It was on this day 72 years ago Chelsea entertained the glamorous Russian side Dynamo Moscow in a friendly.
To mark the anniversary, the fixture is the latest subject of our feature where we look back on memorable matches in our history through a selection of images, plus on this occasion, a special video from Chelsea TV above…
CHELSEA V DYNAMO MOSCOW, 13 NOVEMBER 1945, FRIENDLY, STAMFORD BRIDGE
The Second World War had put an end to domestic action, in its usual format, since 1939, but with the conflict by now over, and normality gradually returning, the authorities announced the Soviet Union’s strongest side would embark upon a tour of Britain, and the Blues were to be their first opponents.
By this time, the British public’s appetite for the game, and any form of entertainment, was absolutely huge. The fixture may have been a friendly, but it meant far more than that to people who had been through a harrowing time, reflected in the fact that over 100,000 supporters descended on Stamford Bridge.
Make no mistake, this was the hottest ticket in town!
Prior to kick off, the Chelsea players were presented with bouquets of flowers from their visiting opponents, and both teams were then introduced to British Labour politician Albert Victor Alexander [pictured below].
The Russians started the game strongly and dominated the opening 20 minutes, but it was the Blues, whose team included new signing Tommy Lawton [pictured below], leading 2-0 at half-time courtesy of goals by Len Goulden and Reg Williams.
The image below emphasises just how far supporters were prepared to go to in order to catch a glimpse of the action, with huge numbers perched dangerously on the Stamford Bridge roof and even larger numbers stood on the greyhound track surrounding the pitch.
Almost 75,000 fans had paid to get in, but thousands more made their way into the stadium by any means necessary.
There was certainly no shortage of entertainment on offer for the thousands in attendance, with Dynamo Moscow scoring twice in four minutes to draw level in the second half.
In the below image, Dynamo goalkeeper Alexei ‘Tiger’ Khomich thwarts the Blues with an impressive save.
Two more goals followed, one for each side, as Lawton restored our lead with a fine header, before Dynamo equalised once again through their captain Bobrov, who was clearly in an offside position when he made it 3-3.
On a historic day, however, the final outcome wasn’t so crucial. Six goals had been shared but, far more importantly, football had returned.
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