Teetotal Mulligan believes the squad, totalling about 16 players in all back in those days, relied on the alcohol for Dutch courage rather than essential lubrication of the vocal chords.
‘There were a few bottles and a few shorts thrown in as well,’ said the Dubliner. ‘I knew I couldn’t sing anyway but the lads who were drinking were trying to camouflage the fact that they couldn’t sing and it just got worse.
‘It helped the confidence, if not the vocals. Some of the lads needed a drink for Dutch courage because they were a bit nervous and just in case it went horribly wrong but it didn’t. The mixers made us sound a lot better than we actually were so they did a great job.’
In fact, such a good job was done on the track that it became an instant hit record, spending 12 weeks in the UK charts and rising to a high of number five. Osgood, who had been involved in that England record ahead of Mexico 1970, felt it was a cut above the rest at the time.
‘The Chelsea boys did it in style,’ the King of Stamford Bridge wrote in his autobiography. ‘It was catchy and original, and for a football team song it was a different class.
‘In those days to reach that position you had to sell around half a million copies. Either Chelsea’s extended fanbase was larger than Arsenal’s and bigger than most imagined, or the song had crossed over into the mainstream big style. We even did Top of the Pops!’
‘The British public are very tolerant but we couldn’t believe it ourselves when it got to number five,’ continued Mulligan. ‘The fact that we ended up on Top of the Pops was unbelievable; what a day that was.