ASK STATMAN 4

The players are away but Chelsea's official statistician Paul Dutton remains behind to deal with more queries from supporters in the latest of his statistical surgeries.


I'll begin this time with a follow-up to a question raised in the previous Ask Statman.

I confirmed then that a Chelsea v Liverpool match on 24 December 1938 had, at 6,801, the lowest attendance ever for a Chelsea top division game, but I was curious to know about any circumstances which may have led to this number which was unusually low for the era, even so close to Christmas.

I am therefore grateful to the response from Chelsea fans, several of whom have suggested the weather as a factor.

Alan Doyle enters into more detail, and writes:

'London has experienced a White Christmas on only a handful of occasions during the last hundred, or so, years. However, Christmas 1938 was considered the most significant White Christmas of the twentieth century.

'Snow fell daily in the south-east from December 19th to 26th and this was accompanied by a sharp drop in temperatures. The heaviest falls were on the 20th and 21st. This resulted in a covering to a depth of 30 centimetres (or about one foot in 1938 terms) and caused severe disruption to everyday life for several days.

'A thaw set in on the 27th, which probably explains why the Leeds game was better attended on that day.'

Indeed the visit by Leeds drew 33,000. Thanks Alan, your email appears to have cleared that one up nicely.

**********

Keeping to the unseasonal Christmas theme, I received a query from Lars Dragset of Norway who asks who was standing in goal when Chelsea played against Ipswich at Portman Road on 26 December 1971.

Lars may be referring to the game on 27 December that year which was at the Bridge and is famous for a goalkeeping appearance from Chelsea's 1970 FA Cup Final goalscorer, David Webb.

Regular keepers Peter Bonetti and John Phillips were injured and third choice Steve Sherwood was unable to complete the emergency journey in time, so Webb took the gloves and kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win.

In a great illustration of the defender's versatility, in April that same season, he played up front against the same opposition and scored two goals in a 2-1 win!

However if Lars was referring to the game at Ipswich on 26 December 1972, then the rather less remarkable Phillips was in goal.

**********

Webb managed to wear every Chelsea shirt number from 1 to 12 (except 11) and I have had some other shirt questions.

Ronan Kavanagh, a Dubliner now living in Washington DC, wants to know Jimmy Greaves's number so a replica jersey can be appropriately numbered for a present.

Ronan, understandably when talking about such a famous goalscorer, suspects the answer may be number 9. In fact that was one number Greaves never wore for Chelsea. His main number was 8, although he did also play 10 and 11.

Coincidently, both Roger Albon and Adrian Barton have enquired about Graham Rix's squad number in the 1994/95 season, the year he became the club's oldest debutant at the age of 36.

Adrian specifically mentions the final game that season when Rix was substitute against his former club Arsenal in what was Glenn Hoddle's swansong as a player.

The answer is Rix wore number 31.

**********

Without wishing to stir up too many thoughts about the Champions League Final defeat, I'll deal next with Nanu Ugwu who wants to know how many players have transferred from Chelsea to Manchester United over the course of our history.

The answer is five and they are:

Peter Proudfoot - 1907
George Hunter - 1914
Graham Moore - 1963
Alex Stepney - 1966
Ray Wilkins - 1979

And then a long gap to the present day.

Nanu also asks who Chelsea played on New Year's Day 1992. It was Man City at home, the score 1-1 with Clive Allen netting. City equalised in the last minute against the run of play, a deflected goal from sub Mike Sheron.

*********

Travelling back a lot further in time, Derek Ody asks for some hard facts about the famous visit by Moscow Dynamo in 1945. Derek was part of the biggest unofficial crowd ever at the Bridge who watched the resumption of football in London after the War. He wishes to tell his Chelsea-supporting grandson more about the game.

The date of the occasion was 13 November 1945 and the score was 3-3 with Chelsea's goals coming from Len Goulden, Reg Williams and Tommy Lawton.

The crowd record is unofficial as so many gained entry without paying and they lined the pitch, watching the home team go 2-0 up. A Russian goal was even disallowed after the ball had rebounded off a spectator!

The Russians also missed a penalty but midway through the second-half, Kartsev and Archangelski drew scores level. Lawton made it 3-2 before Bobrov equalised though five-yards offside. The goal was allowed for 'diplomatic reasons'.

In his email, Derek refers to the Dynamo keeper's name as Tiger. The player's full official name was Alexei Khomich.

*********

A considerably less auspicious occasion at the Bridge was the visit by Dutch club Drecht Steden for a friendly played on 14 January 1981.

Chris Pennington asks for more details and Statman has to admit to being one of the 4,211 crowd who showed up. Chelsea won 4-2 with goals from Alan Mayes (2), Clive Walker and John Bumstead.

Guest players for the visitors were World Cup Finalists Johann Cruyff and Robbie Rensenbrink, both by then aged 33.

The game was played to fill a hole left by Chelsea's early elimination from the FA Cup. It wasn't always European Cup Finals around these parts!


*********

Bill Torode enquires about a junior player by the name of Sluman who might have scored nine goals in one game, and about youth team scoring records in general.

Indeed the player did exist - his first name Barry - but he never made the Chelsea first team, despite having scored eight goals, rather than nine, in the one game.

The match Bill was aware of was a second round tie in the FA Youth Cup against Hendon in 1955/56, the final score 9-0.

Sluman was an England schoolboy international from County Durham and played in the same youth team as Ken Shellito and Peter Brabrook but national service with the RAF reduced his games. He played a few times in the reserves but then disappeared from the Chelsea story

Junior goalscoring records over the course of our history are not good but the already-mentioned Jimmy Greaves was definitely the most prolific. He topped 100 goals in all matches (including friendlies) in the 56/57 season and went on to score 100 league goals in the first team before the age of 21.


**********

A couple of short ones now. John Harvey has a photograph of Chelsea v Wrexham in which he can see we are drawing 2-2 near the end of the game. He wishes to know the date and final score.

It was played on 16 August 1980, an old second division match that ended 2-2, Mike Fillery and Peter Rhoades-Brown the Chelsea scorers. Joey Jones played for Wrexham.

Jennifer Roberts enquires about her grandad James Roberts whom she understands played for Chelsea at some point between the 1937 and 1949. Unfortunately Jennifer, he is not recorded as appearing for our first team so further details are hard to find.


**********

Finally for this Ask Statman, Karl Harrington asks why the ground is called Stamford Bridge. The question is maybe more historian than statistician but I'll give it a go.

The stadium drives its name from the bridge across the railway line to the east of the ground. Originally bridges across the route of the line carried roads over a creek and later on, a canal.

One of those bridges was at a sand ford -'Sandford or Samford Bridge' - and another was a stone bridge - 'Stanbridge' - and it is believed the two names were gradually combined over time to give birth to the current one.

Yet again, there have been many more queries sent in than I have had space to answer but I will endeavour to feature as many of those remaining as possible next time.
If you have any queries about Chelsea stats or want to debate any of the above, please email statman@chelseafc.com