#FlashbackFriday - Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea: Part Two - 1950 to 1978

(Part One Covering 1909 to 1935 can be found here)

By 1950, Spurs had spent fifteen years outside of top tier Football (though seven of those were lost to the Second World War).  Throughout the late 1940s, Tottenham were managed by former 1930s Arsenal star Joe Hulme (who also played Cricket for Middlesex).  Hulme left in 1949 and taking over had been Tottenham born Arthur Rowe, who developed Spurs’s ‘Push and Run’ style game and as a result won the second tier Championship in 1949/50.  That same season, Chelsea reached the Semi Final of the FA Cup and were drawn against Arsenal.  The Semi Final was the first all-London tie in the modern era and initially it was suggested that the game take place at Wembley.  


The main objection however was that whoever progressed to the final would have had the advantage of playing at Wembley just a few weeks before the final.  Another objection was that some of the gate money would have gone to the owners of Wembley Stadium and several clubs believed that this money should have remained within the game and that a ground of an FA member side should have been chosen for that very reason. The game therefore took place at White Hart Lane in front of a crowd of 67,752. 


Chelsea took a two goal first half lead with two goals from Roy Bentley.  Arsenal pulled back a goal from Freddie Cox – who signed for Arsenal from Spurs.  Leslie Compton however equalised to take the tie to a replay with a 2-2 draw. 

The replay took place again at White Hart Lane four days later in front of a full house.  An extra time goal for former Spur Freddie Cox took Arsenal through to the FA Cup Final, where they would defeat Liverpool to win their third FA Cup.  For both Arsenal and Chelsea however, regular trips to White Hart Lane would resume in 1950/51.  In mid-October however, it would be Spurs who made their first visit to Stamford Bridge for over sixteen years.  After eleven games, Spurs stood in seventh place.  Chelsea meanwhile were rock bottom of the table having won just two games.  A crowd of 65,992 turned out at Stamford Bridge to see Spurs run out 2-0 winners with goals from Len Duquemin and Sonny Walters.

The following March saw Chelsea come to White Hart Lane.  By this point, Spurs topped the old First Division with a dozen games left to play.  Tottenham were a point ahead of second place Middlesbrough but having played one game more.  Arsenal meanwhile were third and four points behind Spurs.  Chelsea meanwhile were nineteenth, but only kept off of the bottom of the table by a two point cushion.  A crowd of 59,449 turned out at White Hart Lane for the occasion.  Spurs ran out 2-1 winners, with Ron Burgess and Alex Wright, while Bobby Campbell scored for Chelsea (no relation to the man who managed the Blues during the late 80s/early 90s).

Spurs finished 1950/51 by winning their first ever league title, just one season after achieving promotion from the second tier.  At the other end of the table, Chelsea came out on top of a three way tie on thirty two points by way of a superior goal average to finish in twentieth position, which kept the Blues within the top tier by the skin of their teeth.  Chelsea were saved on the final day of the 1950/51 season by a 4-0 home win over Bolton, while the other two going down were Sheffield Wednesday and Everton – despite the latter thumping the former 6-0 at Hillsborough!  On defending their title in 1951/52, Spurs met Chelsea at White Hart Lane in mid-November.     


After seventeen games Spurs stood third in the table, two points behind their neighbours Arsenal at the top of the table.  Chelsea meanwhile were seventeenth and three points off of the relegation zone.  48,985 turned out at the Lane.  Future Spurs boss Bill Nicholson was among the scorers, as Tottenham ran out 3-2 winners.  Once again, both Arsenal and Chelsea were to meet each other in the FA Cup Semi Finals at White Hart Lane.  The first meeting between the two had been abandoned due to snow.  When rearranged one week later, the two teams played out a 1-1 draw with former Spur Freddie Cox on target for Arsenal.  The replay occurred forty eight hours later at the Lane, where two goals for Freddie Cox aided a 3-0 victory for Arsenal.

At the end of April 1952, Spurs headed to Stamford Bridge to meet Chelsea for the final game of the season.  On the final Saturday of the season four days prior, arch rivals Arsenal lost the title to Man United at Old Trafford with a 1-6 defeat.  Spurs however had the opportunity to overtake Arsenal for the runners up spot for their final fixture.  Chelsea on the other hand were nineteenth in the table, but with a seven point cushion from the relegation zone were assured of retaining their place in the top tier.  A crowd of 46,574 turned out at Stamford Bridge as goals for Les Bennett and Les Medley secured a 2-0 win for the Lillywhites as Spurs secured the runners up spot over Arsenal.


The following Saturday would be FA Cup Final day between Newcastle United and Arsenal.  On the same day, Chelsea played out their final game of the season away at Derby County.  The FA Cup Final however by now had become a major event for the football public who were now either watching the match live or, as was more common then, listening on the wireless.  A crowd of just 8,582 saw Chelsea played out a 1-1 draw.  By the following October, when Spurs returned to Stamford Bridge, Spurs had dropped to tenth position, while Chelsea were a point behind in twelfth.  This had been Chelsea’s first meeting with Spurs since the appointment of former Arsenal striker Ted Drake as boss. 


Ron Greenwood made his debut for Chelsea, having signed from Brentford earlier in the month.  Another future England boss in the shape of Alf Ramsey was on the scoresheet for Spurs, however Chelsea went on to a 2-1 victory in front of a crowd of 62,688.  By mid-March 1953, when Chelsea came to White Hart Lane to face Spurs they had sunk to the bottom of the table.  Spurs meanwhile were tenth in the table.  A crowd of 47,903 witnessed a vital two points for Chelsea which moved them off of the foot of the table, as they ran out 3-2 winners with a goal from Jim Lewis – an amateur who went on to play for Great Britain in three consecutive Olympic Games in 1952, 1956 and 1960.  Spurs finished the season in tenth, while Chelsea finished the season one place above the relegation zone in nineteenth place.        


When the sides met again at White Hart Lane in early November 1953, Chelsea were languishing in nineteenth place, but were coming off the back of a 5-2 win over Liverpool at Stamford Bridge the previous week.  Spurs meanwhile were twelfth.  A 2-1 victory for Spurs saw the North London side pick-up both points in front of a crowd of 44,795.  By late March, when the return fixture was played out at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea had risen up to eighth place.  Spurs meanwhile were thirteenth.  A goal for Johnny McNichol in front of a crowd of 49,315 gave Chelsea a 1-0 victory.  Chelsea finished 1953/54 in eighth place, while Spurs sunk to sixteenth.


In 1954/55 Spurs came to Stamford Bridge in mid-November.  Chelsea stood twelfth, while Spurs languished two points above the relegation zone in eighteenth.  A crowd of 52,961 witnessed 2-1 victory for Chelsea with goals for Roy Bentley and Jim Lewis.  By the time Chelsea headed to White Hart Lane in early April 1955, the Blues had leaped up to the top of the table and were three points ahead of second place Wolves, but having played two games more.  On what was their fiftieth anniversary season, Chelsea finished the 1954/55 season as Football League Champions for the first time in their history.  Spurs meanwhile sunk to sixteenth, as Arthur Rowe was forced to quit White Hart Lane due to health issues.


Rowe was replaced by Jimmy Anderson as Spurs boss and his first meeting with Chelsea occurred in mid-October 1955 at Stamford Bridge.  Spurs however suffered a 0-2 away defeat to the defending Champions.  The return fixture followed in late February at White Hart Lane.  Defending Champions Chelsea were languishing in fourteenth place, however Spurs were performing even worse in nineteenth place and just three points from the relegation zone (though just one place behind neighbours Arsenal in eighteenth.  Two goals for Johnny Brooks aided Spurs on their way to an emphatic 4-0 victory over Chelsea.  Spurs finished the season in eighteenth, while Chelsea were only two points above them in sixteenth place.


The following October, Spurs came to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea.  A hat-trick for Alfie Stokes aided Spurs to a 4-2 away victory in front of a crowd of 55,788.  At the end of January 1957, the two sides were drawn together against each other at White Hart Lane in the fourth round of the FA Cup.  A mammoth crowd of 66,398 saw an empathic 4-0 win for Spurs to progress to the last sixteen.  Spurs reached no further in that year’s FA Cup after suffering a Cup upset to Bournemouth & Boscombe F.C. (later known by the more streamlined moniker of AFC Bournemouth after 1972).             

Less than a month on, the two sides met again at White Hart Lane in the league.  Spurs stood second in the table and four points behind Matt Busby’s Man United who were leading the old First Division table.  Chelsea meanwhile were sixteenth.  Two goals for Les Allen upset the form book, as Chelsea ran out 4-3 winners.  By the close of 1956/57, Spurs finished eight points behind Man United in second place, while Chelsea finished thirteenth.  On the opening day of the 1957/58 season, the two sides met at White Hart Lane.  Scoring on his Chelsea debut in front of a crowd of 52,580 was a seventeen year old Jimmy Greaves, as the two sides played out a 1-1 draw.

The return fixture at Stamford Bridge occurred four days ahead of Christmas 1957.  Spurs were eighth, while Chelsea stood tenth.  Two goals for Bobby Smith aided a 4-2 away victory for Spurs.  Spurs finished 1957/58 in third place, but thirteen points off of champions Wolves under a two points for a win system.  Chelsea meanwhile finished eleventh.  Spurs headed to White Hart Lane for the second game of the season.  The Blues lost their opening fixture of the season with a 2-5 defeat to Matt Busby’s Man United, in their first full season after the Munich Air Crash.  Spurs meanwhile lost their opening fixture 2-3 at home to Blackpool. 

Four days on at Stamford Bridge, 59,203 turned out for the game. 


Goals for Jimmy Greaves and two for Ron Tindall aided a 4-2 victory for Chelsea, while former Blues star Bobby Smith would be on target for Spurs.  The return fixture occurred exactly one week later back at White Hart Lane.  50,299 turned out for game.  A hat-trick for Terry Medwin helped Spurs on their way to a 4-0 victory, which turned out to be the final fixture between the two sides during the 1950s.  By October, Spurs had appointed Bill Nicholson as boss, which kicked off the club’s most successful ever period to date.  His first game in charge was an incredible 10-4 victory over Everton.  Despite this, Spurs finished the season in eighteenth, while Chelsea were fourteenth.     

For the 1959/60 season, the two sides would play each other twice in two days during mid-April, over the Easter weekend.  The first meeting occurred at Stamford Bridge on Good Friday.  Spurs had topped the League table on goal average over a Wolves side pushing for a third successive League title, with just five games left to play.  The 1959/60 league season was so tight that there had also been Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley who were just two points behind Spurs.  Chelsea meanwhile stood fifteenth in the table.  A crowd of 67,819 turned out at Stamford Bridge and witnessed a hat-trick for former Blues star Bobby Smith, as Spurs ran out 3-1 winners.  Peter Brabrook meanwhile was on target for Chelsea.     

Three days later, Chelsea visited at White Hart Lane for the return fixture.  37,205 turned out for the occasion, however a goal for Jimmy Greaves saw Spurs crash to a 0-1 defeat.  By the end of the Easter Weekend, Wolves had leapfrogged Spurs to the top of the table with a game in hand, while Spurs were only ahead of Burnley in second by goal average though the Clarets had two games in hand.   Spurs finished the 1959/60 season in third place, just two points behind Burnley who were crowned League champions.  For 1960/61, the two sides would play each other home and away over the Easter Weekend once again in late March/early April. 


On Good Friday, Chelsea came to White Hart Lane in fourteenth position.  Spurs on the other hand topped the table with a six point cushion and just eight games left to play.  Spurs however had lost a bit of form they had only managed three victories from their last eight games.  65,032 turned out at White Hart Lane for the occasion and witnessed a 4-2 victory for Spurs with two goals from Cliff Jones as well as Frank Saul and former Chelsea star Les Allen (who was also father to future Spurs and Chelsea forward Clive Allen).  On Easter Monday, Spurs headed to Stamford Bridge for the return fixture with an attendance of 57,103 to witness events.  Former Blues star Bobby Smith gave Spurs the lead on seven minutes which is what the score stayed as at half time.


Eleven minutes into the second half, Frank Bluntstone equalised for Chelsea.  Just past the hour mark, Jimmy Greaves put Chelsea ahead, the Blues lead however lasted just three minutes before a Terry Medwin equaliser.  With fifteen minutes to go, Maurice Norman restored Tottenham’s lead.  With no further scoring, Spurs ran out 3-2 winners.  That would be Tottenham’s third straight victory of the Easter weekend of 1961.  That winning run would extend to five straight victories, as Spurs finished the season as League Champions for the second (and to date last) time, as well as bagging the FA Cup at Wembley to complete the first Double of the twentieth century.  Chelsea meanwhile finished 1960/61 in twelfth place.


In 1961/62, the two sides played each other again over twice over a holiday period – this time it would be Christmas.  On Boxing Day, Spurs headed to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea.  Defending Champions Spurs stood in fourth place and three points behind leaders Burnley.  Chelsea meanwhile were anchored to the foot of the table at the half way point of the season and had replaced title winning boss Ted Drake with another former Arsenal man in Tommy Docherty.  That month, Spurs had signed former Chelsea man Jimmy Greaves from AC Milan and ten days prior he had marked his Tottenham debut with a hat-trick against Blackpool at White Hart Lane.


Greaves was again on target against his old club, as Spurs ran out 2-0 winners in front of a crowd of 51,282– the other goal bagged by Cliff Jones.  Four days later, in the interim between Christmas and New Year, the return fixture took place at White Hart Lane.  Spurs ended the greatest calendar year in their history with an emphatic 5-2 victory over Chelsea in front of 44,630 people at the Lane.  On target for Spurs would be Dave Mackay, former Blue Les Allen and a hat-trick for Cliff Jones. Graham Moore meanwhile bagged both goals for Chelsea.  Spurs finished 1961/62 four points behind league Champions Ipswich Town (managed by former Spur Alf Ramsey), but retained the FA Cup with a Wembley victory over Burnley.  Chelsea meanwhile finished the season rock bottom and relegated to the old Second Division.


Chelsea spent just one season in the second tier, before bouncing back in 1962/63 as runners up of the old Second Division.  Their first meeting with Spurs on returning to the op flight came in late September 1963 at Stamford Bridge in front of a crowd of 57,401.  In the opening minute, Chelsea fell behind to a Ken Shellito own goal.  Nine minutes later, former Blue Bobby Smith doubled Spurs’s lead.  With three minutes to go, Peter Baker added a third for Spurs as they ran out 3-0 winners.  In the first week in January, the two sides were drawn together in the third round of the FA Cup at White Hart Lane. 


In front of a crowd of 49,382, goals for Terry Dyson and Bert Murray meant a 1-1 draw.  The replay at Stamford Bridge occurred four days later, where a mammoth crowd of 70,123 turned out.  Goals for Bert Murray and Bobby Tamblng earned Chelsea a 2-0 victory.  The Blues however exited the Cup with a 1-2 home defeat to Huddersfield Town.  A week later, Chelsea played the return league fixture with Spurs at White Hart Lane.  Spurs had topped the League table after twenty six games, with a two point gap over second place Blackburn Rovers and two games in hand.  Chelsea meanwhile were six points behind in seventh place.  Jimmy Greaves was on target for Spurs again against his old club, however two goals for Bobby Tambling gave Chelsea a 2-1 away win in front of 51,007 spectators.          

Spurs finished 1963/64 in fourth place and six points behind Champions Liverpool.  Chelsea were a point behind in fifth.  The following October, the two sides met again at White Hart Lane.  Chelsea topped the table after fourteen games with a two point gap of second place Man United as well as nine wins and just one defeat to their name.  Spurs were six points behind in sixth place.  The two sides played out a 1-1 draw in front of a crowd of 52,927 at White Hart Lane.  On target had been Cliff Jones for Spurs and future Spurs manager George Graham for Chelsea.  The sides were drawn against each other in the FA Cup again – this time in the fifth round in late February 1965.  A crowd of 63,205 witnessed a 1-0 victory for Chelsea courtesy of a Barry Bridges goal.


Chelsea had high hopes of an unprecedented domestic treble after winning the League Cup and riding high in the League.  When Spurs came to Stamford Bridge for a rearranged midweek fixture with Chelsea, the Blues topped the old First Division with a one point gap over Leeds United, while Spurs were nine points behind in fifth.  A crowd of 51,390 turned out at the Bridge and witnessed goals for Barry Bridges, Terry Venables and Bobby Tambling seal a 3-1 victory, while Alan Gilzean would be on target for Spurs.  Chelsea reached as far as the Semi Final that year, where they suffered a 0-2 defeat to Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. 

Their league title hopes were dashed by several first teamers - who included George Graham, Terry Venables and John Hollins – disciplined by Tommy Docherty for breaking a curfew in Blackpool and sent back to London. 


Chelsea suffered a 2-6 defeat the next day, which effectively ended their title hopes with the Blues finishing third and five points behind Champions Man United.  Spurs meanwhile finished sixth.  In 1965/66, the two clubs played each other home and away twice in the space of a month.  In early December, Chelsea headed to White Hart Lane in tenth place on the back of a 0-1 home defeat to Liverpool a week earlier.  Spurs meanwhile were in sixth place and six points behind league leaders Liverpool.       

The 42,299 who turned out at the Lane saw a six goal thriller.  With two goals apiece for Cliff Jones and Alan Gilzean, Spurs ran out 4-2 winners.  On target for Chelsea had been George Graham and Barry Bridges.  One month on in early January when the two sides met at Stamford Bridge, Spurs were third in the table and six points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.  Chelsea meanwhile stood seventh.  Tottenham’s title hopes were dealt a blow, as goals for George Graham and Peter Osgood gave Chelsea a 2-1 win in front of 48,529 spectators, while Dave Mackay was on target for Spurs from the penalty spot. 

Spurs’s title hopes were dealt a further blow that afternoon, as at the other end of the Seven Sisters Road, as Liverpool left Highbury with a 1-0 win, opening up an eight point gap for Spurs to make up.  Spurs eventually dropped to eighth place, while Chelsea finished fifth.  After a summer where England won the World Cup on home soil with a squad that contained Jimmy Greaves of Spurs and Peter Bonetti of Chelsea, though neither were within the eleven which defeated West Germany in the final.  In 1966/67, the two sides met in late October.  After twelve games, Chelsea stood second and a point behind leaders Stoke City.  Spurs were a point behind Chelsea in fourth.


Making his debut for Chelsea was Tony Hateley (father of future AC Milan and England striker Mark Hateley, who was Arsene Wenger’s signing as Monaco boss).  The 54,191 who turned out at Stamford Bridge witnessed an emphatic 3-0 victory for Chelsea, with a Bobby Tambling penalty and two for Tommy Baldwin.  The following March when Chelsea came to White Hart Lane, Spurs were seven points behind league leaders and reigning Champions Liverpool in fifth.  Chelsea meanwhile were on equal points with Spurs, but one place above them on goal average in fourth place.  Goals for Jimmy Greaves for Spurs and sixteen year old Ian ‘Chico’ Hamilton for Chelsea meant the points were shared with a 1-1 draw.


Chico Hamilton that afternoon became Chelsea’s youngest ever player and goal scorer – two records which he still holds to this day (Hamilton only played eight games for Chelsea, but managed to score five goals).  Meanwhile, playing his final game for Spurs was Keith Weller who transferred to Millwall but made his way back to top level football after transferring to Chelsea.  Spurs finished 1966/67 in third place on the back of a twenty three game unbeaten run and four points off of League Champions Man United.  Chelsea meanwhile finished ninth.  Two sides however would meet up again in May for the first ever all-London FA Cup Final at Wembley (hence dubbed by the press the ‘Cockney Cup Final’).  This was Spurs’s third Cup Final in seven years, while it was Chelsea’s first final since 1915.


Coverage of the game on ITV started with an F.A. Cup Final special edition of World of Sport hosted by Eamon Andrews (also famed for hosting ‘This is Your Life’), with ITV’s commentary from Peter Lorenzo.  The BBC’s coverage meanwhile kicked off with ‘Cup Final Grandstand’ at 11.25AM with commentary provided by Kenneth ‘They Think It’s Over’ Wolstenholme, as well as guest summarizer England’s World Cup winning boss Alf Ramsey.  Spurs took a first half lead with a low right-footed strike from the edge of the penalty area from Jimmy Robertson. 


On sixty seven minutes, Canvey Island-born Frank Saul doubled Spurs’s lead.  A Bobby Tambling header pulled one back for Chelsea with five minutes to go, however no further scoring meant that Spurs won their third FA Cup in seven years to the delight of Terry Venables who signed for Spurs from Chelsea just a year prior after a fall out with Chelsea boss Tommy Docherty.  With no extra time to disrupt the schedules, BBC1 viewers got to enjoy Juke Box Jury with guests Leslie Crowther and Kenny Everitt, followed by Dr. Who, the Dick Van Dyke show (kind of ironic for a ‘Cockney’ Cup Final Day involving two teams that were actually situated some distance from the Bow Belles!), the Monkees and the Benny Hill Show before edited highlights of the Final on ‘Match of the Day’ at 10PM.              

Two two sides met again in the League the following November.  By this point, Tommy Docherty had been replaced at the helm by former coach Dave Sexton, who at the time had been assisting Arsenal boss Bertie Mee as the tactical mastermind at Highbury. After sixteen games, Spurs stood in fifth place and two points behind League leaders Man United.  Chelsea meanwhile were just four points off of the relegation zone in seventeenth.  53,981 turned out for game at White Hart Lane and witnessed a 2-0 victory for Spurs, with Alan Gilzean and Cliff Jones on target.  The game however would be marred by crowd disturbances and violence between the two sets of supporters.

The return fixture followed back at Stamford Bridge on Easter Saturday in mid-April 1968.  Spurs stood sixth place and ten points off of Man United at the top of the old First Division, but with two games in hand. Chelsea meanwhile were now four points behind Spurs in ninth.  Goals for Tommy Baldwin and Peter Houseman gave Chelsea a 2-0 victory in front of 53,049.  Spurs finished the season in seventh place, while Chelsea finished one point above them in sixth to become top London club for 1967/68.  The two sides met five games into the 1968/69 season at the end of August.  Chelsea stood ninth with two wins to their name, while Spurs had won just one and stood seventeenth.

A crowd of 48,412 at Stamford Bridge saw the two sides share four goals and both points, with Alan Birchenall and a Peter Osgood penalty for Chelsea and Jimmy Greaves and Cliff Jones on target for Spurs.  Chelsea came to White Hart Lane in late March standing in fifth place, while Spurs were ninth.  A Neil Johnson goal gave Spurs a 1-0 victory in front of a crowd of 47,349.  The final meeting between the two sides during the 1960s came six games into the 1969/70 season in late August.  Spurs had won three of their first five games and stood seventh.  Chelsea meanwhile were sixteenth having won just one game.  With Jimmy Pearce on target for Spurs and Dave Webb scoring for Chelsea, the two sides played out a 1-1 draw.

The first meeting between the two sides during the 1970s came on the final Saturday of the 1969/70 season in early April (the season shortened for England to prepare for the Mexico ’70 World Cup).  The game took place one week before Chelsea were due to meet Leeds United in the 1970 FA Cup Final.  Chelsea stood fifth with four games left to play, while Spurs were languishing in twelfth place.  A Tommy Baldwin goal saw Chelsea sign off before the Cup Final with a 1-0 win in front of a crowd of 44,925 at Stamford Bridge.  Chelsea went on to win the FA Cup that year after a replay at Old Trafford, which was delayed for eighteen days after the first game at Wembley.


In 1970/71, Spurs headed to Stamford Bridge in mid-November in third place, behind neighbours Arsenal in second and table toppers Leeds United.  Chelsea meanwhile were two points behind in fourth.  A Charlie Cooke goal gave Chelsea a 1-0 win in front of a crowd of 52,581.  The two sides met again in mid-March, by which time Spurs had already bagged the League Cup by beating third tier Aston Villa in the final at Wembley.  Chelsea were now third, but eleven points behind league leaders Leeds United.  Spurs meanwhile were standing in sixth.  World Cup winner Martin Peters had transferred to Spurs during the summer in part exchange for Jimmy Greaves and found himself on the scoresheet alongside Martin Chivers, as Spurs ran out 2-1 winners.  On the scoresheet for Chelsea was Keith Weller scoring against his old club.

Tottenham finished the season in third place, just one point above Chelsea which would have meant pipping them to a place in Europe had Chelsea not bagged the European Cup Winners Cup that year.  However both sides would be in the shadow of London rivals Arsenal who won the League and FA Cup Double, meaning that London clubs collectively bagged four trophies between them.  In 1971/72, the two sides met in late November at Stamford Bridge.  Spurs stood in seventh place, while Chelsea were two points behind in ninth.  A goal for Charlie Cooke gave Chelsea a 1-0 win in front of a crowd of 52,581.

The two sides met just under a month later in the first leg of the League Cup Semi Final, just three days before Christmas 1971.  In front of a crowd of 43,330, Chelsea took the lead six minutes before half time with a Peter Osgood goal after a mad mix up between Pat Jennings and his own player.  Into the second half, Spurs scored twice in the space of two minutes with goals for Terry Naylor and Martin Chivers.  Chris Garland then headed home to equalise for Chelsea, before Terry Naylor handballed in the area to allow John Hollins to net the winner from the spot, as Chelsea took a 3-2 lead to White Hart Lane.

On 5th January came the second leg at White Hart Lane in front of a crowd of 52,755.  Martin Chivers had opened the scoring for Spurs just before half time to level the scores on aggregate.  Chris Garland restored Chelsea's aggregate lead just past the hour mark.  Martin Peters pulled it level from the penalty spot after Chelsea’s Alan Hudson handballed in the area with four minutes to play, meaning that extra time looked likely.  In the dying minutes however, Mike England impeded Peter Osgood near the corner flag.  Alan Hudson whipped the ball in and Cyril Knowles swung his boot, but missed.  The ball squirmed past Pat Jennings into the Spurs net.


Spurs angrily protested the goal shouldn’t have stood as it was supposed to be an indirect free kick.  Referee David Smith denied giving any such decision claiming to the Daily Mirror afterwards that he had put his hand out: ‘to indicate to the crowd that (Mike) England had handled Osgood off the ball’ and not for an indirect free kick.  Chelsea went through to the Final 5-4 on aggregate, though would be denied an all London final as West Ham would be defeated by Stoke City in a replay at Old Trafford with Bobby Moore filling in as substitute goalkeeper.  Chelsea also denied Spurs three straight League Cup finals in a row (as they would win the trophy back in 1972/73), however the Blues would be defeated by Stoke 1-2 in the final.

The return league fixture came in mid-April.  Spurs stood sixth with four games left to play, while Chelsea were two points behind in eighth place.  Goals for Ralph Coates and two for Martin Chivers gave Spurs a comprehensive 3-0 victory in front of a crowd of 45,799.  Spurs finished 1971/72 in sixth place, while Chelsea finished three points behind in seventh.  Just over six months later, the two sides met again in the League at White Hart Lane.  Chelsea stood fourth, while Spurs were one place lower in fifth by goal average.  A John Hollins goal gave Chelsea a 1-0 victory in front of a crowd of 47,429.

The return fixture for 1972/73 came the following April in a midweek meeting at Stamford Bridge.  Spurs were ninth in the table, while Chelsea were two points behind in eleventh place.  In front of a crowd of 25,536, a goal for John Pratt gave Spurs a 1-0 victory.  Spurs finished 1972/73 in eighth place, while Chelsea finished twelfth.  It would be exactly twelve months before the two sides would meet again in early April 1974 in another midweek fixture, this time at White Hart Lane.  Chelsea stood in tenth place, ahead of Spurs on goal average in eleventh.  Chelsea ran out 2-1 winners in front of a crowd of 23,646 with goals for Ron Harris and Micky Droy, while Ray Evans was on target for Spurs.


The return fixture at Stamford Bridge came twelve days later. In front of a crowd of 26,258, the two sides played out a goalless draw.  It would be the final game between the two sides during the reign of both Bill Nicholson as Spurs boss - who retired at the close of the season – and Dave Sexton as Chelsea manager.  Spurs finished the season in eleventh place, while Chelsea avoided relegation by one point to finish seventeenth (Dave Sexton even claiming the 2-1 win over Spurs gave him more pleasure than winning the F.A. Cup in 1970).  Six months on, the two sides met again for the 1974/75 season at Stamford Bridge.  After eleven games, the bottom of the old First Division looked like a min-London Super League, with Chelsea in twentieth place and two points more than Spurs who were second from bottom. 


Joining them at the foot of the table were Arsenal in the anchor position, while QPR stood nineteenth (the highest placed London club were West Ham in twelfth place!).  Chelsea’s poor form had seen the exit of Dave Sexton from Stamford Bridge nine days before the visit of Spurs, to be replaced by Ron Suart.  Meanwhile, Spurs replaced Bill Nicholson with former Arsenal Captain Terry Neill, who had been manager of Hull City since leaving Highbury four years prior.  A goal from John Hollins from the penalty spot gave Chelsea a vital two points.  The return fixture at White Hart Lane came on the penultimate Saturday of the season, with Spurs in twentieth place and Chelsea with one point more in nineteenth place. 


Both sides had just three games left to play, so the game was clearly a relegation show down.  Chelsea had just three days prior sacked Ron Suart and replaced him with former Chelsea veteran Eddie McCreadie.  The new boss deemed that drastic action was required and even handed eighteen year old Ray Wilkins the captain’s arm band, with McCreadie claiming that ‘It's not a gamble…there have got to be changes here’.  There was also a Chelsea debut for eighteen year old Teddy Maybank.  Ahead of the game had been considerable crowd trouble and a pre-match pitch invasion that very nearly saw the game postponed, but the game went ahead after somewhat of a delay.


A capacity crowd of 50,998 saw goals for Steve Perryman and Alfie Conn as Spurs ran out 2-0 winners, though Chelsea had two goals disallowed for handball.  After the game, Brian Moore interviews comedian Freddie Starr in front of the White Hart Lane crowd, as well as an interview with Fulham manager Alec Stock ahead of the 1975 (Paul Whitehouse later claimed that his Ron Manager character from ‘The Fast Show’ had been based on him and from the interview you can see the resemblance).  There too would also be ‘The Big Match’ goal of the season for 1974/75. 

The final Saturday the following week saw Spurs head to Highbury to meet Arsenal (themselves languishing in seventeenth place with their worst season since before the arrival of Herbert Chapman in 1925), while Chelsea played host to second place Everton.  Chelsea took the lead over Everton with a goal from Ray Wilkins, the Toffees however pulled one back with a goal from Bob Latchford.  Over at Highbury, Arsenal did their part by beating Spurs 1-0 with a goal from Brian Kidd.  Chelsea however couldn’t improve on their score of 1-1 to ensure their safety and lay one place above the drop zone having completed their fixtures, with Spurs one point behind with a game left to play at home to a Leeds United side who would be challenging Bayern Munich in the European Cup Final exactly one month later.

A thumping 4-2 win for Spurs over Leeds United however ensured Tottenham’s safety and consigned Chelsea to the drop to the old Second Division.  Chelsea spent two seasons in the second tier, before returning to the top flight after finishing as runners up of the old Second Division in 1976/77, passing them on the way down however would be Spurs, who ended that same season rock bottom of the Old First Division.  The end of Chelsea’s first season back in the top tier saw the Blues finish sixteenth and avoid relegation by four points.  Spurs however returned at the first attempt with a +9 goal difference over Brighton and Hove Albion.

The first meeting between the two sides in over three years occurred three games into the 1978/79 season in late August at White Hart Lane.  Five days prior, White Hart Lane saw a tickertape reception for Argentinian World Cup winners Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa, though Aston Villa spoiled the party with a 1-4 thumping for Spurs.  Tottenham were now managed by Keith Burkinshaw, while Chelsea were now managed by Ken Shellito.  The Argentinian effect (and another tickertape welcome) as well as the long awaited return of this London derby swelled the gate to 40,632.   Spurs went two ahead with goals from Gerry Armstrong and John Duncan created by assists from both Argentinian players. Two goals for Kenny Swain however drew Chelsea level for a 2-2 draw.

The return fixture came in mid-November.  By this point, after fourteen games Chelsea had just two wins to their name from fourteen games and stood in twentieth positon.  Spurs meanwhile had won just five from fourteen and stood eleventh.  A crowd of 42,328 turned out at Stamford Bridge to see a 3-1 victory for Spurs with goals for future Chelsea player boss Glenn Hoddle and two goals for another future Chelsea star Colin Lee.  Tottenham’s first season back in the top flight saw them finish in eleventh place.  For Chelsea meanwhile, they would finish 1978/79 rock bottom of the table and relegated on Easter Saturday with a 2-5 defeat to Arsenal at Highbury with five games left to play.


There would be no quick return to the top flight for Chelsea, who spent the early 1980s within the second tier, as Spurs became the Cup Kings at the start of the decade.  It would be the FA Cup that saw the fixture briefly resume before Chelsea’s return back to the old First Division, which will be covered in greater detail in Part Three ahead of the two sides meeting again at Stamford Bridge next March.

*Published 18th August 2017

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