Over Land and Sea : Chelsea FC in the Great War
Chelsea Football Club had only been in existence for nine years when war was declared in 1914, but had already experienced a whirlwind of highs and lows in the game. However, football, the ebb and flow of Saturday afternoon fortunes on the terraces, was about to recede into the background. At the front, players, staff and fans put aside their club differences to fight and die side by side with men from rival teams. On the home front, fund-raising and charity work dominated match days along with recruitment drives that culminated in the founding of a special footballers’ battalion. Whilst participating in a first FA Cup Final, Chelsea would face a fight to survive against a barrage of criticism from the press and politicians determined to portray continued participation in the game as a slight on patriotism and duty. Over Land and Sea examines how one club participated in the most savage conflict the world had yet seen.