ASK STATMAN 28

Filling a void created by no statistical build-up to a Chelsea game this weekend, club statistician Paul Dutton has been busy looking into questions supporters want answered on the club's numerical past and present…


We will start thus time with a topical subject - Petr Cech saving penalties. Mohamed Afifi who is a big fan of our keeper wants to know how many penalties Cech has saved in his Chelsea career and if there is anybody who has stopped more while playing for the club.

First I should make it clear that none of these stats include penalty shoot-outs. Cech for Chelsea has faced 22 penalties and saved five of them with one other struck off target.

What is important to point out is he has saved three of last five he has faced.

The most penalties stopped for Chelsea was by Bill G. Robertson, one of our two 1954/55 championship-winning goalkeepers whose ratio wasn't especially good but he did save eight out of 31. Peter Bonetti saved seven out of 57, Reg Matthews seven out of 23, Harry Medhurst seven from 23, Vic Woodley seven from 28, and Carlo Cudicini (pictured below) six out of 13.

Cudicini penalty save for Chelsea

While on the subject of goalkeepers and the famous '54/'55 season, Nonye Glitter asks who was in goal in our last league game of that first league championship-winning campaign.

That was Chic Thomson when Ted Drake's side played Manchester United at Old Trafford with the title having been secured the pervious match. Thomson played the last 16 league games that season, replacing Robertson who had played the first 26.

*********

Nonye who asked the above question lives in Nigeria and Africa has been a good source of questions to Ask Statman in the last month. Joseph Ndirangu from Kenya asks who has been the longest-serving Chelsea coach?

The answer is David Calderhead, the second man to hold the manager's job, who between 1907 and 1933 was in charge for 966 games. As lengthy as it was, it wasn't an especially golden period for the club as he only won 385 of those matches. His best achievements were FA Cup runners up in 1915, third in the old First Division in 1920 and victory in an unofficial, war-time London Victory Challenge Cup in 1919.

Moving across to Ghana for the next question, Humeini Yusif wants to know of any Chelsea player that has made it from youth level to the first team.

There are far too many to list here but if we take players from this season's first-team squad alone then the names are John Terry, Fabio Borini, Jeffrey Bruma, Gael Kakuta, Josh McEachran and Jacob Mellis.

Ujine Lipstik, also from Ghana, wants to know who the leading own-goal scorers for Chelsea are. The record book aren't detailed enough on the matter to go right back to the start of our history but if we look at the Premier League era, there have been 36 own goals in our favour in leagues games with two players achieving the feat twice - Man United's Henning Berg and Colin Hendry, who scored against his own side once when with Coventry and once when with Bolton.

*********

Richard Godden raises a period in the club's recent history that became a mini-saga - the first few weeks of what was then the North Stand and is now called the Matthew Harding Stand at Stamford Bridge.

The picture at the top is of the stand under construction, the first new one at Stamford Bridge in 20 years, and the story is that after it was opened on 26 November 1994, as hard as the team tried, they couldn't seem to score a goal at that end of the ground.

On the opening day Chelsea lost 1-0 against Everton and then the next home game, against Liverpool, ended 0-0.

The next chance was on Boxing Day with champions Manchester United the visitors and although the Blues found the net twice in a 3-2 defeat, both goals were at the Shed End.

Attempt number four was versus Wimbledon, a 1-1 draw with the Chelsea goal again in front of the temporary stand at the Shed End, so it took until an FA Cup third round tie and a 3-0 defeat of Charlton for the duck to be broken.

Even then we ran it close. Gavin Peacock and Frank Sinclair found the net in the first half at the Shed End, before finally, in the 89thminute, the team hit the target at the north end. John Spencer (pictured below) is the player with the honour of finally giving the inhabitants of the new stand a close-up view of a goal.

John Spencer

The North Stand was renamed in 1996 after Matthew Harding's death.

*********

Yugk Pathak wants me to write about some very good days and some very bad days with a question on biggest wins and heaviest defeats versus Manchester United, Leeds, Arsenal and Liverpool.

I'm going to give the results for league games with the big-victory answers for Manchester United and Arsenal recalling relatively recent occasions.

Our biggest win over Man U was 5-0 at Stamford Bridge in 1999 when Chris Sutton scored his only league goal for us and the rest of the damage was done by Gustavo Poyet, Jody Morris and an own goal, one of the ones mentioned above by Henning Berg. It is celebrated by Sutton in the picture below.

Sutton

The biggest loss against Man U was 6-0 away in 1960.

We have beaten Arsenal 4-1 away on three occasions, twice in 1960 but in different seasons,and then in 2009 thanks to Alex, Nicolas Anelka, Florent Malouda and another own-goal scorer, Kolo Toure. The heaviest defeat against the Gunners was 5-1 at home in 1930.

The Liverpool records were both pre-War, a 6-1 home win in 1937 and a 6-0 defeat away in 1935.

Our best result against Leeds was also in the 1930s, 7-1 at home in 1935 with a 7-0 loss coming in 1967.

*********

A good question now from Ken Cowling who asks who has spent most minutes on the pitch playing for Chelsea without scoring a goal?

At Ken's suggestion we will exclude goalkeepers and only look at outfield players and the answer is George Smith, a Scottish full back in the 1920s who played a whopping 370 games for Chelsea (good value for a £10 signing-on fee) but didn't find the net.

Of current players, the longest barren run is owned by John Mikel Obi who hasn't scored for 171 games having scored the most recent of his two goals in his 21st match. He has yet to register a league goal.

*********

Testimonial matches have been popular in Ask Statman recently with names such as Bobby Tambling, Peter Bonetti, comedian Jimmy Tarbuck and one-time Stamford Bridge restaurant manager Leon Lenik involved.

This time it is Peter Osgood's match that falls under the spotlight as Mark Taylor asks about George Best's appearance in a testimonial match at the Bridge. Mark remembers that the Belfast Boy took a lot of stick from the fans every time he tried his tricks that day.

Some more details I can give are that Osgood's testimonial on 24 November 1975 was between the Chelsea team of the day and a Chelsea past 11. The present team won 4-3 and Best played as a guest for Chelsea Past (despite having never been our player) and scored two goals.

Another testimonial was Richard Steele's first match watching Chelsea. In his email he suggests it was for a Leicester City player called Mike Stringfellow at Filbert Street in 1975 and thinks John Phillips might have been in the Chelsea goal, but wants more details.

The only testimonial close to that description I can find in the records was in May 1977 and it was for another Leicester player, Alan Woollett. It was played four days before final league game of what was a promotion season for us and Leicester had future Chelsea player Dennis Rofe and former Chelsea player Alan Birchenall in their team. Ray Wilkins was our captain and Peter Bonetti rather than Phillips was in goal. Leicester won 3-0 with Woollett, Birchenall and Frank Worthington the scorers.

*********

Oleg Sijanov in Russia is curious as to why Chelsea are wearing red shirts in a YouTube clip of a home game in 1973 when at Stamford Bridge you expect blue to be the colour.

The answer is it was an FA Cup game against Ipswich Town whose first-choice shirts were also blue and the FA Cup regulation at the time was if both teams had the same colour kit then both had to change. Therefore Chelsea wore our second choice kit of time that famously resembled Hungary colours with red shirts, white shorts and green socks and Ipswich wore yellow shirts, blue shorts and yellow socks.

*********

Mark Newbrook is a relative of Chelsea player from the 1970s, John Sissons, so would like some information on our former left winger.

Sissons joined Chelsea in 1974 after spells with West Ham, Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich but was only with us for one season during which he played 13 games. He didn't score and it was a struggling Chelsea team that was relegated at the end of that season. The majority of Sissons' career had been with West Ham where he won an FA Cup and Cup Winners' Cup medal in the 1960s.

Not a relative but B. Ekins has a good friend who in the early 1960s played for QPR's youth side against Chelsea, a game that he says Chelsea won 7-1.He would like to know Chelsea's line up for that game.

I can't find a 7-1 around that time but there was an 8-0 win in November 1960 for which the Chelsea team was:

John Dunn, Colin Huxford, Bobby Drake, Ray Corney, Ian Watson, Ron Harris, Bert Murray, Colin Shaw, Gordon Bolland, David Johnstone, David Gillingwater.

*********

I've a query from Olly Cabot of Camberley asking what is the team's conversion rate of shots on target into goals this season?

If we take the Barclays Premier League then it is about one in five with 253 shots on target and 51 goals netted so far this season.

Perry from London and Stephen Upsher are both wondering how close Frank Lampard is to Bobby Tambling's all-time Chelsea goal record.

Following his two goals at Blackpool this week, Lampard has 166 goals so now needs 37 more to overtake Tambling and 28 more to surpass second-placed Kerry Dixon.

*********

Squad 1985_86

Finally this month I will look at the above photo that was published this week along with a story on a game in Iraq on the Official Chelsea Website's new overseas tours section. The picture is of the 1986 squad.

Chris Watkins asks for identification of the players who from left-to-right they are:

Back Row: Eddie Niedzwiecki, Nigel Spackman, Joe McLaughlin, Kerry Dixon, Doug Rougvie, Colin Lee, Steve Francis.
Second Row: Dale Jasper, Duncan Shearer, Terry Howard, John Millar, Colin Pates, Paul Canoville, Keith Dublin.
Chair Row: Pat Nevin, Gordon Davies, David Speedie, John Bumstead, Darren Wood, Robert Issac, Keith Jones.
On-pitch row: Kevin McAllister, Phil Priest, Robin Beste, Willy Watson.

Before I sign off I'd like to thank Clayton Freeman over in Florida who has helped out with Ask Statman on numerous occasions and has produced the goods again. Back in January I wrote that I didn't have full details of where a former Chelsea youth goalie by the name of Lee Carroll (who had been on the first-team bench when we played a Cup Winners' Cup match in 1994 and no other goalies were eligible) went in his career after Chelsea.

Clayton has sent me many more of Carroll's details which include spells at many non-league clubs in and around the west London area, some more than once.

I'll finish with my regular apology for not having space to deal yet with all the emails sent in and my regular request for new questions, comments or corrections to be emailed to statman@chelseafc.com