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Docherty and Sexton: Success Years, 1961-74

By Gary Watton
March 12 2014

Tommy Docherty, with no managerial experience, was thrown in at the deep end as Chelsea headed for relegation. The Doc however revived the club, transforming the team into a stylish bunch that played great football. However, where Docherty was the nearly man, for whom major silverware was elusive, his successor, the placid Dave Sexton took Chelsea to the heights of FA Cup and European success.

1961-62: Chelsea finished 22nd and were relegated. They lost more away matches (sixteen) and conceded more away goals (65) than any other team.

Best result: CHELSEA 6 Sheffield United 1 (This match was poised at 1-1 at half time. However, Tambling grabbed a treble and Bridges recorded a double.)

Horrible result: Blackpool 4 CHELSEA 0 (Ted Drake exited Chelsea after this latest setback. Charnley helped himself to a hat trick in this one-sided contest.)


1962-63: Chelsea finished second in Division Two and were promoted. They won more away matches than any other club and conceded less away goals too!

Best result: CHELSEA 7 Portsmouth 0 (An early goal from Derek Kevan and four from Tambling enabled Chelsea to narrowly win promotion after this match.)

Horrible result: Norwich City 4 CHELSEA 1 (Bobby Tambling provided the Londoners with the lead but the Canaries then stormed into a 3-1 half-time lead.) 


1963-64: Chelsea finished fifth in Division One. Docherty's improving team won seven of their last nine outings, finishing three points below second position.

Best result: Blackpool 1 CHELSEA 5 (A Barry Bridges double helped Chelsea into a four-nil half-time lead in this Boxing Day encounter.)

Horrible result: CHELSEA 0 Tottenham Hotspur 3 (An own goal from Shellito and a goal from ex-Chelsea player Bobby Smith gave Spurs an early 2-0 lead.)


1964-65: Chelsea finished third. They lost six of their last thirteen matches [including their last three], which prevented them from winning the league.

Best result: Birmingham City 1 CHELSEA 6 (A George Graham hat trick and a Jim McCalliog double contributed to another fine win for this talented team.)

Horrible result: Burnley 6 CHELSEA 2 (Lochhead scored five times as Burnley led 4-1 at the halfway stage against a much-changed Chelsea team.)


1965-66: Chelsea finished fifth. They won eleven away fixtures, more than any other club. They would have finished fourth if they hadn't lost their last match.

Best result: CHELSEA 6 West Ham United 2 (The Blues led four-nil inside the first half hour. Ron Harris then scored for both teams. Chelsea had led 6-0!)

Horrible result: CHELSEA 0 Aston Villa 2 (Future Chelsea striker Tony Hateley converted a first-half penalty. The Villa scored again in the second half.)


1966-67: Chelsea finished ninth. In November and December, the Blues had five consecutive draws, then three successive defeats, and no clean sheets!

Best result: Aston Villa 2 CHELSEA 6 (Chelsea led four-nil at the halfway stage. Tambling scored five times while John Boyle grabbed our second goal.)

Horrible result: Sheffield Wednesday 6 CHELSEA 1 (Tambling scored in the second half to cut the deficit to 2-1, but the Owls then ran riot in the last half hour.)


1967-68: Chelsea finished sixth. By Christmas the Blues had only won four of their first 21 matches. However, Dave Sexton engineered a superb recovery.

Best result: Southampton 3 CHELSEA 5 (After Channon gave the Saints an early lead, five different Chelsea players scored in this impressive comeback.)

Horrible result: Leeds United 7 CHELSEA 0 (Seven different people scored for Leeds, including Chelsea's Hinton. This was a baptism of fire for Dave Sexton!)


1968-69: Chelsea finished fifth. They only lost two of their first fifteen fixtures, scoring in each of them. They finished with a pair of 2-1 London derby wins.

Best result: Manchester United 0 CHELSEA 4 (A brace from Tommy Baldwin helped Chelsea to an amazing 3-0 interval lead against the European champions.)

Horrible result: Southampton 5 CHELSEA 0 (John Dempsey and Alan Hudson made their debut in this debacle. Dave Webb scored an own goal.)


1969-70: Chelsea finished third. In August and September the team drew six successive league matches and they won only one of their first nine outings.

Best result: Crystal Palace 1 CHELSEA 5 (Peter Osgood equalised shortly before half time and then scored three more goals in an emphatic second-half.)

Horrible result: CHELSEA 2 Leeds United 5 (The Blues led 2-1 at the interval, but then four different Leeds players scored goals past Tommy Hughes.)


1970-71: Chelsea finished sixth. The team only won three of their last ten league matches. Otherwise they would have finished a comfortable third.

Best result: CHELSEA 4 West Bromwich Albion 1 (The hosts scored twice in each half, with the ever-reliable John Hollins scoring once in each half.)

Horrible result: CHELSEA 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2 (In front of more than sixty thousand supporters, Mullery and Pearce scored in the last couple of minutes.)


1971-72: Chelsea finished seventh. This declining team only won three of their first thirteen league matches and only won once in their last six skirmishes.

Best result: CHELSEA 4 Everton 0 (This match was scoreless at the halfway stage. Then Osgood scored the first and last goals in this impressive triumph.)

Horrible result: West Bromwich Albion 4 CHELSEA 0 (The home team only led by a single goal at half time, but managed three more in the second half.)


1972-73: Chelsea finished twelfth. This erratic Chelsea team a dismal campaign finished with five successive defeats followed by three consecutive victories.

Best result: CHELSEA 4 Leeds United 0 (Chris Garland netted twice to add to other second-half goals from Osgood and Cooke in this opening-day rout.)

Horrible result: CHELSEA 1 Stoke City 3 (Tommy Ord provided Chelsea with the lead, but Stoke City recovered to inflict another depressing defeat.)


1973-74: Chelsea finished seventeenth. The Blues lost four of their first five fixtures. They recovered but then they won only one of their last eight matches.

Best result: Birmingham City 2 CHELSEA 4 (Chelsea had led 2-0 at half time. Birmingham levelled at 2-2, but Webb and Baldwin then scored a goal each.)

Horrible result: CHELSEA 2 West Ham United 4 (Goals from Britton and Hudson helped the hosts to a 2-0 interval lead. Then the wheels came off yet again.)

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Docherty and Sexton: Success Years, 1961-74
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