, anti Celtic feelings even further. Many had formed personal relationships with Ulster orangemen and also with Rangers supporters serving in various parts of the world at the time. Some of these Chelsea veterans also formed links with protestent paramilitary groups in Ulster as well after leaving the forces.

Meanwhile these 'friendships' between Chelsea and Rangers ex-servicemen developed into them (and ever expanding groups of mates) attending Chelsea and Rangers games together, sometimes for 'positive' reasons (have a beer, a sing song and a laugh) and sometimes for 'less positive' reasons (i.e. 'assists' such as a trip to visit the Aberdeen Casuals). Again, nothing to be proud of here, but a fact nonetheless and a factor in the 'bonding' that was taking place between many Chelsea fans and the their Rangers counterparts

4. With the ban on English clubs playing in Europe in the 80's, many more Chelsea fans started travelling with Rangers in Europe, some admittedly for the wrong reasons but the majority for the camaraderie that was now growing between the fan groups. The fanbase at the Jolly Malster pub, just off the Fulham Road would arrange trips to Europe and sometimes to Rangers home games. The pub became a meeting place for Chelsea and Rangers fans. It still does. There were 50 or 60 Rangers fans there last year when Chelsea played Celtic in its pre-season "friendly". (Thats another story by the way!)

5. A couple of milestones stick out in my memory. Firstly the Chelsea away game in Liverpool in late 70's (78 or 79 I think) when an estimated 2000 Rangers fans travelled to Anfield for a Saturday morning kick off. After the local police worked it out, they shared the visitors terracing with Chelsea for a memorable morning of singing and chanting together. Having kept us all back in the ground for an hour afterwards, the roads were cleared and some of us shared a few beers together in the pubs on the route back to the Rangers buses.

Secondly the 2 friendlies in the mid 80's. The first at Stamford Bridge in aid of the Bradford disaster, when it was party time in the Fulham Road before and after and when the Shed end cheered every Rangers goal and the Rangers fans the Chelsea goals!. The second at Ibrox in what I think was the following year, when it ws impossible to buy a drink due to the generosity of the Rangers fans.

6. Since those days there has been a growth of joint Chelsea/Rangers items on sale outside Stamford Bridge and in the local pubs - scarfs, T-shirts and in particular metal badges. These were also in abundance in Barcelona 2 seasons ago when loads of Chelsea and Rangers fans met up in Barcelona on the day before the respective Euro matches in Spain. The massive 'Blues Brothers' flag with Union Jack, Chelsea, Rangers and Linfield badges was hoisted in the centre of the main road in Barcelona! A great time was had by all before heading off to our respective matches (and defeats!)

7. I think the point is that there is something quite special in this relationship despite its rather shady origins in some respects. It certainly feels stronger from our point of view than the Liverpool connection. We have seen loads of Liverpool/Celtic scarfs in evidence when we play Liverpool and the Irish tricolour. Liverpool fans tried to attack the Chelsea/Rangers stand outside Stamford Bridge 2 years ago. And as a previous posting has said they seem to welcome Celtic when they play them, which is a far cry to what happened at Stamford Bridge at the start of last season.

So in summary (and this was meant to be a short note!) I think that the less savoury aspects of the early relationship is behind us leaving a feeling of great friendship and camaraderie. I think those that have not experienced a Rangers/Chelsea game before then you will find that it will be one to be enjoyed as the special relationship between many of the older supporters has a chance to 'live it for real' again.

Here's looking forward to a quite special weekend, many beers with you and many hours of singalongs!

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Quality post....thanks for that.

Can't remeber what game it was, I think it was a testimonial and think we played Rangers (may have been the Bradford charity game) but Souness and Graham Roberts had a 50/50, both went in hard, both came out smiling, and the old shed sang 'we all agree Chelsea and Rangers are magic'

I was only a kid so memory may not serve me aswell as it has your good self icon_wink.gif

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Excellent post TBB.

I would only quibble with one point which is that the Chelsea veterans formed links with protestent paramilitary groups in Ulster after leaving the forces. I would say that these links were formed while the servicemen were still in service in many cases.

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unfortunately so is ours! It's not being glorified, just stating facts.

When I was about 4 or 5 (around 30 years ago) I used to go to games and remember The Flag, newspaper of the national front being sold opposite the ground!

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I think those that have not experienced a Rangers/Chelsea game before then you will find that it will be one to be enjoyed as the special relationship between many of the older supporters has a chance to 'live it for real' again.

Cant.

Wait.

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im not here to tell you what is right or wrong i am just telling you what i have along with others witnessed.

Linfield fans abuse their own catholic players their manager is involved with sectarian chanting with the fans, even when linfield are playing a catholic team or a team with catholic playing for them the players and officals are abused and Rangers do the same thing so it is a disgace to want to be involved with somthing like that. All it is, is sectarian hatered and that should have no place in football.

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Why would we want to affilated with Linfield and Rangers all they are is bigots!!!

I am fully aware of some of the history but that is something i have never gone in for and something i am not educated on so cant really comment.

As has been mentioned you might want to look up your Chelsea history because we have a lot of rats in our cellar too.

Im going to the game to support my two favorite teams in the world and spend a day with like minded people, this game means a lot to lots of people.

Sorry if that offends you.

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I am fully aware of some of the history but that is something i have never gone in for and something i am not educated on so cant really comment.

As has been mentioned you might want to look up your Chelsea history because we have a lot of rats in our cellar too.

Im going to the game to support my two favorite teams in the world and spend a day with like minded people, this game means a lot to lots of people.

Sorry if that offends you.

No it doesnt affend me it the waY people put it trying to "beat it up ya" that they are proud of the bigotery from a minority of the fan. but it only takes a couple of people to let ya down and give football teams bad names.

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Well actually, I could go further and deeper and express my complete and utter contempt for each and every variety of religioous extremism. To my mind, the Pope and what he stands for is an extreme anachronism, as are Moslem extremists and all those idiot Yank bible bashers who insist on taking every word in the bible literally, as long as it can be twisted to suit their own little pet theories.

However, this is not the place for a religious discussion, so I shall restrict myself to the following: F*ck 'em all.

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Why would we want to affilated with Linfield and Rangers all they are is bigots!!!

Mate its a fact that we all get on!!

Its been the same for years!

Im really proud we have mates from Rangers....

....we have had some great laughs with 'The Bears' before and after games over the years!

You have your opinion and thats fine but Chelsea and Rangers are an alliance!!

Rule Britannia!!!

Im so jealous of all our boys making the trip up to Glasgow!!

If only money grew on trees I would be there!!

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im not here to tell you what is right or wrong i am just telling you what i have along with others witnessed.

Linfield fans abuse their own catholic players their manager is involved with sectarian chanting with the fans, even when linfield are playing a catholic team or a team with catholic playing for them the players and officals are abused and Rangers do the same thing so it is a disgace to want to be involved with somthing like that. All it is, is sectarian hatered and that should have no place in football.

Tottenham have also been called a few things by Chelsea fans icon_wink.gif

For the record - Religeon, race or politics should have no place in sport

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