He was travelling back with friends from watching the team play a League Cup game away at Bolton Wanderers when his helicopter crashed. His fellow passengers Ray Deane, Tony Burridge, John Bauldie and Mick Goss also lost their lives.
A supporter from a very young age, Harding got involved with the club he loved more directly in the early 1990s, and his legacy lives on. After playing a significant role in helping to finance the reconstruction of the stand at the north end of the stadium, it was named after him following his passing. Fondly remembered at Stamford Bridge, his name is still sung by supporters.
His financial investment also helped us acquire the likes of Ruud Gullit, Mark Hughes and Roberto Di Matteo, but he tragically died before he could see his beloved Blues win major silverware in the form of the FA Cup.
To find out more about Harding’s life, death and legacy, listen to the podcast below. It is one of five episodes of Blue Days, covering the dramatic 1996/97 campaign. In this episode celebrating Harding, we hear from his children, those who worked closely with him at Stamford Bridge, like Glenn Hoddle and Colin Hutchinson, as well as former players who remember his presence around the club.
Gone, but never forgotten. Rest in peace, Matthew.