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Flying home

Newcastle 1 Chelsea 2 - 19th April 1957

In the bygone years of football many players would travel to games by train, often accompanied by team supporters filling the same carriages. Nowadays teams travel in more luxurious ways and rarely come into contact with fans. This is a part of the game that older fans feel has been lost over the years as these professionals become more untouchable than ever.

Back in 1957 Chelsea played Newcastle at St James’ Park and won 2-1 courtesy of goals from Les Stubbs and Derek Saunders. Len White did score for the Geordies but it wasn’t enough. There wasn’t enough time for the Blues to recover before their next match, less than 24 hours away against Everton at Stamford Bridge.

The club thought that a 280 mile round trip back to London would be too much for the players to take and so, out of necessity rather than extravagance, hired a private jet to take them back to the capital. This was the first time in English history that a team had travelled by plane from a domestic football match. The idea proved to be successful as Chelsea beat the Merseysiders 5-1.

So, in a world where footballers are like celebrities and live a life of luxury it was Ted Drake’s Chelsea team back in 1957 that started the jet-set life.

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