Dick Spence

Dick Spence was the only player to make a significant contribution to Chelsea both before and after the Second World War.

Signed from Barnsley for £5,000 in 1934, the speedy winger scored 19 goals, still a club record for a wide man, in his first season.

Over the next four seasons Spence was a model of consistency in an era when many expensive signings were unable to make a significant contribution to the cause. He reached double figures in each season but one and forged a successful partnership with George Mills, another underrated performer who was often overlooked in favour of more glamorous signings.

His talents were good enough though, to win two England caps at a time when the right wing position was dominated by Stanley Matthews.

During the hostilities Spence served as policeman and was therefore able to turn out for Chelsea in the various wartime competitions. He continued to play until retirement having played 246 games, scoring 65 goals. He played his final game against Bolton in September 1947 at the age of 39 years 57 days, making him the oldest player ever to appear in the Chelsea first team.

Spence then joined the training staff and served the club for over 40 years. He died in March 1983, aged 74.

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