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PALMERSTON

My Favourite Season 1983/4

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I know we are Champions and I know we have won cup finals and I know we have been playing in the Champions League for many a year, but my favourite season was still 1983/4.

I think because I was the perfect age, 17, had a good job that payed plenty of cash, had no responsibilities and had a lot of likeminded mates.

I believe I went to 42 games that season and it was perfect, having seen Chelsea achieve nothing as a follower, what a feeling it was to win promotion and be heading back to division One, even the thought of thousands of Chelsea fans singing "CHELSEA ARE BACK, CHELSEA ARE BACK HELLO" tingles the back of my neck.

From the first game a 5-0 win against Derby County with all our new signings playing it seemed like it might just be our season ( I have still got a two page write up I did sometime after that game at home).

The interesting trip to Brighton where we swamped the goldstone, journeys eary on to Huddersfield and Hillsbrough.

A classic away victory at Fulham which saw Gordon Davis get a hattrick and still be on the losing side in a 3-5.

A league cup away match at Gillingham which had more Chelsea in the home end than Gills supporters.

An 18 hour round trip on a coach to see a midweek 0-0 away at Carlisle infront of about 4000 fans.

Oldham, Swansea, Leeds and Cardiff away.

A fantastic night at Fratton Park when victory would have gained us promotion but we ended up with a 2-2 draw, seats on the pitch and Mickey Thomas in a towel trying to appease the travelling supporters.

Culminating in a 5-0 pitch invasion filled victory against the scum that is Leeds United to give us promotion, jumping up and down on the hallowed turf watching the away supporters trying to electricute themselves by ramming our scoreboard with a metal pole torn out of the terracing.

Thank you John Neal, Kerry Dixon and all.

What a season!

I know there are quite a few fellas on here of a similer age, any thoughts on that particular season?

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SuperDan   

I have particularly fond memories of that season as it was the first time I went to the Bridge as a 7 year old. It was against Barnsley towards the end of the season - I remember it being a scorching hot spring day and I think we won 3-1.

My old man bought me that classic round neck yellow away shirt for about £6 in that poky hut that once passed as a "mega store".

Sadly, I missed THAT Leeds game a few weeks later because my dad wanted to go in the Shed and I wasn't allowed :-(

I listened to it on the radio instead as we spanked them 5 nil. Happy days.

I've still got the shirt; I'd wear it if it fit me.

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Hard to know where to start, but I guess the near-relegation experience of the previous campaign is as good a place as any:

I remember chanting 'Bates Out' after the 0-0 draw with Boro on the last game of the 82/83 campaign; I'd heard his boasts that Chelsea would be turning the corner that summer but I was convinced he was going to sell us down the river. Happily, I was completely wrong!

Went to a pre-season friendly at Wimbledon. Phil Driver had just gone back there, and he scored the winner before being carried off on a stretcher with a broken leg. Alan Hudson hit the bar, and it looked like we had some little schoolkid out on the wing. His name was Pat something and he never got a kick against the Dons' bulky defenders. What a waste of money, I thought!!!

And then the season started...

I came home early from a family holiday to attend the Derby game. A great decision, even if I say so myself. Should have been six: Colin Lee had a good goal disallowed. Went to Gillingham in the midweek and we came from behind to win 2-1, and then went to Brighton on what was a mad, mental day. Kerry took his tally to five in three games as we won 2-1, Canners nutted a defender who had spat at him and was red-carded, and then it all went crazy after the final whistle. On the way home, a guy sitting in front of me on the train stuck his head out the window and was hit by an oncoming train - I nearly puked on the spot. It really upset me.

Like Palmerston, I was young (18), free and single at the time, and that definitely played it's part in making that little period so fantastic. Me and my mates were travelling all over the place, as were thousands of other Chelsea fans week in, week out. It was fantastic.

Newcastle at home when we won 4-0 - that little schoolkid called Pat really announced his arrival that day. THAT RUN!!! I've got goosebumps just thinking about it. Kerry missing three pens in two games just after Christmas; Mickey T coming in and guiding us safely through a dodgy little post-Christmas period; queueing outside the Abbey Stadium when Tony Mac scored the only goal of the game; standing on the away terrace after an Easter Saturday win at Palace and smiling because I knew then that we were definitely going up; getting nicked for nothing at Portsmouth (and seeing the big hand of the Pompey clock land on my brother's head after the game!); hugging Colin Pates on the pitch after Canners scored the fifth against Leeds; Man City away on the Friday night ("We're going up, you're not); GRIMSBY AWAY!!!

Happy, happy days. And the following season was also fantastic. Thanks for starting this thread Palmerston - those times will stay with me till the day I die.

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I know we are Champions and I know we have won cup finals and I know we have been playing in the Champions League for many a year, but my favourite season was still 1983/4.

I think because I was the perfect age, 17, had a good job that payed plenty of cash, had no responsibilities and had a lot of likeminded mates.

Understand those sentiments entirely.

I started to go regularly with my mates, instead of with my older brother or Dad, from 1968 when I was just 12. By 1970 I was going to several away games each season, travelling on the football specials - all funded by my paper round money! No matter what the team does in the future, nothing will ever surpass the memories of the 1968 - 1972 seasons, because it was more than just football - it was the buzz of travelling the country, seeing new places with my mates...the adrenalin of arriving in a strange town on a special, the sense of danger too (in those days 14/15 year olds were considered fair game by rival fans)...and the team, Ossie/Hutch/Chopper/Bonetti/Hudson/Webby etc was full of flair and guts and the old Chelsea unpredictability. When I think of my youth, I think of those times and the rose tinted specs we all wear means that will always be the best Chelsea era for me.

A close second is the '83-84 season. After several years watching the worst Chelsea teams in history, culminating in near relegation to the old 3rd division in '82-83, this was the season when we really could sing CHELSEA ARE BACK! As well as the games Palmerston mentioned, I also remember going up to Newcastle with 5,000 other Chelsea fans for what must have been our best ever support up there...and the Friday night match away to Man City which we won 2-0, and another massive Chelsea following. In the summer of 1983 I moved out of London to Gillingham...the 2 teams had never played each other before, yet the Gill's first home match of the season was a league cup match with Chelsea. I was one of those in the Gillingham end Palmerston!

Great days.

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That season was my first season of being able to go to games on a regular basis, just left school, new job, living at home with my mum and thus having some real cash for the first time and not much to do with it other than football, booze & birds - I wasted the rest!

I posted on the 'Favourite Games' thread that the Leeds 5-0 thrashing was one of my three favourites games - Being on the pitch at the end of the game, as I recall we spent a bit more money on seats in the East Stand just to be able to give it a cavalry charge at the end of the game. I think there were still high fences at the Shed End? Talking of cavalry charges I also recall being chased off the pitch by a few horses! - Nothing nasty was going on, I think.

Also recall the 'Quantum Leap' in quality of players we had that year as opposed to the previous season, wondering at the skill and trickery of Nevin, the pace, aerial ability and finishing of Kerry and wondering how did that 'little fella' Speedie seem able to jump so high and 'hang' in the air so long. Must also look up how many bookings/sendings off Speedie had, he seemed to me to get booked every game, if he wasn't rowing with the opposition he seemed to be rowing (verbally) with his team mates.

They are great memories, whether they are better than those today - who know's? For our age group maybe. For Kerry substitute Didier, for Wee Pat maybe Robben (not sure on that one myself though), for Colin Pates/Joe Mc substitute JT/Riccy. These will be the 'fond memories of the kids/teens (like my son) 20 odd years on. Thats one of the great things about football and being a supporter, there's a special period we remember for all sorts of different reasons each persons different from one another.

Anyway, enough nostalga and deep meaningful thoughts - we've got some Semi-Final's and a league to win this season - COME ON YOU BLUES!

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On the way home, a guy sitting in front of me on the train stuck his head out the window and was hit by an oncoming train - I nearly puked on the spot. It really upset me.

I was on the same train back to Three Bridges. I think it may have been a tunnel? Absolutely dreadful though.

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That particular season was one of my favourites ever too, along with the 1988/89 season when we got promoted back to Division 1 again.

in 1983/84 we started off with the 5-0 thrashing of Derby, who were meant to be one of the favourites to get promoted that season. In the end I think Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City got promoted as well as us as champions. I think what was so good about that season was the fact that we'd been able to buy players, so John Neal bought in the likes of Kerry Dixon, Pat Nevin, Nigel Spackman and Joe McLaughlin. Then later I think he bought Mickey T and Joey Jones. Unfortunately for me I remember I had to spend a bit of time in hospital during that season, I remember coming out when we'd drawn 3-3 with Cardiff after I'd been in there for about two weeks.

The other game that sticks out from that season was the 3-2 home win against Sheffield Wednesday. Both us and Wednesday were pretty much level on points at the top of the second division, we may have been second. I think the win put us top and we stayed there for pretty much the rest of the season. I still have the home shirt from that season, however, I must have been very slightly built as there is no way I could fit into it now. I also had the yellow away Le Coq Sportif shirt for about two weeks, but then it got hacked up in the washing machine, shame really.

Great days Palmerston!

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The BBC have done a "where are they now?" report in the build-up to the Blackburn semi-final, looking at the team which played Blackburn in the FA Cup in '84.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/fa_cup/6475529.stm

Nice one, mate. Tragic about Noel Brotherston - I didn't realise he was only 38 when he died.

They got one thing wrong though: John Neal doesn't live in Edinburgh, he lives in Wrexham, close to the Racecourse Ground.

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That particular season was one of my favourites ever too, along with the 1988/89 season when we got promoted back to Division 1 again.

in 1983/84 we started off with the 5-0 thrashing of Derby, who were meant to be one of the favourites to get promoted that season. In the end I think Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City got promoted as well as us as champions. I think what was so good about that season was the fact that we'd been able to buy players, so John Neal bought in the likes of Kerry Dixon, Pat Nevin, Nigel Spackman and Joe McLaughlin. Then later I think he bought Mickey T and Joey Jones. Unfortunately for me I remember I had to spend a bit of time in hospital during that season, I remember coming out when we'd drawn 3-3 with Cardiff after I'd been in there for about two weeks.

The other game that sticks out from that season was the 3-2 home win against Sheffield Wednesday. Both us and Wednesday were pretty much level on points at the top of the second division, we may have been second. I think the win put us top and we stayed there for pretty much the rest of the season. I still have the home shirt from that season, however, I must have been very slightly built as there is no way I could fit into it now. I also had the yellow away Le Coq Sportif shirt for about two weeks, but then it got hacked up in the washing machine, shame really.

Great days Palmerston!

This was my favorite season but I think a lot of it was to do with my age (feeling indestructable) & because I didn't miss a game. It was also the season when it felt like it was constantly sunny, wasn't of course just started & ended that way. What a lot of people forget is that Clive Walker started in the Derby game we won 5 - 0 & I remember thinking Clive is now going to be playing in a very good side & he will be a world beater. He then got injured & Huddersfield away appeared a certain wee Pat Nevin, the rest is history what a joy the little man was.

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