This week it’s the turn of issue 8 of the Chelsea Independent Supporters Association’s Chelsea Independent. Issue 8 was published in September 1988. Chelsea has just been relegated and were truly the “Boys in Blue Division 2”. For me 1988/89, until the last two Champion’s seasons, was my most enjoyable time following the Blues home and away.

What’s in it?

In his editorial, Mick Allpress summed up the close season’s player activity. Bobby Campbell was in charge and after a call from some supporters to make Steve Wicks captain he was promptly sold to Spurs. Tony Dorigo had also sought a transfer but hadn’t left. Players already lost due to relegation were Pat Nevin and Roy Wegerle. Sadly Chelsea also lost Eddie “Ned” to injury. Coming into the squad was Peter Nicholas, Grahame Roberts and Kevin Hitchcock.

Pat Nevin… PAT NEVIN! Pat Nevin had two pages dedicated to him in this issue. Mick Allpress remembers a New Years Day fixture versus Forest where Nevin’s class and brilliance illuminated a dreary game as he set Micky Thomas up to score the only game of the game via a header. Pete Collins remembers Pat at Fulham in a Milk Cup replay. One of Pete’s memories was the sight of Pat juggling before the game which simply left every Chelsea fan at the game transfixed.

The Celery Patch contained reaction to an article in issue six that mentioned the religious issue in Scotland. Harry the Hun from Ayrshire ends his letter by saying “If you defeat racism Chelsea, we’ll defeat sectarianism at Ibrox.” I can’t speak for any developments on the sectarianism in Scotland but things have definitely changed at the Bridge somewhat since this letter was published.

A great spot from R Pigdon of Ewell who, whilst reading an article about Kevin Hitchcock in the programme versus Liverpool noticed that “Hitchy” said that when Chelsea played away he always roomed with Mickey Hazard. The fixtures played since Kevin joined were Southampton, Watford, Arsenal and Derby at home and just Wimbeldon away!

On the Cards is Bill McComishs’ view on the proposed Membership Scheme which meant if you want to watch football in the future you have to have a membership card. This was a result of the trouble at Luton versus Millwall, Chelsea versus Sunderland and of course the trouble versus Middlesbrough at the end of last seasons play off final. Bill states just how hard this would be to implement. Bill spoke to a police officer during the end of season match with Charlton. The police officer revealed just how hard it would be to arrest all of the fans fighting. Just escorting them back to the station would have meant too few officers to prevent any further altercations. The idea of the card being that you would forfeit it if arrested. Another problem with the card for Chelsea supporters would be that Ken Bates would probably take this opportunity to charge more for Chelsea membership on top of what is already the highest priced in the UK.

Mick Allpress’s feature titled Abcess Makes the Heart Grow Fonder talks about how Chelsea still managed to perform badly against Middlesbrough and Charlton without the usual scapegoat, Darren Wood.

My favourite part of the fanzine was always the yearly End of Season Awards. Issue 8 contained the first end of season awards held by the CISA.

Player of the season went to Tony Dorigo. Runner up was Steve Clarke.
Goalkeeper of the season was (tongue in cheek) Kevin Hitchcock.
Goal of the season. Pat Nevin versus Coventry at Highfield Road.
Chelsea player set for great things went to Gordon Durie and Pat Nevin. Joint second went to three contenders. Gareth Hall, Colin West and Tony Dorigo.
Worst tackle went to Grahame Souness of Glasgow Rangers versus Steau Bucharest. Runner up was Paul Miller for Charlton. Ken Bates got two votes as well.
Silliest Haircut went to Gareth Hall. Some others in contention included Hazard’s microphone look, Kevin Wilson’s tache and the entire ‘Boro team.
Best and worst management decisions. The two best decisions were Hollins leaving and were they any? Worst decisions were Hollins not leaving earlier and not playing Nevin and Hazard against Man Utd.
Highest and lowest points of the season. Joint first was Derby in the cup and 3 – 0 against Oxford. Joint second higest points were Hollins leaving and the first 35 mins of the season. There were three winners for the low points of the season. Oxford in the cup, West Ham in away and Man Utd in the cup.
Best and worst opponents. Forest were the best opponents and Portsmouth the worst. (Arsenal were the third worst!)

In an article named From 1956 to Eternity Roger Barnes looks back at the remarkable season that was 1987/88. Unfortunately for all of the wrong reasons. Relegation by virtue of losing to Middlesbrough in the play-offs. Roger remembers the embarrassment of seeing the likes of Bernie Slaven and Trevor Senior run rings around Chelsea’s First Division defence. However there was another shocking performance which was that of the police during the pitch invasion afterwards.

This issue’s Lowest Appearance Maker was Thomas J Baxter. Thomas made just one appearance against Burnley on September 27 1919 in front of 40,000 people. (Our very own Grahame Fendle being one of them).

Another Masochist Lashes Himself is a collection of memorable matches. My favourite recollection form the article is the Chelsea versus Fulham game during the 1982/83 season. The author recalls Joey Jones making the games only positive run. “A thirty yard dash to flatten Gordon Davies”. The author continues to state that “Mickey Droy failed to kick the ball at least twice yet achieved unfailing accuracy when it came to kicking Fulham”.

Pete Collins talks about the Boro playoff off field antics in RIOT? Where? A “journalist” named Patrick Collins is described as mentally informed for his out of date comments that trouble at football comes largely from the terraces. Remember this is 1988 and anyone who went to football regularly knew that violence had spread into the seats long ago.

Eddie Eddie Eddie is Nick Browns tribute to Eddie Niedzwiecki after his retirement.

Eddie was my favourite ‘keeper as I’m not of an age to have seen Bonetti ply his trade and who can forget Eddie encouraging the Shed End during the Boro game?

Eddie career record with Chelsea was,

League: 136,
FA Cup: 8,
League Cup: 25
Full Members Cup: 6.

That’s it for this week. Let me know what you think. [Peter Sampson]

Just to finish…

Last Weeks Questions and Answers.

  • Leyton Orienteer – Leyton Orient
  • City Gent – Bradford City
  • The Pie – Notts County
  • Terrace Talk – York City
  • Tired and Weary – Birmingham City
  • Not the View – Celtic
  • Fingerpost – WBA
  • Kick up the Rs – QPR
  • The Web – Queens Park
  • Eagle Eye – Crystal Palace
  • AWOL – Meadowbank

What was the attendance at the Boxing Day 1976 match, and what was so significant about it? 55,003 – the last time Chelsea had over 55,000 at the Bridge.

Who was innocent on QPR’s pitch in 1981? Perry Buckland

Who missed penalties in consecutive matches against Portsmouth and Brighton in 1986? Kerry Dixon. (Sorry Kerry!)

On Christmas Day 1957 who did Chelsea play and what was the score? 7-4 versus Portsmouth.

One of Chelsea’s greatest forwards made his debut on Boxing Day 1980 who was he? Alan Mayes