Today’s fanzine review is centred around issue 7 which was published in July 1988 and edited by Mick Allpress.
Mick’s editorial looks back at Chelsea’s relegation at the end of last season. Chelsea had beaten Blackburn in a two legged, home and away, semi-final and had to play away at Middlesbrough in the first leg of the final. The turnout at Ayresome Park was quite poor considering the interest and importance of the game.
The club hadn’t helped matters by introducing a one ticket per member stance on the sale of the tickets. However, Mick noted that the fans that did turnout were magnificent. Chelsea lost the game two – nil and Mick mentions that Dixon never won a header all night against, Manchester United bound, Gary Pallister.
Chelsea won the second leg, but only by one goal which was not enough to ensure Chelsea’s top flight status. There was trouble at the end of the game but not the riot that Fleet Street reported. Mick says that swift Police intervention and a degree of stewarding would have helped to quell the situation before it started.
It was a happier season for the fanzine itself as the fanzine won the “Best Newcomer” category at the FSA awards.
“Great Games From The Past” was written by Tim Keay and looks back at the game against Norwich City in the 1984 / 85 season. The season was a typical Chelsea season of the time with some highpoints such as beating champions elect, Everton 4 : 3 at Goodison) and the low point, despite being the most likely winner, losing the Milk Cup semi-final to Sunderland.
Chelsea went into the last home match of the season knowing that a victory against relegation threatened Norwich would give Chelsea a place in the UEFA Cup. The weather played a huge part in the outcome of the game and the conditions ensured that the game would become a lottery. Predictably Norwich snatched a late winner and ended Chelsea’s hope of a UEFA Cup place.
The bitter irony of the outcome was that Norwich were still relegated and even if Chelsea had won the game, the behaviour of Liverpool fans at Heysel made sure that no English teams would compete in Europe for the foreseeable future.
The correspondence pages have their usual Chelsea diversity of opinions. John O’ Dwyer of Hemel Hempstead puts out a plea to England Manager, Bobby Robson, to call up Joe McLaughlin. Although Joe is Scottish, John claims that Joe has English links as “he is a proud owner of a Yorkshire Terrier and his uncle Charlie owns a Chip Shop in Carlisle.”
Daily Mail journalist Patrick Collins wrote about his experiences of standing in the Shed at the game against Charlton. Patrick didn’t resist the temptation to have a pop at the Chelsea faithful. Paul Adams from Kenilworth noted that Collins set the tone by calling his article “Living in the Dark Ages”.
Collins branded anyone with short hair a racist and criticised the congestion in the Shed. Collins put the blame for this on the fans and not the club who had probably let too many fans in there.
Collins also states that Chelsea fans did not discuss the match in the way football crowds of old used to. “Conversations, consisting largely of grunts and the sexual oath, centred on the details of past fights, the possibility of future fights and the outcome of their latest court appearances.”
Remarkably Collins uses this article to access the suitability of English clubs returning to European football. Surely he would be better off reporting on why English clubs were banned in the first place instead of reporting on a club that had just got relegated and were around 10 years away from getting anywhere near competitive European competition.
Collins still is a Chelsea hater but at least he has been one consistently over the last 21 years.
Mike Ticher asks what makes someone travel 100 miles to Coventry to watch a team that had lost 13 out of the last 16 away games. Mike puts it down to “a sense of duty and loyalty” and on the odd occasions the goals.
Kelvin Barker of Shepherds Bush pays tribute to Paul Canoville and suggests that Chelsea stage a benefit match to help Paul overcome his early retirement from the game.
Martin Booth wrote an article aptly named “We won’t be there too long.” Martin looks forward to trips to Oldham, Shrewsbury, Brighton and Bournemouth.
Martin was gutted that Chelsea never won a London derby during the whole season.
The lowest point for Martin was the Oxford United match. During the season Oxford made Watford look like Brazil and even made Chelsea look like Brazil in the first half of the match when Chelsea scored “3 super goals.” However Chelsea caved in and conceded 4 goals in the second half. Chelsea had conceded 4 goals to a team that didn’t score again for another 6 games.
Martin finishes by mentioning that 10,000 Chelsea travelled to Old Trafford in and early round of the FA Cup. Martin travelled with someone new to football and noted that during the second half the Chelsea fans stood and applauded in unison. With nothing happening on the pitch Martin’s friend asked why the Chelsea fans were clapping. Martin said that it was because two of Chelsea’s most talented players, Pat Nevin and Micky Hazard were warming up as substitutes. Martin’s friend said “if they are the two most talented players, why are they not playing?” That question probably summed up the whole season.