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On This Day: Notts County beat Chelsea to seal First Division return

Joe Jones

On this day in 1981, Notts County experienced one of the finest days in their history when they claimed a 2-0 win over Chelsea at an intimidating Stamford Bridge to secure a return to the top flight after an exile of more than half a century.

When the Magpies had last graced the top flight, penicillin had not yet been discovered, the BBC did not yet exist, and women under the age of 30 were not yet allowed to vote. The last Notts top-flight game was in 1926 and few could have expected such a drought from the elite level of English football.

However, Jimmy Sirrel oversaw a revival at Meadow Lane which culminated in the iconic win in West London on 2 May 1981.

The match itself proved a fiery affair and was held up for 15 minutes soon after Notts went two up as Chelsea fans invaded the pitch to demonstrate against their chairman, and there was another protest at the final whistle which resulted in the crossbar at the Shed end being broken.

Nonetheless, the bottom line was that Notts sealed a top-three place in Division Two thanks to the result.

Here is some media from the day - the television report on ITN (as far as I know this is as much as there is in terms of video highlights).

Here are the final 10 or so minutes of radio commentary by Brian Tansley and Terry Bowles on Radio Trent (credit to KorkInNotts for the video).

And here is a link to a short clip of Colin Slater commentating on Harkouk's goal.


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