on 5 March 2008
This book actually starts in the late seventies, which makes it an even more enjoyable trawl through yesteryear than its title would otherwise suggest. The rather desperate and certainly dismal end of the seventies for Chelsea Football Club help place the early eighties years into a suitably depressing context of hooliganism, racism, low crowds and pitiful defeats (six nil and four nil to Rotherham in the same catastrophic season are a good, though by no means isolated, example of the woes inflicted on Chelsea fans at the time).
This book will be rewarding reading for those that, despite the often awful football, enjoyed the period as well as required reading for any newer fan who has only been introduced to the sanitised version of football post Italia 90, Gazza, Hillsbrough, Fever Pitch and Sky TV saturation. For those that were there at the time it is an incredibly accurate and honest portrayal of a bygone era; one that probably only those who were present during the time can look back on with any genuine affection. For others it is a valuable piece of history when football was tribal, frowned upon and gereally downright rubbish in terms of both spectacle and facilities. For new Chelsea fans used to padded seats, a rich owner's largesse and winning trophies it is a useful reminder that it wasn't always so.
The story of a turbulent decade incorporating near bankruptcy through to hope again is told with real feeling and humour by someone who was clearly there throughout, with many insights and contrinbutions from other well respected fans. This book is highly recommended and is the definitive no gloss guide to an important period in the club's history.