A friend Paul Shurvill sent me some photographs and programmes to sign and while doing so I took a look through the Wembley programme, which I wouldn’t have been able to do before 15 December 1997 and came across on centre-page THE LEADING SOCCER WRITERS…HAVE THE FINAL WORD.Brian James (Daily Mail): The single mindedness of CHELSEA’S play in the Cup makes me believe LEEDS will have to take this season’s trophies from elsewhere.Geoffrey Green (The Times): Whatever my secret heart may say, my head says CHELSEA 2-1, I wrote on the morning of the Third Round draw – January 3; “This will be Chelsea’s year.”Desmond Hackett (Daily Express): It has to be CHELSEA. This is neither sentimental nor southern wishful thinking. On their peak, they look unbeatable.Ken Jones (Daily Mirror): LEEDS may have the edge because they have been in the business of big matches a little bit longer. Frank McGhee (Sunday Mirror): Because LEEDS have such immense resources of individual talent, maturity and experience, I take them to win.Maurice Smith (The People): CHELSEA flair or LEEDS UNITED expertise? I plump for CHELSEA flair – by 2-0. Hugh McILvaney (The Observer): To oppose LEEDS UNITED is as quixotic as betting the Indians in a Western, but CHELSEA justify the impertinence. To be plainer, it is time they won something and they are good enough to win today. Peter Batt (The Sun): Both teams play to a style that is as modern as tomorrow. LEEDS “arrived” first but I fancy newly emerged CHELSEA.Bernard Joy (Evening Standard): LEEDS will be attacking – and making it easier for CHELSEA, the masters of the counter-attack, to beat them.Vic Railton (Evening News): It’s the CHELSEA chasers to take the FA Cup. They have the pace and ability to beat the best in the land.Donald Saunders (Daily Telegraph): I take LEEDS UNITED, a team in every sense of the word, to win a very close battle.
They are sounder than Chelsea in defence.Laurie Pignon (Daily Sketch): CHELSEA who have never won the FA Cup now have the appetite and I think it will drive them to victory.Frank Butler (News of the World): Chelsea are the surprise packet of 1970. But LEEDS so professional and such able students of master-tactician Don Revie, are my tip.Alan Hoby (Sunday Express): If CHELSEA can master the murderous Wembley tension, I take the second-half flair and fitness of their talented attack to bring them the cup. Albert Barham (The Guardian): It’s about time the FA Cup came South and CHELSEA have the dynamic drive and skill to do it. Yes, it will be CHELSEA’S day.Graham Taylor (Sporting Life): How can you oppose Leeds? But it may take time but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the first ever DRAW after extra-time at Wembley: Score? 1-1.Graham Taylor of the newspaper I once worked for under Tom Clarke won the King of the Journalists trophy with his tremendous prediction, although he got the score wrong but being from a gambling newspaper if he was betting a draw I think he would have bet both 1-1 and 2-2? When you look back and read their opinions they based them on thinking that I was playing but after that serious chronic ankle injury I missed the FA Cup, the replay and the Mexico World Cup which led to a three -year ban by Ramsey for needing to rest my ankle the season afterward – that’s why they call it FA. INTERESTING?Chelsea’s very own Albert Sewell wrote inside: It was nearly Christmas before Dave Sexton had a full pool of first team players to draw from, but those casualty clouds had a silver lining.
On the eve of the season, with so many good players in front of him, there seemed little chance of an early breakthrough for Alan Hudson, just eighteen. Then came the injuries. By late August Hudson was in, and there to stay. A new star was born, but without that long queue in the treatment room he might have still been a reserve. Also Charlie Cooke had a word to say about the final against Spurs: “I look back on that 1967 FA Cup final with large regret. Apart from losing, the greatest disappointment was that we played way below our best form. Somehow it would have been so much easier to take if we had one down playing some great stuff.” WHO’S WHO FOR CHELSEAALAN HUDSON: If Chelsea claim him as the “discovery of the season”, would anyone argue? Last seasons’s youth team captain at Stamford Bridge, he kicked off in August in Chelsea’s reserves, jumped into their First Division side during an injury crisis and played so commanding in midfield that the Number 8 shirt was his for keeps. Then, after 29 senior matches, he was named by Alf Ramsey for the England Under 23 team against Scotland at Sunderland last month. All this and now an FA Cup final, too, for a starlet not yet 19. Signed professional in July 1968 after two years as apprentice. Born in Chelsea: 5ft 10in: 12st 11lb.