The Shot That Saved Chelsea

It was the 80’s. Hooliganism was running wild all over England. The Blues of Chelsea were having a horrible season. After a hopeful start in the Second Division, their winless streak would leave Chelsea sitting close to the bottom of the table. It seemed they were destined for relegation to the Third Division, which would spell out disaster to CFC, who were having some financial difficulties making ends meet at Stamford Bridge. The possibility of losing their home at Stamford Bridge, or having to share a football ground with another club was looming over their head. New owner Ken Bates had bought the club for one pound, but inherited the mound of debt and property problems (among other things) that came along with the Blues. Eventual hero Clive Walker was also having a less than stellar season, as he didn’t score until December. He picked a great time to score though, against league leaders QPR. This goal should have been uplifting for CFC, their supporters and their attitude, but it wasn’t. No matter how appropriate the goal was, it couldn’t fix the broken spirit of the squad. Manager John Neal (who would go on to turn CFC around the following year and help get them promoted to the first division) had brought in winger Paul Canoville, who was talented to help, but still didn’t help the morale of the players. The worst season in Chelsea history got much worse, and no matter who the manager brought in, it seemed like it made no difference. Chelsea were candidates for relegation.

With two matches left, the reality of relegation came into light. Chelsea would go to Burnden Park to face Bolton in the penultimate game of the season. The Wanderers were another club struggling to stay up in the Second Division, so this was by far, the most important match not only of the season, but in the history of CFC. As I stated previously, a tumble down to the Third Division would have proven the final nail in the coffin for Chelsea, who couldn’t get bodies into seats this season in the Second Division, let alone be able to draw supporters if they went down. Another snoozer of a match for the most part, and this nil nil draw would definitely ensure Chelsea’s demise. With 15 mintes to go, Clive Walker stepped up big time. Walker’s long range volley flew past Bolton keeper Jim McDonagh, and Chelsea got the victory 1-nil. They held on in their last match of the season and were saved from relegation to the lowly Third Division. Walker’s goal is, with no question, the single most important goal in Chelsea history, and the shot that saved Chelsea Football Club.


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