The Blues Down Under

Chelsea are set to visit Australia for the fourth time this coming July, when we travel to Perth for a pre-season match at the new Optus Stadium against A-League side Perth Glory.

However, while our trip Down Under this year will involve plenty of hard work as the players gear up for the challenges of a new campaign, our previous three visits were post-season trips which varied greatly in terms of length and scale.

1965

Flying from England to Australia on the ‘Kangaroo Route’ in the 1960s was long and arduous with about half a dozen stopovers on a journey that lasted two to three days. When Chelsea travelled Down Under for the first time in 1965, it made sense to stay for a while and play as many games as possible. The result was a marathon 11-match tour of nine cities, which stretched to nearly a month.

Tommy Docherty’s side arrived in Australia just two weeks after the end of a campaign in which we won the League Cup and finished third in the league, and kicked off the tour by trouncing New South Wales 5-0 in front of 25,000 fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Chelsea scored 47 goals and won nine of 11 games on the tour, including a 6-1 victory over Western Australia at the WACA Ground, in which Bobby Tambling bagged a hat-trick. However, the long tour took its toll on the players and after a laboured 1-0 win over South Coast United in the penultimate game, opposition coach Jimmy Kelly remarked: ‘I think their programme in Australia has been too hard. They must be sick of football, their tour coming so closely on the arduous English season.’

1965 tour

Date Opponent Venue Result

8 May

New South Wales

Sydney

Won 5-0

12  May

Australian Capital Territory 

Canberra

Won 7-0

15  May

Northern New South Wales

Newcastle

Won 6-2

16  May

Victoria

Melbourne

Won 1-0

19  May

Western Australia

Perth

Won 6-1

22  May

South Australia

Adelaide

Won 2-1

23  May

Australian Select XI 

Sydney

Drew 2-2

26  May

Tasmania

Hobart

Won 12-0

30  May

Australian World Cup XI 

Melbourne

Drew 1-1

2 June

South Coast United

Wollongong

Won 1-0

6 June

Queensland

Brisbane

Won 4-0

1974

Jet travel from the UK to Australia had improved by the time that Chelsea next arrived Down Under in 1974 for a three-week tour that featured six matches.

The Blues had struggled to 17th in the league that season but Dave Sexton’s side performed well on the post-season tour, winning four of their matches. It included a 1-0 victory over Western Australia, as a lone goal by Ian Hutchinson (picturedd above) proved the difference in front of a crowd of 15,000 at Perry Lakes Stadium.

Our game against Queensland was abandoned at half-time with the Blues leading 1-0 because of a waterlogged pitch, and we went down 2-1 to New South Wales in Sydney in what would be our last game in Australia for 41 years.

1974 tour

Date Opponent Venue Result

22 May

Northern Territories

Darwin

Won 6-1

26 May

Western Australia

Perth

Won 1-0

29 May

South Australia

Adelaide

Won 4-0

2 June

Queensland

Brisbane

Abandoned

7 June

Illawarra District

Wollongong

Won 4-1

9 June

New South Wales

Sydney

Lost 1-2

2015

Just under 6,000 spectators watched our match against New South Wales at Sydney Sports Ground in June 1974. However, when we returned to the city in 2015, a bumper crowd of 83,598 filled the ANZ Stadium for our post-season match against Sydney FC.

Having lifted the Premier League trophy a week earlier, Chelsea beat a Thailand All-Stars team in Bangkok before arriving to a rapturous welcome from hundreds of fans at Sydney Airport, which delighted the players.

‘We were all pretty tired and when we came through we all lit up,’ said skipper John Terry. ‘The welcome was overwhelming and we got mobbed a little bit but it was nice and we’re delighted to be here.’

In the wake of a successful campaign in which we also won the League Cup, there was a celebratory mood on the trip but the players still gave their all in an entertaining match against Sydney, which saw both teams producing plenty of goalscoring opportunities.

However, Chelsea got the only goal of the game on the half-hour mark when Loic Remy cut inside from the right flank before firing a screamer past goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic into the top corner.