Chelsea FC
A Decade Of Turmoil, 1974-85
By Gary Watton
March 12 2014

The club now endured a merry-go-round of managers, namely Ron Suart, ex-player Eddie McCreadie, ex-player Ken Shellito, Northern Ireland legend Danny Blanchflower, England legend Geoff Hurst, and John Neal. Only Mr Neal took Chelsea back to a position of strength. For the others, dwindling resources meant trying to keep the team afloat and fending off the running sore of inconsistency.

1974-75: Chelsea finished 21st and were relegated. By the end of November the team had won only three of their first nineteen league matches.

Best result: Arsenal 1 CHELSEA 2 (A pair of goals from Chris Garland helped Chelsea to a 2-0 interval lead. Alan Ball reduced the deficit with a penalty.)

Horrible result: Wolverhampton Wanderers 7 CHELSEA 1 (Bill Garner's goal cut the Wolves lead to 2-1, but then John Phillips conceded five further goals.) 


1975-76: Chelsea finished eleventh in Division Two. The team won only three of their first fifteen fixtures and failed to win any of their last nine outings.

Best result: Plymouth Argyle 0 CHELSEA 3 (Garry Stanley, Ian Britton, and Kenny Swain were the goalscoring heroes for this new look Chelsea squad.)

Horrible result: CHELSEA 0 Oldham Athletic 3 (Young scored in each half as Eddie McCreadie's young team were struggling to stay in the second division.)


1976-77: Chelsea finished second and were promoted. They were unbeaten at home in the league while Finnieston scored 24 goals in 39 league matches.

Best result: CHELSEA 5 Hereford United 1 (The home team cruised to a three-nil lead at the interval. Finnieston soon added a fourth in this easy stroll.)

Horrible result: Charlton Athletic 4 CHELSEA 0 (A treble from Flanagan contributed to this surprise result as Chelsea staggered towards the finishing line.)


1977-78: Chelsea finished sixteenth in Division One. They conceded forty-nine goals in their 21 away fixtures, more than any other team in the league.

Best result: CHELSEA 3 Liverpool 1 (After a scoreless first half, Tommy Langley cancelled out a Neal penalty before Steve Finnieston grabbed a double.)

Horrible result: Everton 6 CHELSEA 0 (The Toffees led two-nil inside fifteen minutes and then scored four more goals past Peter Bonetti in the second half.)


1978-79: Chelsea finished 22nd in Division One and were relegated. They conceded more goals at home and more goals away than any other team.

Best result: CHELSEA 4 Bolton Wanderers 3 (Bolton led 3-0 at half time. Then Chelsea substitute Clive Walker inspired four goals in the last twenty minutes.

Horrible result: CHELSEA 1 Manchester City 4 (Ron Futcher scored twice just before half time and added a third. Garry Stanley scored a late consolation.)


1979-80: Chelsea finished fourth in Division Two. Only two wins from their last seven fixtures prevented a near-certain promotion for Geoff Hurst's team.

Best result: Orient 3 CHELSEA 7 (Kevin Hales and Colin Pates enjoyed a happy debut as Lee Frost netted three goals. Chelsea had led 7-1 at one stage.)

Horrible result: Birmingham City 5 CHELSEA 1 (If Chelsea had drawn this March match, they would have been promoted a couple of months later.) 


1980-81: Chelsea finished twelfth. They depressingly failed to score in nineteen of their last twenty-two league matches, six of which were 0-0 draws!

Best result: CHELSEA 6 Newcastle United 0 (The Blues scored three goals in each half, with Colin Lee helping himself to a treble in this impressive triumph.)

Horrible result: CHELSEA 1 Derby County 3 (Colin Lee's goal was a late consolation. This result brought high-flying Chelsea crashing back down to earth.)


1981-82: Chelsea finished twelfth. This team drew five and lost the other two of their seven remaining fixtures and remained marooned in Division Two.

Best result: CHELSEA 4 Leicester City 1 (Just over ten thousand watched this Tuesday night win. Alan Mayes scored twice in the last ten minutes.)

Horrible result: Rotherham United 6 CHELSEA 0 (The hosts scored three times in the first fifteen minutes. This was a dreadful horror show on Hallowe'en.)


1982-83: Chelsea finished eighteenth, their lowest-ever finish. By the end of November, Chelsea had only won four of their first sixteen league matches.

Best result: CHELSEA 6 Cambridge United 0 (Less than eight thousand came along to watch as Mike Fillery scored twice in this January demolition.)

Horrible result: Charlton Athletic 5 CHELSEA 2 (The veteran Bryan 'Pop' Robson scored on his last outing for Chelsea, but the damage was already done.)


1983-84: Chelsea finished first and were promoted as champions. They scored more goals at home and more goals away than any other team in that league.

Best result: CHELSEA 5 Derby County 0 (An early goal from the debutant Spackman gave Chelsea the interval lead. Kerry Dixon added the last two goals.)

Horrible result: CHELSEA 2 Grimsby Town 3 (Bumstead and Dixon scored goals in the second half, but Grimsby also scored twice in the second half.)


1984-85: Chelsea finished sixth in Division One. They would have finished fifth if they had not lost their last match at home to struggling Norwich City.

Best result: CHELSEA 6 Coventry City 2 (Both teams shared four first-half goals. Kerry Dixon recorded a hat trick and Keith Jones scored twice as well.)

Horrible result: CHELSEA 0 Southampton 2 (Two second-half goals enabled the Saints to complete a league double and two shut-outs against the Blues.)