Historic Chelsea vs Madrid tie saw fans sleep rough and team enjoy pool party
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Back in 1971, Chelsea and Real Madrid met twice in the space of 48 hours to decide the fate of the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
The first match in Athens ended 1-1, which meant the two clubs were forced to reconvene two days later for the replay.
48 hours is a long time in football, and in between the two ties, Chelsea’s team and fans had a remarkable story to tell.
Chelsea’s players, based at the Hilton in Athens, were making the most of the hotel’s poolside facilities – most notably the bar.
Legendary forward Peter Osgood supped on beers and cocktails, while Alan Hudson reported some of the team were “off their heads.”
Not ideal preparations for a European cup final, especially after manager Dave Sexton had earlier told his team to rest up.
But this was the 1970s, and Chelsea’s boozing didn’t stop them lifting the trophy with a 2-1 win over Madrid just a day later.
In an interview with Football.London, Hudson recalls telling Osgood to mind his beer as the striker, Charlie Cooke and Tommy Baldwin set about drinking the hotel dry.
“There were more bottles of booze there than any other table in Athens,” Hudson says.
“I went to a flea market to try and walk off a dead leg and when I got a taxi back they were by the pool already celebrating.
“I said to Osgood: ‘We’ll celebrate tomorrow when we’ve won it, not now.’
“And all he said to me was: “Go home, get some rest because you’re going to have to do all of my running tomorrow.” Then he scored again. So much for preparation.”
The hastily arranged nature of the replay left everyone associated with Chelsea in the lurch, not least the supporters.
Around 4,000 to 5,000 fans travelled to Athens for the initial meeting, the majority on chartered packages, which meant their stay could not be extended for the rearranged match.
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Some slept on benches to watch Chelsea make history, while Blues players held a whip round to help rebook flights home for those who chose to stay in Greece.
“We had a collection to help lads out,” Paddy Mulligan revealed. “They didn’t have the money to go back and we wanted to look after them. That’s what it is all about.”
In the end, those who remained were rewarded for their loyalty, with goals from Osgood and John Dempsey securing the Cup Winners’ Cup in a tense replay.
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