My introduction to Chelsea began with mid table battles, player managers and a curly haired Russian keeper in pyjamas. A love of the Italian Era, unsung heroes and nights of European drama. 23 years worth of Chelsea statistics and fond memories.
Matt The Blue, Co-Editor
A walking Chelsea almanac and keen tactician, with a nose for formation changes and tinkermen it only makes sense that my favourite Chelsea player is one of the most tactically astute you’re likely to find, Claude Makelele. You’ll find me digging around in Opta data to get to the bottom of what’s really happening. I’m also the driving force behind our new grassroots and youth football initiative – you can find out more by visiting the football drills area of the site.
Dylan, Guest Writer
I’ve been a Chelsea fan for as long as I can remember. My father has always been a huge Chelsea fan and he graciously brought me up to love Chelsea, something I thank him for everyday. As a relatively young Chelsea fan, I have been lucky enough to witness the success of our beloved team during the past decade and have only seen Chelsea during successful periods of time. My favourite player has to be Didier Drogba, an absolute legend and a player I’ve gone through my childhood watching. Another favourite would be ” Super Frankie Lampard”. I’ve had the pleasure of watching him on numerous occasions, the greatest goal scoring midfielder of his time.
Jibril, Guest Writer
A Chelsea die-hard, who has been described by friends as ‘too emotional’. I learn every detail about the players, down to the boot size of the third choice goalkeeper! And yes, during matches, I’m emotionally unstable.
Nick’s all-time favourite player is Gianfranco Zola; his current favourite player is Eden Hazard. His favourite moments in Chelsea’s long history include Roberto Di Matteo’s stunning goal after just 42 seconds of the 1997 FA Cup final, the 4-2 victory over Liverpool (Chelsea were 2-0 down at half time) in the FA Cup fourth round in 1997, and the 5-0 thrashing of Manchester United in a Premiership game at Stamford Bridge in 1999. Frank Lampard’s brace against Bolton at the Reebok Stadium which sealed Chelsea’s first top-flight title in 50 years and the 4-2 demolition of Barcelona at the Bridge during the 2004/05 season will also live long in the memory.
His prized Chelsea possessions are a shoulder bag commemorating the win over Real Madrid in the Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1971 and a pencil case that became notorious during his time at the University of Worcester: Student Union bar, copious amounts of alcohol… you get the picture.
Being a fairly indecisive chap by nature, Jonathan’s favourite Chelsea moments change on an almost hourly basis, but the great Gianfranco Zola is his all-time Chelsea hero. The one-man mountain named Terry is his current favourite player. He is a season ticket holder in the Matthew Harding Upper and will talk football and Chelsea with anyone possessing more than three brain cells and the means to buy Stella Artois.
You can read his verdict on Chelsea games most Sundays in the Observer newspaper’s Sport section.
Tony has been contributing since March 2005. He is a season ticket holder in the Matthew Harding Lower and has been passionately supporting Chelsea for 35 years – his first game was a 2-1 win over Derby County back in 1973.
His all-time favourite Chelsea players are Gianfranco Zola, Peter Osgood and Peter Bonetti; current favourite is Joe Cole. Memorable moments include Lampard’s Premiership-winning goals against Bolton at the end of the 2004/05 season, Di Matteo’s strike in the 1997 FA Cup final, Peter Osgood’s equaliser against Leeds in the 1970 FA Cup final replay, and hearing the news that Ken Bates had sold the club to Roman Abramovich. Worst moments are the 4-0 loss to Manchester United in the 1994 FA Cup final, the deaths of Matthew Harding and Peter Osgood, and being relegated in the play-offs against Middlesbrough in the bad old days.
Mark is in the upper age group of contributors, saw his first game in 1963 and has witnessed all Chelsea’s trials and tribulations since. Some are amazed he knows what a blog is, let alone how to make contributions, since he was born prior to the computer revolution and closer to the typewriter generation.
His favourite player of all time is Peter Osgood, who mastered the art of deceiving defenders and the crowd because he’d often pass the ball in a direction that was opposite to the obvious, constantly sending defenders and keepers in the wrong direction and causing the crowd to gasp with amazement.
In his mind he is a world-class football talent and still clings on to the belief that, by stepping up the dog walking to bring him to a higher level of fitness, he will become a legend as the oldest player to make his Chelsea debut.
Being a fairly young lad who has not been scarred by the nightmarish lack of success Chelsea experienced in the 80s and early 90s, Habs has been supporting Chelsea ever since he could walk (so that would be around seventeen years then, if his maths holds up). As a poverty stricken youngster in these recession hit times, getting to the Bridge as often as he would like has proved difficult but when the time and more pertinently, money allows, he would most likely be found in the plush and nicely warmed seats of the West Stand Upper.
Habs’ favourite player would probably be Gianfranco Zola but as the years have passed, Frank Lampard has slowly begun to catch and nearly overtake the Italian as his all-time Chelsea hero. Favourite Chelsea moments include Ruud Gullit tying his shoe in typically cool fashion as Gianluca Vialli completed our comeback against Liverpool in the fourth round of the Cup, Zola’s back heel and goal against Wimbledon in the semi-final of that Cup run, Jose Mourinho’s legendary first press conference, Frank Lampard’s double against Bolton and Branislav Ivanovic’s two headers at Anfield. Worst moments include watching our annual implosion in the Champions League through ghost goals and Norwegian referees, waking up to Jose Mourinho’s sacking and the nightmarish year of Avram Grant and that penalty in Moscow.
First game attended: November 1968, when we beat the then reigning champions (Manchester City) at Stamford Bridge 2-0, aided by a goal from the immortal Peter Osgood. Have never really got over the fact that I was not destined to be Charlie Cooke’s successor at Stamford Bridge but have tried to move on from this disaster by supporting the Blues ever since. Aside from Charlie my other all-time favourites are Ozzie, Gianfranco Zola and Didier Drogba.
Blingo contributed many great articles during the early days of Chelsea FC Blog.
Here’s Blingo’s favourite Chelsea memory…
My favourite season is the 1988/89 campaign spent in the old Second Division. Given some of the alternatives – our first Premier League title, Gullit’s sexy football, Vialli’s epic cup winning team – this may seem an odd choice, especially as we began by losing 2-1 at home to Blackburn Rovers in front of 8,722 bemused fans. In fact, we wouldn’t win any of our first six games, and we had heartbreakingly sold our best player, the mesmerising Pat Nevin, to Everton in the summer.
Players and fans alike were still horribly traumatised by relegation, despite us finishing fourth from bottom of Division One. For the first and only time there was a play-off, involving three teams from the Second Division and one (us) from the first. We murdered Blackburn in the semi-final, Nevin scoring his final goal for Chelsea. The final was less pleasant, we lost 2-0 away to a pumped up Middlesbrough. Then, despite having 40,000 packed into Stamford Bridge, we played timidly and only managed to scrape a 1-0 win, the 2-1 defeat on aggregate condemning us to the dreaded drop.
The outlook was bleak, the club had massive financial problems, our support was noted only for violence and extinction was a real, daily possibility. However, that 1988/89 season turned into a memorable one, and I was lucky enough to attend just about every game. Despite our poor home support, we regularly took many thousands to away games, and it was these that provided the real highlights: an unlikely 2-0 victory away at Leeds, our first win of the season; a 7-0 spanking of Walsall, in which Gordon Durie scored five; a fantastic, breathtaking 3-2 win at Maine Road against Manchester City, with whom we were contesting the title.
Then almost exactly 17 years ago as I write this, on April 15th, 1989, our 28 game unbeaten run came to an end at Leicester City. That day will not be remembered for Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat however. All afternoon the legion of Chelsea fans at Filbert Street had been tuned to their portable radios. Something was happening at Hillsborough, where Liverpool were playing Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final. Eighty-nine fans died that day, on terraces I had stood on only a few seasons before. No one who was there will forget the sombre, silent mood in and outside the ground. A black day for football fans everywhere.
I think we sealed promotion the following week, beating Leeds 1-0 at home in front of 30,000 ecstatic fans, and we went on to post a jaw-dropping 99 points. It was a world away from today’s Chelsea. You could turn up five minutes before kick-off and get in. You could buy a ticket with a handful of change. You could stand. You never saw any highlights on television. And Richard Keys had yet to be discovered roaming in a Borneo jungle. Of course, the title winning season of 2004/05 runs it close, but for me that 1988/89 season will always be extra special. It epitomised triumphing in the face of adversity. There were no Roman roubles in those days.
In our first game back in the top flight, in August 1989, we played Wimbledon at Plough Lane. Welcome back to the big time!
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