On Saturday 16th December 2023 we welcomed Sheffield United to Stamford Bridge, and before the game we took over the Tea Bar to highlight our past links with the day’s opponents.
On the back of our first highly popular event in September, a tribute to Gianluca Vialli prior to the Legends of Europe match, our second event was a gentler affair. Supporters of all ages popped in, having a chat and a drink while inspecting the varied displays courtesy of the Chelsea Museum or viewing our curated content on the three big screens.
With a collection of iconic past programmes on display, a special presentation created by the club’s official historian Rick Glanvill showcased the 75th anniversary of our introduction of the magazine style match day programme on Christmas Day 1948, a Division 1 game we lost 2-1 against Portsmouth. (Thank goodness festive season games are limited to Boxing Day nowadays. Oh wait….)
A super sized cardboard cut-out of huge club legend Willie Foulke took centre stage and a set of screened slides took us through his short yet larger than life career as Chelsea’s first goalkeeper and celebrity player, a transfer fee of just £50 from Sheffield United securing the big man’s services for just one season. You can see Foulke in action here.
We also covered the ‘Khaki’ Cup Final, our first FA Cup final appearance in 1915, a defeat to Sheffield United. The game itself was almost incidental because of the sombre backdrop of the First World War and with so many in the crowd in uniform. Regular football was abandoned soon after.
Lastly, and definitely not least, we welcomed a special guest, Steve ‘Jock’ Finnieston, who played for Chelsea in the mid seventies. Such a friendly, affable and humble guy, he graciously gave his time to anyone who wanted to chat with him, sharing his own memories and memorabilia while our screens hummed to the sound of his match playing exploits against Sheffield United, a team he would go on to play for.
We would like to thank everyone who made the event happen, from the club and the Chelsea Museum, to our special guest Jock. But mostly grateful thanks to everyone involved with the Chelsea Heritage Partnership whose ideas, contributions and help on the day made the event come to life.
We should also like to thank Chelsea supporter Bryan Marriott of exhibition design company Expose Designs for the loan of the superb display cabinet.
Clips courtesy of Chelsea Lookback
Chelsea 1977 Dressing room before Sheff Utd game
Chelsea 4-0 Sheff Utd 1977