Roy Bentley’s special place in Chelsea history is already assured and now he could have a place on the Stamford Bridge Shed Wall, as he is the third legend nominated for a poll of fan opinion which opens at the weekend.
In the video above, one of Bentley’s former team-mates, Frank Blunstone, the winger who supplied many of the crosses from which his centre-forward colleague scored, describes the player and the man.
Bentley was a Chelsea first – the first to captain the side to a major trophy, the Football League Championship no less – and he was the top scorer and undoubted star attraction in that side too.
Signed in 1948, he was our highest scorer in each of his eight seasons at the club and he brought something new to the central striker’s role by being more mobile than most, dropping deep or moving wide to be involved in play or unsettle defences in a way familiar today.
He played for England at his nation’s first appearance in the World Cup in 1950 but the 1954/55 season was the peak, when he netted 21 times as Chelsea celebrated our 50th anniversary by winning the league title, holding off the challenge of Wolves against whom Bentley had scored twice in a dramatic 4-3 victory away.
Possessing a towering leap and great heading ability, he moved on to Fulham where he became a centre-back but Bentley was a regular visitor at Chelsea games into his nineties before he passed away last year.
The fourth nominated player will be announced tomorrow.