Ground No. 36
Visited - Saturday 27th March 2004
Result - Chelsea 5-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Competition - FA Barclaycard Premier League
Attendance - 41,215
After visiting Anfield the previous week, it was another big ground coming up to look forward to. I'd caught the train down on my own, before meeting a friend in Reading and going on into London.
After a short train ride we’d managed to find a pub called the White Horse in Parsons Green near the ground, and although it was a home pub, we sat in there for a bit having a couple of drinks. Despite being full of Chelsea fans, it was quite a nice pub with a relaxed atmosphere, which was good. After that we started to walk to the ground, although as time was catching up with us we decided to get on the tube again for the short journey up to Fulham Broadway.
We walked in the crowds up to the ground and had a brief walk around before going to go in. After struggling to find the entrance (we weren’t the only ones, everyone seemed to be having trouble) we went in to be surprised that home and away fans had to go into the stand, and were mixing in the concourse underneath, and that the turnstiles were actually on the entrances to the seats. That was quite odd, as I've never seen an arrangement like that anywhere else.
Anyway, we got in, and our seats weren’t too bad, near to the (in)famous Shed End. What we hadn't realised at the time until the game started was that although we were in a nice position, the depth of the lower tier was so shallow that after the half way line, you couldn’t see anything along the touchline for about 10 yards in, that was pretty bad, and for the entire game we were having to stand up, which the stewards didn’t particularly like!
The rest of the ground was quite impressive, although the Shed to our left looked smaller than I expected, with neither the lower or upper tiers seeming to have many rows in them. Opposite was the impressive looking West Stand, and to our right the equally impressive Matthew Harding Stand, it’s a shame that they couldn’t have copied that design for the Shed End.
The game started and after about 5 minutes Chelsea took the lead, to which we were all thinking ‘here we go again’. But we held our own, and close to half time Henri Camara broke away down the right, and running at the Chelsea defence, looking like Bambi On Ice he came one on one with the keeper and managed to hit it past him making it 1-1! We were ecstatic, as not only had we equalised, but Henri Camara, our no.1 striker (what a joke!) had scored his first goal since October.
We went into half-time with it 1-1, and looking good. The second half started and after about 10 minutes shock of all shocks we went in the lead when a corner was floated in, Jody Craddock rose above everyone and with a bullet header made it 2-1. Moments later it could have been 3-1 when Paul Ince had a 30 yard drive brilliantly saved by Marco Ambrosio.
Unfortunately with us being in fantasy land, Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri decided to change things and bring on Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, after that it was game over, 5-2 to Chelsea, Hasselbaink hat-trick, another defeat.
We left the ground obviously feeling a bit down, it had been a good game, and we had played well, but to lose like that when we were on the up was demoralising really. The atmosphere had been good, with both sets of fans singing, but unfortunately there had been a little bit of trouble outside, and even inside after the final whistle.
We went back to another pub, before getting the tube back to Paddington to get the train home. Overall it had been a bit disappointing, but it’s a nice ground, and we had never expected to get anything from it, it’s just that being in the lead and on top of the game had raised our hopes, so I think the thing to take from this game was that you should never believe in Wolves!
Welcome to Stamford Bridge
Rear of the West Stand
The Main Reception
A change of badge from before
Rear of the Matthew Harding Stand
The Chelsea World of Sport
Rear of the East Stand
Entrance to the Shed End
Statue outside the Village/Shed End
The retaining wall of the original Shed End Terrace
The Club Shop