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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Stamford Bridge

Leeds' wait for 1970 revenge goes on - after a much less violent version of famous old battle

The legend that is Ron 'Chopper' Harris (Pic: YTJourno)

FA CUP 5th Round: Chelsea 3-2 Leeds United

And so another chapter is written in the annals of Chelsea v Leeds.

For the many visiting fans packing the old Shed End, the outcome this time was far less painful than the one from nearly 54 years ago. This was only a fifth round tie, not a final.

They cheered their team proudly at the end but the 3-2 loss - the result of Conor Gallagher's last minute winner - will feel bitter just the same as they head back north.

The fact they were easily the better side throughout the second half will perhaps be a small consolation. Getting out of the Championship remains their chief goal.

The long wait to make amends for that famous old contest of yore goes on and the men from Elland Road have now failed to beat the Blues in nine FA Cup encounters spanning the decades.

It m ight be an over-simplification to say the deep-rooted enmity between these two sides -and their fans - is based on just a couple of matches, but the duo of contests between the teams in the 1970 FA Cup Final clearly has a lot to answer for.

Those brought up in the Premier League era are aghast at just how violent and anarchic the football was when these two met then, first on the pudding of a pitch at Wembley, then in the replay at Old Trafford two weeks later.

Modern interpretations of the law would have seen multiple sending-offs and penalty awards.

The Yorkshire outfit acquired the moniker of Dirty Leeds for their no-nonsense approach, while Chelsea were somehow granted immunity and seen as the suave darlings of the King's Road.

In truth, they were equally as brutal, with Ron Harris and David Webb hardly shrinking violets for Dave Sexton's team against Billy Bremner and Jack Charlton.

The bad blood was already in place after a fractious and controversial semi-final in 1967, but 1970 seems to have cemented it forever.

That season, the sides met six times. There were also two League Cup encounters to go with the FA Cup Final clashes - which Chelsea won - and two league encounters which were both won by Don Revie's reigning champions.

So ingrained was the enmity generated around that time, that it has somehow endured, more than 50 years later. That's an impressive backlog of ill-will.

It is incredible that this year is the first time they have met in the FA Cup since that Manchester encounter from all those years ago and that Peter Osgood and Webb were the last men to score in a tie between the clubs in the competition until tonight.

At least there was a sense of connection to the distant past in the shape of Leeds' Archie Gray - a 12th generation descendant, or something like that - of the great Eddie Gray, who played in those finals.

So on they go. The chance to return to Wembley so soon after their League Cup final loss of a few days ago is very much alive and well for the Blues. Only another Championship side stands in their way of a semi-final now - leaders Leicester City the opponents to come.

Chelsea cannot say cup draws have been unfavourable to them. They were ushered to the Carabao Cup final with a kind draw and in this competition, they have been drawn at home in every round.

The watching Ron Harris, possibly amused at the relatively genteel nature of this particular game compared to the ones he used to know, will have no doubt been delighted with the outcome. It was a result very much in keeping with history.


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