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Club history

1970s Summary

The 1972 Chelsea squad in front of the old, original East Stand

Dave Sexton (1967-74)
Ron Suart (1974-75)
Eddie McCreadie (1975-77)

Celebrating having beaten Leeds to win the FA Cup for the first time

Ken Shellito (1977-78)
Danny Blanchflower (1978-79)
Geoff Hurst (1979-81)
View Former Manager Profiles>

A decade in which Chelsea sank from the sublime to the ridiculous. The crowning glory of Dave Sexton’s studious approach, the magnificent Cup Winners’ Cup final replay triumph over Real Madrid in Athens in 1971, soon appeared a watershed. 

Defence of that title began in record-breaking fashion – 21-0 against part-timers Jeunesse Hautcharage – but crashed to a halt on away goals against lowly Atvidaberg. When, a year later, underdogs Stoke City swept the Blues aside at Wembley in the League Cup final, the end-of-era warnings were unmissable.

A tail-spin ensued. Financial calamity followed the drawn-out building of an ambitious new East Stand during a recession and soon special fundraising appeals to fans began to appear.  

Straitened times meant wage restraint and disputes with stars. Departing legends of the Bridge such as Osgood and Webb heralded the break-up of the ‘Kings of the King’s Road’ and years of instability in the dugout followed Sexton’s sacking in 1974.

The flowering of youth, especially under Eddie McCreadie’s brief, dynamic leadership in 1976/77, once again shielded the club from outright disaster but not from the ups and downs of relegations in 1975 and 1979. 

The loss of status and credibility of a once great sporting institution hit hard. Three sides of the ground were still in need of redevelopment while desperate attempts to relive the golden era with glamorous signings such as three-times European Footballer of the Year Johan Cruyff provoked scorn rather than respect. 

When Ray Wilkins, Chelsea’s best youth product for a generation, teenage skipper and an England international, was sold to Man United in 1979 to chip away at the club’s mounting debts, it was a symbolic low point for supporters. Change was sure to come.  


Spirit Of The Age

Chart hits for the likes of T. Rex, David Bowie and Sweet bring glitter, make-up, platform boots, feather boas and flared trousers to the worshipping teenage masses. Glam rock bends the line between the genders, paving the way for New Romantics and other C20th dandies. 

Key Players

Peter Osgood scores his famous diving header in the FA Cup final replay at Old Trafford

Peter Osgood (1964-74 & 1978-79)
Charlie Cooke (1966-72 & 1974-78)
Ian Hutchinson (1964-74 & 1978-79)

Celebrations on the pitch as promotion is clinched, 1977

Alan Hudson (1969-1974, 1979/80)
Ron Harris (1966-72 & 1974-78)
Ray Wilkins (1973-79)
View Former Player Profiles>

Key Matches : 1970-1979



1970s Matchday Programme Cover

1970s programme

Players of the 1970s

Player Years Total Apps Total Goals
AYLOTT, Trevor1975-7929+32
BALDWIN, Tommy1966-75228+1192
BANNON, Eamonn1979-79271
BASON, Brian1972-7720+21
BIRCHENALL, Alan1967-7095+128
BONETTI, Peter1959-797290
BOROTA, Petar1979-821140
BOYLE, John1964-73253+1312
BRITTON, Ian1971-82279+1034
BROLLY, Mike1971-748+11
BUMSTEAD, John1976-91379+3044
CHIVERS, Gary1978-83143+54
CLARE, Jimmy1977-810+10
COOKE, Charlie1966-72 & 1974-78360+1330
DEMPSEY, John1969-78200+77
DOCHERTY, Jim1979-792+10
DROY, Mickey1970-85302+1119
FEELY, Peter1970-734+12
FILLERY, Michael1978-83176+541
FINNIESTON, Steve1971-7886+437
FROST, Lee1976-8012+35
GARLAND, Chris1971-75111+331
GARNER, Bill1972-78105+1436
HALES, Kevin1979-8325+22
HARRIS, Ron1961-80784+1114
HAY, David1974-80118+23
HINTON, Marvin1963-76328+164
HOLLINS, John1963-75 & 1983-8459264
HOUSEMAN, Peter1962-75325+1839
HOUSTON, Stewart1967-7210+40
HUDSON, Alan1968-74 & 1983-84188+114
HUGHES, Tommy1965-71110
HUTCHINSON, Ian1968-76137+758
ILES, Bob1978-83140
JOHNSON, Gary1977-8018+49
KEMBER, Steve1971-75144+615
LANGLEY, Tommy1974-80139+1343
LEWINGTON, Ray1974-7987+54
LOCKE, Gary1972-83315+24
MAYBANK, Teddy1974-77326
McCREADIE, Eddie1962-74405+55
McKENZIE, Duncan1978-79164
MULLIGAN, Paddy1969-7274+52
NUTTON, Michael1977-8381+20
ORD, Tommy1972-7431
OSGOOD, Peter1964-74 & 1978-79376+4150
PATES, Colin1979-88345+110
PHILLIPS, John1970-801490
POTRAC, Tony1970-7310
RHOADES-BROWN, Peter1979-8497+125
SHERWOOD, Steve1971-76170
SISSONS, John1974-7512+10
SITTON, John1977-8012+20
SMETHURST, Derek1968-7118+15
SPARROW, John1974-8168+62
STANLEY, Garry1971-79115+515
STRIDE, David1976-79370
SWAIN, Kenny1973-78127+529
TAMBLING, Bobby1958-70366+4202
WALKER, Clive1975-84191+3365
WEBB, David1968-7429933
WELLER, Keith1970-7149+515
WICKS, Steve1974-79 & 1986-88163+18
WILKINS, Graham1972-82148+11
WILKINS, Ray1973-79193+534

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