Leeds United last entertained Chelsea over nine years ago when Jermaine Pennant, on loan from Arsenal, weaved his way through the visitors' defence to score a goal which suggested genuine promise in a 1-1 draw. A festive fixture, Leeds were the Bob Cratchit to Chelsea's Duke Brothers from Trading Places. Roman Abramovich had granted Ranieri permission to do some kamikaze spending, all £111.25m of it while Leeds, whose mass player exodus was ongoing, had brought in Roque Júnior with the tuppence they could afford. Hard times.
Ahead of entertaining Chelsea in the Capital One Cup, it is apt the Whites' last Premier League game was against the Blues. It was also Ranieri's final match in charge at Stamford Bridge before some cocksure Portuguese arrived to replace him. Leeds, by that time, had been relegated. Marching on together but not going down together; James Milner, Paul Robinson, Alan Smith and Mark Viduka abandoned the sunken ship.
Chelsea regained their jaunty swagger under Mourinho, only whereas in the late 60s it was owed to the chic coolness of London life now they strutted clutching silverware. Leeds fans' resentment is arguably intensified by the financially-motivated success Chelsea have had, as they continue to reel from the financial ruin under Peter Ridsdale's chairmanship. They were purportedly the trailblazers but now they trailed.
There's also the Ken Bates factor. Those dissenting Leeds fans Bates labelled "morons" aired "I'd rather be a moron than a c**t" in September last year in their win at home to Bristol City. Bates' history with Chelsea, where he was the former chairman and owner until Abramovich parked his helicopter on the Stamford Bridge turf, fuels the animosity towards him, let alone his proposal in the 80s to erect an electric fence at the Blues' ground. Although Leeds fans might chirrup that was a good idea.
But money and Bates aside, the 1970 FA Cup final defines the clubs' hostility. The 1967 FA Cup semi-final had stoked the fires but at Wembley and Old Trafford the likes of Ron Harris, Billy Bremner, Eddie McCreadie, Norman Hunter, Jack Charlton and Charlie Cooke emptied a can of petrol on it.
Leeds, masterminded by Don Revie, were slight favourites having won their first Division One title the previous year and had just finished runners-up to recently crowned champions Everton. Chelsea meanwhile were resurgent under Dave Sexton and finished just two points behind their opponents in third and boasted the league's top scorer in the King of Stamford Bridge Peter Osgood.
Twice Chelsea came from behind in the Wembley final, with Colin Hutchinson's 86th minute leveller struck two minutes after Mick Jones had regained Leeds' lead. Thirty minutes of extra-time were unable to separate second from third and so for the first time since the year the Titanic sank in 1912 the FA Cup final would go to a replay.
Old Trafford was the setting for the "bloodbath". Football in the 70s, it seems, was so hard it tolerated attempts at decapitation, such as McCreadie's effort on Billy Bremner. It did not even merit a foul according to referee Eric Jennings as McCreadie, a Scotland international colleague of Bremner, checked on the wee man's well-being.
Despite northern advantage and the incentive of winning a trophy in their loathed nemesis's back yard, Leeds were beaten by Chelsea after another 120 minutes. Jones scored again but Osgood pounced 12 minutes from time to send the Chelsea fans in the Stretford End into raptures. Defender David Webb would go on to get the winner prior to the extra-time interval, but the club's first FA Cup win will be remembered more for the thuggery than the football. Thirty-five fouls were given against Chelsea and 11 against Leeds. It had to have been more than that.
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