CHELSEA – THE MISSING LINK (1979-80)
On December 29th we travelled to Wrexham for Chelsea’s last game of the nineteen-seventies. We lost 2-0, the game stands out because of our eccentric keeper Petar Barota. I have already applauded him for his brilliance at West Ham. In this game he was well positioned for a shot by a Wrexham forward. The ball was going straight at Barota when he decided to dive ! – out of the way of the ball ! When he got up he actually seemed surprised that the ball was in the back of the net. Exactly what he was thinking when he dived we will never know, but it remains one of the most comical goal-keeping errors I have seen.
Our first game of the eighties was away to Luton on New Years Day, we drew 3-3 after an entertaining game. We filled the ground despite the early 11.00 kick-off, most of our supporters came direct from New Year Eve parties. When Micky Fillery put us 1-0 up he became the first player anywhere in the world to score a goal in the 1980’s. There were a few other games that morning but they were all 11.15 kick-offs, and Fillery scored after 7 minutes when parts of this planet were still in the 1970’s.
Then we met Newcastle at home and produced our performance of the season; winning 4-0 in style. Two days after this we played Wigan in the 3rd round of the cup, the original game having been postponed. We were on cloud nine and envisaged a hat full of goals against this team from the bottom league. We lost 1-0, the worst ever result in Chelsea’s cup history.