History

Vivian Woodward

Vivian Woodward was one of the greatest amateur footballers England has ever produced.

He had already captained Great Britain to Olympic gold when he signed for Chelsea from Tottenham in 1909.

Over the next six seasons Woodward played 116 times for Chelsea scoring 34 goals. He was slightly built, but was a brilliant dribbler, strong in the air and possessed a powerful shot. In 1912 he won a second Olympic gold medal and the following season was our top scorer.

Woodward was one of the first footballer’s to enlist after the outbreak of the First World War and his appearances that season were limited to when he was on leave.

He was granted special leave to play in the 1915 FA Cup Final but on arriving at Old Trafford refused to take his place in the team, despite being pressured by the Chelsea directors, insisting that Bob Thomson who had taken his place in earlier rounds be selected. It was a typical gesture by a man once described in Parliament as ‘the living embodiment of the finest spirit of the game.’

Sadly, Woodward was injured late in the war and never played football again. He later served Chelsea as a director between 1922 and 1930 and died in January 1954, aged 74.

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