JOHN DUNGWORTH was hoping for a third memorable visit to Stamford Bridge today.
Town manager Andy Ritchie’s right-hand man, who began his playing career with the Galpharm club, was on coaching duty at the capital venue for the first time.
But the former striker went there twice before hanging up his boots – and greatly enjoyed both occasions.
The first was in January 1972, when Town were in the top flight and Dungworth was still 16 and an apprentice.
“The policy at that time was to take younger players on first-team away trips to provide them with some experience,” explained the Rotherham-born former Town academy coach, now 52.
“I’d just got into the reserve side, so it was a huge boost for me when Ian Greaves, the manager at the time, told me I was going to Chelsea.
“I remember the trip vividly. We went down there on the train the previous morning, and when we got to the hotel, Frank Worthington headed straight out to do some shopping on the King’s Road.
“I was what they called the 13th man – remember there was only one substitute in those days – so the only chance of me being involved was if one of the other lads went down ill or injured, which didn’t happen.
“But it was still great to be a part of all the preparations.
“Harold Wilson, who was a big Town fan, came to watch the game and visited the dressing room before.
“I was able to sit on the bench to watch a game we drew 2-2 with goals by Les Chapman and Steve Smith.
“We were 1-0 up at one stage, but they hit back with two goals, with Peter Osgood putting them ahead with a real cracker
“We stuck to the task, though, and Steve Smith forced an deserved equaliser.”
Dungworth, who made a goalscoring first-team debut at Middlesbrough the season after, by which time Town had been relegated to the old Division II, was right at the heart of action the next time he appeared at the Bridge.
That was with Shrewsbury in January 1980, shortly after a £70,000 switch from Aldershot, where he had notched 58 goals in 105 league outings.
“We won 4-2 and I scored twice,” said the man who played 23 times before heading off to Oldham in the summer of 1975.
“Petar Borota, the Yugoslavian, was in goal.
“Chelsea had been relegated to Division II.
“But they were still a decent side, with people like Micky Droy, who was marking me, Tommy Langley and Clive Walker in the team, and it was a really good win for us.”