What a year it’s been for Chelsea’s Under-18s.
Jody Morris’ side swept all before them in the 38 year-old’s first season in full charge of the youth team after stepping up from Assistant Manager last summer, and they did so in record-setting style. Previous markers were sent crashing and modern-era bests were established as the Premier League Southern section and National titles were added to yet another FA Youth Cup to complete an historic and unprecedented treble for the academy.
Here are just some of the landmarks reached by the group during 2016-17:
• A first-ever academy treble of the Under-18 Premier League Southern Section title, the Under-18 Premier League National title, and the FA Youth Cup.
• A first academy league and cup double since 1961.
• A fourth consecutive FA Youth Cup success, second only to Manchester United’s five in a row during the 1950s.
• A nationwide record-setting 8th consecutive FA Youth Cup Semi Final appearance.
• A nationwide record-setting 6th consecutive FA Youth Cup Final appearance.
• An unbeaten home run extended beyond two years, stretching back 41 matches to April 4th 2015, beating the club’s previous best of 39 matches between November 1957 and October 1959.
• Only two points were dropped at home all season, those coming in a 0-0 draw against Aston Villa on 14th January.
• A 26-match unbeaten run, the club’s longest since 1963-64, when a 27-match run was put together.
• 12 consecutive wins between 18th January and 1st April was the most since 1963-64, when a 13-match run was put together.
• A run of 7 straight clean sheets between 1st February and 11th March set a new club record.
• A total of 18 clean sheets over the course of the season was the most since 1986-87’s 22.
• Eleven different players scored 5 or more goals, the most since 16 different players achieved the same feat during the 1957-58 campaign.
(Taylor-Crossdale 21, Ugbo 12, Brown 10, Hudson-Odoi 8, McCormick 8, St Clair 8, Uwakwe 8, Dasilva 6, McEachran 6, Mount 6, Gallagher 5)
• February’s 13-0 win was the biggest since the 14-0 FA Youth Cup win over Woodford YC in 1957.
• Martell Taylor-Crossdale, Luke McCormick and Charlie Brown scored hat-tricks in that 13-0 win, only the fourth time three hat-tricks had been scored in a single youth team match.
• The 115 goals scored in all competitions were the most since 1972-73, when Steve Finnieston’s 43 helped the team to 124.
Congratulations to Neil Bath, Jim Fraser, Jody Morris, Ed Brand, all of the players and a cast of hundreds at the academy on not only the continuation of such an impressive body of work, but for continuing to raise the bar and set new standards for themselves to reach, and for everyone else to chase.