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Programme Notes Part 10

By the start of the 1951-52 season, Albert Sewell had perfected the art of producing the Chelsea match day programme. The regulars at Stamford Bridge, after parting with their sixpence could be guaranteed an excellent read, from all the latest information at the club, in depth analysis of the opposition and plenty of photographs, be it players in pre-season training or action shots from previous games. There was also a regular column from former Referee, Jimmy Jewell and in the programme for the game against Arsenal on 22nd August 1951 he penned an article on the virtues of being a good Referee. Goodness knows what Mr Jewell would think of VAR!!!

For the 1952-53 season ‘Percy’ the Pensioner had finally left us as Ted Drake began to modernise the club. Albert Sewell changed the design yet again to show an aerial image of Stamford Bridge, and this format with the odd tweak here and there would remain constant until the beginning of the sixties.

In that first issue against Derby County, new Manager, Ted Drake issued a plea to the supporters, asking them to be much more partisan. It was a call to arms that some would answer quite literally some years later, but even now, browsing through Ted Drake’s programme notes during his time at the club, it was almost like reading a letter from your favourite uncle. Again, the regular features were in the programme and became essential reading for the match goer. In that programme Chelsea supporters were introduced to another name that would become very familiar to the programme buyer at Stamford Bridge.

Using the pseudonym ’True Blue’ this writer began a regular column called Chelsea Men Of Memory, the first being Hughie Gallacher. He would write a similar article in every home programme for two years, his final one focusing on Hugh Billington at the end of the 1953-54 season. Then, at the start of the momentous 1954-55 campaign he was given a regular column that was a joy to read and something that would become a major feature in the programme.

Albert Sewell had become an integral part of the Chelsea story and his vision produced, what for me are the finest programmes in our history and I’d be interested in your views on this. As the 1960’s arrived, Albert could have rested on his laurels but that was not his style.

A social revolution was taking place, but Albert had his finger on the pulse, ready for the next leap forward.

By Paul Waterhouse, Bygone Chelsea 1905-99

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