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Arsenal and Chelsea – Their Common Foe (Part Five)

Continuing the seres in which the rivalry both clubs share with London neighbours Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs is examoned in depth).

Part one to four look at Arsenal v Spurs.

Part One can be found here; Part Two here; Part Three here, and Part Four here.

Now the attention switches from Arsenal to Chelsea.

The rivalry between Chelsea and Tottenham is more recent that that between the two North London neighbours, but, for all that, the passion, anger, and desire to win is just as fierce on both sides, and the enmity between the two groups of fans as intense.

Although there was always going to be a certain amount of friction between two clubs based in the same city, a number of distinct events in the past fifty years or so have helped exacerbate tensions.

The 1967 Cup Final

In 1967, the two rivals met in the FA Cup Fianl at Wembley. It was the first final to feature two London sides and became known as the Cockney Cup Fianl (even though neither club could claim to be located within the sound of Bow Bells).

It was a closely contested affair, which featured many individual stories, most notably, Jimmy Greaves, who had been a record breaking goal scorer for Chelsea but who now played for Spurs, and would go on to be come the highest scorer in their history.

Spurs took the lead through Jimmy Robertson ( a man who would later play for Arsenal as well)  five minutes before half-time, and then doubled their lead through Frank Saul midway through the second half. Bobby Tambling pulled a goal back, but Chelsea could not find the equaliser, and the Cup was headed to White Hart Lane.

However, there had been a lot of bad blood between the two sides leading up to the final itself, and relations were frosty from that point onwards.

The Relegation Battle

Eight years later, the two found themselves in a battle of a different sort, as they both strove to avoid relegation from the First Division as it was at the time.

In April 1975, they met in a vital match at White Har Lane, with Spurs beginning the match in the drop zone, and Chelsea one point above it. Spurs won by two gaols from Alfie Conn and Steve Perryman and ultimately escaped relegation at the expense of their rivals, but that is not why the match was remembered,

Expecting a crowd of just 30,000, police and organisers were surprised when more than double that turned up for the match.

More and more people were let into the already overcrowded away end, and people at the front were crushed against the barriers In a precursor to what would happen at Hillsborough 14 years later,

On this occasion, however, stewards and police intervened and those at the front were allowed to jump over the safety barriers and escorted to the other end of the ground.

Meanwhile, fans from both sides spilled onto the pitch and brutal fights ensued. A number of police were injured, several of them badly when they were struck in the head by “Kung-Fu” style stars.

Both sets of supporters were equally to blame, but it was Chelsea who acquired the unwanted hooligan reputation in the coming years.

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