ASK STATMAN

Club statistician Paul Dutton is back for a pre-season edition of his question and answer session, with the number-related posers sent in by supporters…


I'm starting this Ask Statman with a request from Neil Smith who recalls a curious incident in a game he was taken to back in August 1969, when we played away at Southampton.

He remembers the referee blowing for half-time when it was only just after the half-hour mark, but after consultations pitchside with the other officials, play resumed. Neil asks if any more light can be shed on this story.

The referee was Mr Gordon Kew from Leeds and Neil is correct, reports state that Kew blew seven minutes early and after speaking with the linesmen, restarted the game.

I have a quote from the ref afterwards when he explained: 'One of my watches stopped and I misjudged the second hand of my other, and I misinterpreted a signal from the linesman.'

So quite a sequence of unfortunate events there! For the record, the game ended in a 2-2 draw with Peter Osgood scoring both Chelsea goals.

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Terry Lynch from Ireland writes in response to the passing back in February of Seamus O' Connell (pictured below), one of our 1955 league winners, and the fact that O'Connell scored a hat trick versus Manchester United on his debut.

Terry asks was Seamus the only player in our history to score a debut hat trick, and has anyone else scored a hat trick against that particular opposition.

There has been one other Chelsea player to achieve that debut feat - George Hilsdon, the man on whom the weather vane on top of the East Stand is based. He scored five goals against Glossop at home in his first Chelsea game in 1906.

And when it comes to hat tricks against Man United, Scotland international Alec Cheyne netted three in September 1930 when we won 6-2.

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Another email from Ireland, this one from Rory Conroy, is in reaction to a picture in a previous Ask Statman showing the early 1970s squad with yellow socks and yellow stripes on their shorts, as opposed to the usual white. He asks whether this kit was reserved for European games.

That wasn't the reason for this alteration to the blue and white. At that time, when Chelsea played teams who wore white socks, we changed to this other version of the blue kit with the stripes, badge, numbers and socks all becoming yellow.

The most famous example of this is probably the 1970 FA Cup final replay at Old Trafford against all-white Leeds (pictured below). In the first game at Wembley, Leeds changed socks to red.

1970 Final

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In the last Ask Statman I asked for help on several subjects and I am pleased to say there was plenty of response.

As a result we have been able clear up the question of whether Bobby Tambling was allowed to swap his shirt for a special 200 one on the occasion of reaching that goal milestone.

Howard Sole, Des O'Reilly, Ray Cater, Robert Ridgwell and Neil Smith were among those who wrote in about it, and the evidence was pointing towards a picture of Bobby wearing a 100 shirt on the front cover of a match programme in 1965, to celebrate his 100th goal rather than his 200th, and we were able to confirm this by asking Bobby when he was at Stamford Bridge towards the end of last season. The figure 100 was in fact added to the picture and was not on the actual shirt he wore when the photo was taken.

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I also began the quest to find the reader of Ask Statman who had attended a Chelsea game the furthest back.

Ian Symonds was at the Seamus O'Connell debut mentioned above and Bob Turner was at the Bridge when Ted Drake's side beat Wolves famously, near the end of that same championship season.

Derek Webster goes back to Christmas 1949 and the famous Chelsea v Moscow Dynamo game in 1945 appears to be a landmark game for many. This marked the resumption of football in London after the war and William Bailey nominates his friend Charlie Tuersley, who was at that match, and Robert Ridgwell emailed to say he and a fellow student went along but couldn't see much due to the tremendous size of the crowd.

Chelsea v Dynamo Moscow - 1945

Don Pearce informs me he was a 10-year-old at the game and started off on the terraces behind the north goal, then was moved onto the dog track and eventually finished up sitting on the grass near the goal post.

Jacky Shepherd's grandmother came to a match versus Sunderland in September 1919, and recalls being a young girl in a predominantly male 'sea of flat caps'.She is now 104 and was due to go to a game towards the end of last season when I received the email.

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Derek Webster throws some more light on a day from Chelsea's first season we have been discussing in the previous two Ask Statmans, when a home league game and an away FA Cup match took place the same afternoon.

We were pondering who would have managed the FA Cup team which was predominantly a second choice side, but Derek points out that Chelsea manager at the time, John Tait Robertson, must have been in charge of that team as he played in the game. So the more pertinent question now is who managed the league game team? Perhaps the captain, Willie Foulke.

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I have a question sent in by Keri Hawkins which I am going to ask if anyone reading can help with.

Keri recently bought a scrapbook of Chelsea photos and wonders where and at which game the picture shown below was taken.

It feature two of the club's most famous pre-war players Andy Wilson and Jack Cock, presumably at one of our games in later years as Chelsea are the only club they have in common. Cock died in 1966 so it must before then.

Any ideas please?

Wilson and Cock

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Chelsea enjoyed ourselves on one particular trip to east London to take on Orient back in the Seventies, winning the match 7-3. Craig Johnson who remembers it asked for some more details.

The exact date was 10 November 1979 and our goals were by Mike Fillery, a hat-trick for Lee Frost including a penalty, two goals for Clive Walker and one from Ian Britton. They are pictured below after the game in that order, left to right. Future captain Colin Pates made his debut that day as well.

Orient v Chelsea

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Here's a selection of questions from Nigeria. Alawode Daud enquires how many times have Chelsea met Real Madrid.

The answer is three times in European competitions - two of the games being the 1971 Cup Winners' Cup final and the replay two days later, both matches in Piraeus near Athens in Greece. After a 1-1 draw in original game, we won the replay 2-1.

Near the start of the 1998/99 season we played the Spanish side, who were European Champions at the time, in the UEFA Super Cup match in Monaco and won 1-0, so we have never lost against them.

Samuel Odife wants to find out the score between Chelsea and Manchester United on our first encounter.

As strange as it may seem now, Christmas Day games were commonplace during the first half of our existence and this match was on 25 December 1905. It was a Division Two game and it was away, with the venue Bank Street as this was the days before they played at Old Trafford. The score was 0-0 in front of an attendance of 35,000.

James Olusanya Babatunde asks what's the total number of games Chelsea have played since the club started back in 1905.

These numbers are for competitive games only and the breakdown is:

Played 4760, Won 2052, Drawn 1220, Lost 1488, Goals Scored 7560, Goals Against 6292.


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The next email is on a subject that became particularly relevant during the second half of last season.

During the team's progress to winning the Europa League, we frequently stated in our Pre-Match Briefings on this website that before that night in Amsterdam, only three teams had won all three UEFA competitions - Ajax, Bayern Munich and Juventus.

Viv Barber wrote to me observing that Barcelona's European success all covers three trophies - the European Cup/Champions League four times - 1992, 2006, 2009, 2011; the Cup Winners' Cup four times - 1979, 1982, 1989, 1997; and what he lists as the UEFA Cup three times - 1958, 1960, 1966.

The important point here is that the competition that later became the UEFA Cup was called the Fairs Cup until the 1971/72 season, and under that title was not organised by UEFA. In the Pre-Match Briefings we were quite specific in stating Chelsea were looking to become the only English club to win all three major UEFA competitions.

Players celebrate at the Europa League final

 

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One of those who wrote in to confirm the Bobby Tambling 100 shirt story above, Howard Sole, also noted that in the Chelsea v AC Milan match programme for a Fairs Cup tie in 1966, there was a photo of the Chelsea squad in their relevant international kits - England and Scotland only. He asks if this idea has ever been done again.

As far as I am aware it hasn't although I am willing to be corrected, and the picture Howard refers to is the one at the very top of this article. The programme explains that Barry Bridges, who would have worn an England shirt, was absent due to illness and that George Graham is in white rather than dark blue as Scotland wore a second-choice kit for the relevant game.

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Here's another one that I am going to ask for help on. Robert Ridgwell writes that he understands Highgate School from north London played a match against another public school - Charterhouse from Surrey - at Stamford Bridge in 1945. He asks if this was true. I have no record of the game but would like to know if anyone else does?

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Jon Grace spotted an interesting trend when he asks when was the last time Chelsea lost a home game in April?

If we are talking all competitions then the answer is relatively recently, against Manchester United in the Champions League in 2011.

However, I suspect Jon was asking about league games because in that case, our last April defeat at the Bridge was over a decade ago - in 2002 when the opposition were also Man United and they won 3-0. That was the last time they beat us at home in the league prior to last season.

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Who is the oldest Chelsea player to score a goal is a question sent in by Steve Roberts. I believe the answer to be the same name as our oldest player overall.

Dickie Spence scored against Wolves in April 1947 when he was 38 years and nine months old. He went on to play for Chelsea until he was 39.

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Pascal from Kenya wants to know which Chelsea goalkeeper has the best clean sheet record, which is interesting because a long-established answer might soon change.

The record is still Peter Bonetti's with 208 clean sheets in his 729 appearances, but Petr Cech is getting close. He's on 198 clean sheets from 432 games.

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Alan Haseler asked me to help him work out which year he began supporting Chelsea. He lived in Woolwich during the 1950s, and remembers going to the Woolwich Stadium (home of the Royal Artillery) to watch Chelsea play in the Metropolitan League (which was a reserve league) on Saturdays, and at half-time and full-time the result of the senior team games would be broadcast. He also recalls laying his bicycle behind the goal and being able to chat to the goalkeeper!

Alan particularly remembers a match against Headington United from Oxford, which I can identify as taking place on 19 February 1955 - a 2-2 draw - which gives Alan his year.

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I would like to thank Peter Wollaston who sent in some additional information for our Post-Season Briefing published at the end of the season, and was also able to assist with a question I wasn't able to answer.

In the last Ask Statman there was a request to trace Chelsea history for Kenneth Bedford from his sister, who suggested he was part of the Chelsea youth team in 1968/69, and gave details of the injury that made him give up the game.

I couldn't find the name in any records from that time but Peter found K. Bedford played in four out of the first five South East Counties Division Two cup games in 1971/72.

This info was backed up by Chris Webster who found he played the following four games in that competition as an Under-16 that season:

28/08/1971 v Charlton Athletic away - L1-4
4/9/1971 v West Ham at home - W 3-0
11/9/1971 v Charlton Athletic at home - D 0-0
18/9/1971 v Gillingham away - L 0-3

Thanks to Chris as well, and there I must end Ask Statman this time so apologies for not yet covering all the questions sent in. I anticipate next time we will return to the recent common themes of testimonials and emergency goalies.

Please email statman@chelseafc.com with any new questions, comments or corrections.