Thursday, March 15, 2012

Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (Old Uefa Cup) 1965 1966 Milan Ac Chelsea

2nd March 1966
Milan, San Siro
Fairs Cup Round 3 (Playoff)
Attendance: 40,000
Referee: H Baumgartner

  Without doubt, Chelsea were regarded as London's most glamorous football club in the bigining of the 1965-66 season, on the verge of realising that potential foreseen by Gus Mears and Frederick Parker in those long ago Edwardian days. Disappointingly, the team was never seriously in contention for the League championship, Liverpool maintaining a formidable lead from Christmas onwards, and a final sixth place was considered less than satisfactory. To prevent fixture congestion Chelsea made the decision not to defend their Football League Cup in view of qualification for European competition. 

The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup was now more prestigious, and more highly organised, than when the Blues made an earlier brief appearance in 1958-59, with AC Milan, Barcelona, Standard Liege and Sporting Lisbon this time among the entrants. And immediately it caught the imagination and attracted large crowds. With 36,000 terrace spaces available at tour shillings (aop) and top-priced seats 15 shillings (75p), Chelsea's five home fixtures in that competition managed to bank over £100,000. AS Roma provided the first opposition, a 1-1 victory in the first leg at Stamford Bridge virtually deciding the outcome, this game including the sending off of Eddie McCreadie. Seeming not to be particularly significant at the time, the repercussions in Home a fortnight later were horrendous. Bottles, aimed at Chelsea players, were thrown on to the pitch, one of them hitting John Boyle, and after somehow holding out for a goalless draw their retreat to the airport was marked by further outbreaks of violence with the team coach, the primary target, suffering considerable damage.

After Wiener Sport-Club, from Austria, had been beaten in the second round, AC Milan were Chelsea's next opponents, a stunning goal from Osgood at The Bridge enabling the tie to be squared at 3-3, both teams winning their home fixtures, 2-1. With such unwanted intrusions as penalty shoot-outs unheard of in those days, it was back to the San Siro Stadium for the third instalment, skipper Ron Harris losing the toss for the right to stage the match. But 'Chopper' was never one to accept defeat lightly, and when an epic play-off, ending in deadlock at l-l, had still failed to separate the teams, Harris once more found himself in the guessing business. This time his correct call of'heads' may have provided an unworthy conclusion to a memorable five and a half hour contest, but at least most neutral observers made Chelsea winners on merit. Docherty's team were fast learners and rapidly becoming 'streetwise'.

TSV Munchen proved less of an obstacle, a 3-2 aggregate win providing a passport into the semifinal and a meeting with mighty CF Barcelona. Despite so much solid achievement and so much progress within the dub, rifts were beginning to appear between manager and certain players. Ven-ables had masterminded his own tactical plan for the team in Rome six months earlier, successfully using Marvin H in ton as 'sweeper' to protect Chelsea's three-goal lead, with Docherty completely unaware of such scheming behind his back. McCreadie had become disillusioned and was openly expressing his dissatisfaction, and Bridges, also, was none too happy after returning from England's close-season tour to find his club place in jeopardy. A two-goal deficit from the first semi-final leg in Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium was cancelled by a similar score in Chelsea's favour at The Bridge, both goals being attributed to Spanish defenders. 

 But, after again failing to guess correctly in the toss for choice of venue, the third chapter ended decisively 5-0 in Barcelona's favour. McCreadie, Venables and Bridges were, significantly, among the absentees. A month earlier Chelsea's FA Cup aspirations had again been halted in a Villa Park semi-final, 'underdogs' Sheffield Wednesday cantering home to a win, considerably easier than the score suggested. After the final whistle Docherty, unable to hide his feelings, was clearly furious. Chelsea's best team up to that time and, collectively, still some way short of their peak, was about to be broken up. Venables was transferred to Spurs, Britlges and Murray to Birmingham City, and George Graham departed to Arsenal. The dissatisfaction of others was, in some cases, temporarily hidden beneath the fallen masonry. Even so, the damage which such wanton destruction caused was never wholly to be restored.

Fortunato 90 BJ.Bridges 13

A.C. Milan 
Balzarini, Pelagalli, Trebbi, Santin, Maldini, Grossetti, Lodetti, Madde, Sormani, Amarildo, Fortunato
PP.Bonetti, RE.Harris, E.McCreadie, JW.Hollins, M.Hinton, J.Boyle, BJ.Bridges, G.Graham, P.Osgood, AG.Murray, RV.Tambling

Milan 1965 1965 Great Link

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