Two Great Clubs .... 110 Years on........








Well....a whole lot can happen in 110 years.......
On 2 September 1905 Stockport County and Chelsea FC met at Edgeley Park. For County it was their first game back in the Football League whilst for our visitors it was their first ever game in the League.



 
County 1905 , from `Pictorial History` by Phil Brennan & Richard Harnwell
History records the facts of the day`s events as a 1-0 win for County , whilst accounts of the day tend to vary a tad.....
Peter Freeman & Richard Harnwell's  excellent `Stockport County- A Complete Record' briefly records...
` County`s first game back in the Second Division was against another elected club, Chelsea. New to the league, Chelsea might have been ,but they were `well known throughout the kingdom.' The Cheshire Daily Echo explained ` Chelsea`s life has been started on such a big scale  that it has attracted the attention of all interested in the doings of big clubs. Between £20000 and £30000 has been spent on ground and team before a match was played'.
Considering County`s very humble beginnings and lack of financial resource, the game was very much a David and Goliath affair, and the contest was played out before 7000  spectators who saw David triumph with a goal by Bob Manson who was ` enthusiastically hugged for his achievement'.
Other newspaper accounts of the time speak of ...
` County kicking off  against a strong wind..... Heywood and Hall doing well for County.......Miller testing County keeper Pemble with a long shot.....Cresser grazing the bar from a clearance by 22 stone Chelsea keeper Foulkes.....Foulkes saving a penalty'
0-0 at the break became 1-0 to County when Bob Manson fired home .
So....it has taken 110 years  ...but yesterday the two famous Clubs made contact again  with the visit of 4 Chelsea people to Edgeley Park.



County were delighted to receive  Mark Goddard, Keith Gaunt, David Kostis and Leonard ` Ledgey' Nodaros who had made the trip north in a determined effort to mark the anniversary of their Clubs first FL game.
County Historians Ian Lancashire and Des Hinks , along with Club Secretary Mark Lockyear, were on hand to show the lads around, and much excellent banter ensued and despite the distance now between our Clubs in the Pyramid,  much common ground was established between the two sets of supporters.
Scratch a football fan and they bleed of course....but in the case of County and Chelsea that blood runs blue, the colour both Clubs still hold dear. It was  interesting to hear that ,in the eighties, at the same time that County were desperately trying to keep alive and fend off the tax man, Chelsea were fighting to stay in the Second Division at Burnden Park- both Clubs survived these troubles.
Leonard Nodaris was adamant however that the Chelsea account of the 1905 encounter was the correct one, and his account spoke of ` Foulkes throwing the ball out....the ball hitting a divot.....then hitting McEwan....who pushed it into the net'. Ledgey's interest extended to finding that divot and we are happy to provide  some albeit inconclusive evidence he unearthed yesterday.......
A Divot....possibly not THE divot !

The Chelsea lads were in their element.....a trip to the dressing rooms......




the Board Room......



photos in the Danny Bergara Stand......





under the roof of the Cheadle End.......



and a re-work of the famous  Chelsea team pic of 1905( header pic) in front of the Railway End.....



It was great stuff and such a shame that eventually we had to bid the Chelsea lads farewell as they set off home.
It has taken 110 years for the 2 great Clubs  to make contact.....how wonderful would it be to mark the 110 year gap with another game between teams from Chelsea and County? It would be simply marvellous!
Is a friendly a possibility....possibly....possibly not, but why not? We could of course wait until we draw Chelsea in the FA Cup , but I am sure that Jose would rather fancy a trip north to see us before then.
How about it Jose!

Ian Brown  

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