ASK STATMAN 32
Club statistician Paul Dutton opens up his statistical survey for the first time in 2012, looking at number-related Chelsea enquires sent in by supporters…
High goal hauls is the topic for much of Ask Statman this time and it is on that theme we start with a question emailed in by Omilana Temidayo who lives in Nigeria.
Has any Chelsea player scored two or three consecutive hat-tricks is the query and the answer is yes, if you count Didier Drogba's achievement when he scored hat-tricks in consecutive league games in 2010.
Those were the three goals against Wigan at the end of the 2009/10 season on the day we won the league and the three against West Brom at the beginning of the 2010/11 season. There was an FA Cup Final in between however.
Omilana also asks who holds the record for scoring Chelsea's fastest goal. The honour goes to Keith Weller who took just 12 seconds to find the net versus Middlesbrough at home in the League Cup. The game took place on 7 October 1970.
Ask Statman would like to add its best wishes to those sent to Bobby Tambling who has not been well, and we are pleased to learn he has recently come out of hospital. Bobby is part of the answer to the next question, sent in by Adigun Omorilewa, who asks which player has scored the most hat-tricks in Chelsea history.
The answer to that one is no surprise - Jimmy Greaves with 13 three-goal returns.
I count George Hilsdon as next, the club's early star striker having netted nine hat-tricks, although two of those nine come from a 'double hat-trick', as he scored six goals against Worksop Town in the FA Cup in January 1908.
Next come Kerry Dixon and Bobby Tambling with eight hat-tricks apiece.
We go back even earlier than Hilsdon's six-goal haul, to 1906, for part of the next answer which is in response to a question from Clive Wright. He emailed in about Chelsea's lowest ever league attendance, which he suggests was for a game at which he was one of the loyal band who turned up on a wet and windy midweek evening. It was in the early Eighties with the opposition either Cardiff or Cambridge.
I think the game Clive is referring to is one with a low crowd but it is not the lowest.
That was 3,000 against Lincoln City in the old Second Division in February 1906. The round figure is because attendances were only estimated in those days.
The smallest post-war attendance is from the early Eighties, versus Orient on a Wednesday night in May 1982, also in the old Second Division, when 6,009 paid to get in.
Clive's game I reckon was earlier that same season, especially as he recalls Clive Walker scoring the only goal which was the case when Cardiff visited on 17 February 1982. The crowd on what was a wet and windy Wednesday night was 9,710, probably not helped because the match had been hastily arranged at four days' notice after our FA Cup match versus Liverpool on the Saturday before (when a starkly contrasting 41,412 turned up). Presumably the fact we beat Liverpool and no replay was therefore needed meant this outstanding fixture could be played.
Moving forward a year from 1906 takes us to the start of the longest managerial reign in Chelsea history which is the subject of an enquiry from Moyosore who lives in Nigeria.
As well as wanting to know the longest-serving Chelsea manager, I am also asked if Chelsea have ever played pre-season or friendly matches in Africa.
The answer to that is although the club has been involved in visits to Ghana with one of our charity partners, Right to Play, the team has not played a match in Africa since the two post-season games in Mozambique in 1969.
The man in the managerial seat the longest was David Calderhead who held the job between 1907 and 1933 and for 966 games. In a sign of changing times, he didn't win a single trophy in that time, other than the wartime London Challenge Cup in 1919.
One of the most famous games in our first championship-winning season of 1954/55 was actually a defeat and Paul Jackson, who has written in, was there. His Dad took him as an 18th birthday treat and together they watched Chelsea 5 Manchester United 6.
Paul naturally remembers that scoreline but not the goalscorers so has asked for a memory jogger.
Man United were fourth in the table before the start of that game on 16 October 1954 and Chelsea were ninth, so with plenty of rising yet to do.In fact the game was part of a six-game run without a win, hardly the form of champions at that stage of the season.
The visitors went 1-0 up with Dennis Violett opening the scoring but unknown amateur Seamus O'Connell on his Chelsea debut equalised.We went 2-1 up thanks to Jim Lewis before Tommy Taylor and then Violett put Man U back in front 2-3, a lead they held at half-time.
The same pair in the same order, Taylor and Violett, looked to have put Matt Busby's side out of sight at 2-5 but then Ken Armstrong pulled one back for Chelsea, only for the red-shirted Jackie Blanchflower to make it 3-6. O'Connell then scored twice to record a famous debut hat-trick and take the score to its final 5-6.
Another game with an eyebrow-raising scoreline forms the basis of the next question. Andy Clarke was at a game at Derby County's old stadium, the Baseball Ground, that Chelsea won 6-4. He thinks Gordon Durie scored a hat trick and wants some info on the match.
The match was played on 15 December 1990 and the full team was Dave Beasant, Gareth Hall, Jason Cundy, Ken Monkou (Peter Nicholas), Tony Dorigo, Dennis Wise, Graham Stuart, David Lee, Graeme Le Saux, Gordon Durie and Kerry Dixon.
We enjoyed that outing at the Baseball Ground and 'happy hunting ground' and 'bogey ground' are famous football phrases. An interesting question along those lines popped into my in-box from Dave Beddow who resides in Bristol. He asks about Chelsea's five favourite grounds and five least favourite grounds.
The criteria I am going to use to answer this is the five clubs at which we have won most games and the five clubs at which we have lost most.
Our most successful for away days is Tottenham where we have won 22 times (one occasion in 1997 when we won 6-1 there pictured at the top). Next are Man City and West Brom with 21 wins and then Arsenal and Fulham are tied on 19 Chelsea wins at their place.
For most defeats, we have lost 45 times at Liverpool, 36 times at Arsenal and at Everton (unfortunately increased at the weekend) and 34 at Newcastle. Aston Villa is our fifth least-favourite trip with 31 defeats.
Since the last Ask Statman, Neil Smith has been an enthusiastic emailer, raising many points in the words he has sent me, mainly on the subject of penalties. I don't have enough space to write about them all here but I'll deal with a selection.
He starts by recalling the 1997/98 season when Frank Leboeuf, Dennis Wise, Gianfranco Zola and Gustavo Poyet all took penalties, including Wise and Zola in the same game. Neil wonders if that was a record number for one season.
It wasn't. The record is the 1934/35 season when we had five penalty takers - Bob McCauley who missed, Willie Russell who scored, Jack Horton who missed, George Mills who missed and Dick Spence who scored.
Regarding two penalty takers in one game, that also happened in the famous win against Wigan two seasons ago that we mentioned earlier in this Ask Statman. Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba both converted from the spot that day.
Among the other penalty-related facts Neil raised in his emails, he is certain that Charlie Cooke only took one penalty in his Chelsea career, which would have won a home game versus Coventry in 1967 but it was saved. I agree with that.
Moving on to the 1980s, Neil lists the only two penalties taken by midfield stalwart John Bumstead - one at Rotherham in October 1981 which was saved and one at home to Norwich a month earlier that went in. To that I can add that the unsuccessful one was twice taken and both attempts were saved.
Some other players that Neil suggests had a 100 per cent record of one penalty taken and one scored are Darren Wood, Bill Garner and Garry Stanley, and I agree with those as well.
He recalls Kevin Wilson and Micky Hazard both missing penalties in a 1-3 defeat at Newcastle in 1988 but was unsure if this was Wilson's only penalty for us.
In fact Wilson also missed one at Highbury and scored one at Ipswich in the ZDS Cup.
The other time Chelsea have missed two penalties in one game was when Kerry Dixon had two saved against Portsmouth at Christmas in the promotion season of 1983/84.
As Neil points out himself, Kerry did score in open play in that 2-2 draw but then missed another penalty at home to Brighton in the next game and was replaced as penalty taker by Tony McAndrew.
Pat Nevin followed on as penalty-taker with a record of one scored out of three taken which included what is often described as the worst penalty ever taken, in a League Cup match at home to Man City. Having scored one the season before at Portsmouth, he also had one saved at Grimsby the day we won the Second Division championship in 1984 (pictured below).
David Speedie also had a go at being our penalty taker and scored at Leicester in February 1985 but then missed two days later near the end of the game as we went out of the FA Cup at home to Millwall. Micky Thomas scored from the spot at Sunderland the next month but then hit the bar at West Brom.
All this talk of missed penalties makes you realise how lucky we have been in recent times with the relatively reliable Wise, Leboeuf, Hasselbaink and Lampard taking them.
I can't finish with Neil's emails in this Ask Statman without dealing with the curious case of his trip through the snow to see Chelsea play an FA Cup match at York.While they were lunching in a hotel near the ground, some fellow Blues fans told them the game had been called off as York City had announced their floodlights were not working.
Neil and his friends thought it might be a wind-up but the landlord also confirmed this and two minibuses of Chelsea fans in the hotel car park set off to watch alternative games, either Leeds v Palace or Bradford City v Tooting and Mitcham. Neil and his friends however made their way to the ground where the game went ahead.
My records also show the game was played that day which was 24 January 1976 and Chelsea won 2-0 with Bill Garner and Ian Hutchinson scoring. Neil wonders if anyone else has any recollections of this confusion, or went to Bradford or Leeds instead of the Chelsea game?
Finally Neil asks for the name of the former player who passed away earlier this season who was the oldest surviving Chelsea player. He was Reg Williams and there are more details here.
Eric Bradman asks for a potted history of another former player - Miles Spector. In statistical terms the story is Spector played six games in 1953, three in the league and three in the FA Cup. Additional information is that he was an England amateur from Hendon, an outside-left by position but his opportunities in our first team were limited because he found himself behind Frank Blunstone and Jim Lewis in the pecking order for that position. Spector remained an amateur player and went back to play for Hendon.
There are details on one of the games he played in a past Ask Statman.
In the last Ask Statman we began trying to pin down how many years Chelsea trained at Mitcham. We had the information that the club sold the facility to Crystal Palace in 1976 but I appealed if anyone knew when we moved there.
I would like to thank Phil Morrison who has a story that shows our use of Mitcham dates back to at least 1965 because he was invited for trials with Chelsea there when he was about 14. Phil recalls that Frank Bluntstone was in charge and approximately 80 hopefuls were bussed from Stamford Bridge to Mitcham. Unfortunately none were signed that day so Phil went on to play for Wimbledon FC in the Southern league, although he says as it wasn't Chelsea, his heart wasn't in it.
I'm also grateful to Naim Khan-Turk who remembers cycling with his school friends from Streatham to watch the team train at Mitcham between 1967 and 1968.
Naim, who now lives in Vietnam, also remembers going to a Chelsea v Ipswich game in the early 70s when he thinks we won either 2-1 or 3-1 but there might have been a disallowed goal. He asks for confirmation of the result.
I think it must be one of three possible games - a match on 27 December 1971 when David Webb famously started in goal due to a lack of a proper keeper available. Chelsea won 2-0.
Or it could be a 1972 match on 23 September, another 2-0 victory, or an FA Cup match on 10 February 1973 which again was a 2-0 win.
Another follow up to Ask Statman last time round comes from former Chelsea club photographer and programme editor Hugh Hastings. There was a discussion about a Micky Droy wonder goal with both Hugh and I saying it might have occurred during the big man's testimonial match and others picking out a home game versus Cardiff.
Hugh has sent in some pictures of that goal against Cardiff which I thank him for, and they are shown below.
A question from Jay Duba from Nigeria highlighted a milestone Chelsea have been trying to reach for the last couple of games and hopefully will do so on Saturday - the 2000th win in our history.
Jay asked how many games have the club played and what the record is in those matches.
So from 1905 to the present day we have:
Played 4666 games
Goals for 7365
Goals against 6182
I finish with a question I cannot answer but someone else hopefully can help with.
Alan Carroll came across a Shamrock Rovers versus Chelsea match programme in a box belonging to his father. He says it took place on 2 March 1955 in Ireland and asks what was the final score. He has contacted Shamrock Rovers but they don't have a record of the game.
Well neither do I, and none of the match programmes from that time mention it either, so I'm wondering if anyone else can shed some light on this game.
If you can, please email firstname.lastname@example.org which is also the address for any other comments, corrections or new questions. Apologies for those I have not been able deal with this time but I will be back soon.