Chelsea v Wolves 1982

Programme of the Week – Chelsea vs Wolverhampton Wanderers 1982

This is the latest in a series about football programmes from my collection, that relate to a game being played in the next few days.

Chelsea vs Wolves 2019 / 2020

There has never been a season like this, and it all comes to a head for the Premier League, tomorrow, on Sunday July 26th. Chelsea sit fourth in the Premier League, in the final automatic Champions League qualification place. They are fighting to retain that spot against third place Manchester United and fifth placed Leicester City.

Handily for Chelsea, their two opponents meet on the final day at the Crisp Packet Stadium, meaning Chelsea need only a point against Wolves to secure qualification.

Wolverhampton Wanderers are sixth, three points behind Leicester City, but with a vastly inferior goal difference. For them, the challenge is to match or better the Tottenham Hotspur result at Crystal Palace (so that means a thumping win then!!) to stay in the automatic Europa League qualification placings.

Ironically, if Wolves lose, then Chelsea winning the FA Cup would also see them in Europe next season!

However, they will also be hoping to progress beyond this season’s Europa League Quarter Finals and get Champions League qualification by winning the tournament. Without doubt, there will be a lot to play for on the final Sunday of the season.

Chelsea vs Wolverhampton Wanderers 1982

It wasn’t always this good! Back in the 1982 / 1983 season European football would have seemed a very distant dream for both clubs!

This is each club’s second game of the new season. Wolves have just been relegated from the old Division One. They finished second bottom and came down with Middlesbrough who were bottom and Leeds United. Having conceded 63 goals that season, relegation was probably inevitable.

Chelsea’s previous season was bang average. They finished 12th out of 22. They were 13 points off relegation and 14 points off promotion. A 6-0 defeat at Rotherham United was probably the low point of the previous season. A 3-4 win at Charlton Athletic was probably one of the better days out!

At this point in time, Chelsea are managed by one of Wrexham’s finest – John Neal and the club is owned by the controversial Ken Bates.

Wolves are managed by newly appointed Graham Hawkins – recently arrived from Shrewsbury Town. The club is now owned by the equally controversial Bhatti Brothers, with Derek Dougan as their front man.

Chelsea vs Wolverhampton Wanderers 1982 – Match Programme

This season, Chelsea offer us an A5 sized programme costing £0.50p. It has 24 pages.

The cover is blue with an angled yellow block at the top, giving the match details. The cover image is of a supporter, arms raised, but apparently blinded either by the sun or the floodlights!

The inside cover carries a welcome message from Mr Bates. Interesting comments as we look back from the current time where the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has real traction and football is playing its part in the, hopefully, total eradication of racism in our game and in our lives.

Mr Bates says: “A word to our National Front “friends”. At the present time an overwhelming majority of our supporters have no racial prejudice and do not agree with your outlook. Paul Canoville is here to stay, and we have four promising coloured players in our junior ranks. If you feel that you no longer wish to support Chelsea, please go to the office after the match, surrender your Season Ticket and we will refund your money. You may wish to follow soccer at WHITE Hart Lane or even emigrate to the Isle of WIGHT”

Chelsea vs Wolverhampton Wanderers 1982 – The Teams

On page three we return to football and the team line ups are displayed. Micky Droy, quite literally stands out in the Chelsea defence and new signing Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson takes the number seven shirt. Winger Clive Walker was a youthful 25 at this point – with another 19 years to go in his football career.

In my view this was not a strong Wolves team. A front three of stalwart Mel Eves; ‘sniffer’ the younger, Wayne Clarke and the injured Andy Gray, often had to score more than the defence conceded. A final total of 68 goals scored and 44 conceded tells the tale.

Later, we’ll look at two of the standout individuals also playing that day.

Chelsea vs Wolverhampton Wanderers 1982 – The rest of the programme

Admirably, the programme is not stuffed with adverts. I’d like to think that this is to provide the reader with maximum football content as opposed to a rubbish commercial department.

Page five features the Manager John Neal and his welcome back for the new season message. Pages six and seven are given over to the opposition with pictures of recent arrivals Joe Gallagher and John Burridge.

Page eight features letters from supporters, including several looking for hard to get match day programmes. On page nine Scott Cheshire starts a season long feature on Chelsea’s top 21 appearance makers of all time, kicking off with Ron Harris (795).

Blues’ statistics 1982-83 is the feature of pages 10 and 11 – tidying up last season’s appearances and goals, this season’s fixtures and seat prices.  Just £5.75 for a seat Upper Tier Front and Centre is the East Stand!

The centre pages comprise ‘Chelsea Chat’. Photos of new signings Pop Robson from West Ham United and David Speedie from Darlington. Following this is a great two page feature about Club Secretary Sheila Marson – Chelsea’s Girl at the Top! An ‘internal’ advert for Brian Mears’ new Chelsea book and news of Commercial Activities adorn pages sixteen and seventeen.

Black and white action photos from the Family Day match Blues vs Whites cover the next two pages. Terrace Talk, a new feature written by the fans comprises page twenty with a crossword and supporters club travel news opposite. The obligatory squad photo is on page 22 and details of the playing staff are opposite on the inside back cover.

The back cover is an advert for Kirby’s Coaches.

Chelsea vs Wolverhampton Wanderers 1982 – The Programme, Summary

I think this is a great programme for the fan. Firstly, it’s a practical size. 24 pages is more than enough to make it easily read cover to cover. Some of today’s 100 page plus offerings are more like a holiday novel! As mentioned, the content is almost all about the club or the game and adverts are minimal. The design is eye-catching and the mixture of colour and black and white is also easy on the eye.

Chelsea vs Wolverhampton Wanderers 1982 – The Main Men

Colin Lee

These two would have seen a lot of each other during the game! At centre forward for Chelsea is Colin Lee. Colin had joined Chelsea from Spurs for £200,000 and was close to his 100th appearance for the Blues.

He had reached double figures for goals scored in the two previous seasons, but this season he only found the net 5 times in 35 league appearances. He would make 223 appearances overall for the club, before moving on to Brentford in 1987.

In 1995, as Assistant Manager to Mark McGee, Colin joined Wolves from Leicester City. He took over as Manager in 1998 when McGee was sacked and finally left himself in 2000. An extremely talented coach and man-manager, Colin was very popular with the players. He was responsible for the emergence of Robbie Keane and scouted and signed Ludovic Pollet, the French centre half who still holds a special place in the hearts of the Molineux faithful.

In a recent interview on the excellent Wolf Whistle Podcast, Lee confirmed the two happiest spells of his career were at the Bridge and at Molineux where he considered the two sets of supporters to be the best in the game.

John Burridge

What can you say about Budgie? The man who used to run out to warm up in his Superman costume and played in it against Newcastle United! Well the first thing to say is that he was a fabulous keeper! His playing career spanned nearly 30 years and he won the Anglo Italian Cup (Blackpool), The League Cup (Aston Villa), Two promotions to the top division (Crystal Palace and Wolves) and the Scottish League Cup (Hibernian).

After joining from Queens Park Rangers, Budgie made 81 appearances for Wolves across his two seasons at the club. He enjoyed the highs of a promotion and the lows of a relegation the season after. The arrival at Molineux of the up and coming Paul Bradshaw was him move away to Sheffield United for the 84/85 season.

Chelsea vs Wolverhampton Wanderers 1982 – The Outcome

It doesn’t sound like a thriller! In front of 14,192, the two sides played out a 0-0 draw. From then on, they went in opposite directions across the rest of the season. Wolves punched well above their weight and gained promotion back to Division One as runners up to Queens Park Rangers. suggests that this was Chelsea’s worst ever season! Attendances dropped to the 6,000 mark and Chelsea finished 18th of 22, only securing Division Two survival on the last day of the season. They ended up with 47 points, just two above relegated Rotherham United.


It’s an entirely different scenario on Sunday and as is customary in these articles I wish both sides the best of luck in the encounter. (Just wish the Wolves a little bit more luck! 😊)