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Programme Notes Part 11


As the 1960’s dawned, the programmes showed little change from the previous years, especially the front cover. The regular features that Albert Sewell had introduced were still there, as was the popular column by ‘True Blue,’ but at the beginning of the 1961-62 season the Chelsea programme appeared as a slimmed down version, a familiar size that would endure until 1974.


During that campaign, Ted Drake left the club to be replaced by Tommy Docherty and the modernisation began. Focusing on youth, Tommy Docherty introduced many players who had come through the ranks at Chelsea and it fitted in well with the burgeoning teenage culture that had emerged in Britain.


Without Jimmy Greaves in the side relegation soon followed, but after a memorable season in Division 2 an immediate return was achieved. The final game against Portsmouth at Stamford Bridge resulted in a 7-0 victory, but it also saw ‘True Blue’ write his final column in the programme, a feature on Jack Townrow. It was replaced by an interview type article where Albert Sewell questioned various members of the squad, his first one being Tommy Docherty. The main features remained largely untouched although the front cover changed regularly for the rest of the decade. The more modern ‘look’ encapsulated what was happening in London in particular the Kings Road and the swinging 60’s.


One noticeable change came in the 1965-65 season when the much loved yearbook that Albert Sewell produced each season was included as a supplement inside the match day programme. Although collectible in their own right, the loss of those excellent handbooks from previous years is much lamented.


The programme continued to be a trail blazer and in 1965-66 another innovative ‘first’ was achieved when colour photographs appeared in a match day programme for the first time. The game was against Barcelona on 11th May 1966 in the Fairs Cup and included inside were colour photographs of a recent F.A.Cup 6th Round tie against Hull City at Stamford Bridge.


On 12th March 1966, Chelsea set a British record by selling 59,900 programmes from an attendance of 60,269 against Manchester United. Eight months later on 5th November 1966 they surpassed that figure when Manchester United visited Stamford Bridge again. The attendance was 55,958, but an incredible 62,586 programmes were sold. During that campaign a record 817,341 programmes were sold at Stamford Bridge, 633,371 being for league fixtures.


Buying a programme was now an integral part of the match day experience, but as another decade dawned there were still records to be set.



By Paul Waterhouse, Bygone Chelsea 1905-99


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