Chelsea’s Big Dogs
Inside Blue Thu 22 Feb 2018
As we celebrate the Year of the Dog on the Lunar calendar, here is a look at some of the most prominent Chelsea players born under this auspicious Chinese zodiac sign.
Born: 17 October 1934
Signed from his home-town club, Crewe Alexandra, as an 18-year-old in 1953, left-winger Frank Blunstone made an immediate impression on Chelsea fans when he scored on his debut in a 3-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur. He went on to become a key player in our first league championship-winning side under Ted Drake in the 1954/55 season and spent over a decade at Stamford Bridge, playing in 347 games for the Blues and scoring 54 goals. After a broken leg forced him to retire as a player at the age of 30 in 1964, he took up a coaching role at Chelsea and subsequently had spells as a manager at Brentford and an assistant manager at Mancheser United.
Born: April 9, 1946
Ostensibly a defender, David Webb is probably the most versatile player in Chelsea’s history, capable of playing in any position across the back four and also being deployed on occasion as a centre-forward or goalkeeper. However, the player who made 299 appearances and scored 33 goals for the Blues is best remembered for his exploits in the 1970 FA Cup final when he headed in our extra-time winner in the replay against Leeds to bring the trophy to Stamford Bridge for the first time. Webb left Chelsea for Queens Park Rangers in 1974 but he returned 19 years later as our interim manager following the departure of Ian Porterfield and guided us to a safe mid-table position in the inaugural Premier League season.
Born: November 27, 1958
A product of our youth system, John Bumstead made his professional debut for Chelsea as a 19-year-old in 1978 and became a mainstay in central midfield for us during the 1980s. Combative, tough-tackling and a popular figure with Blues fans, Bumstead played 409 games for the club over 13 years, putting him 11th on our list of all-time appearances. He also chipped in with 44 goals during his time at Stamford Bridge including a strike against Leeds United in April 1989 which clinched our promotion from the Second Division.
Roberto Di Matteo
Born: 29 May, 1970
Born exactly a month after Chelsea’s FA Cup replay triumph in 1970, Roberto Di Matteo brought much success to the Blues as both a player and manager. The Italian midfielder wrote his name in Chelsea folklore with a 30-yard screamer after 43 seconds in our FA Cup final victory against Middlesbrough in 1997, and repeated his magic touch at Wembley by also scoring in victories in the League Cup final against Boro in 1998 and FA Cup final against Aston Villa in 2000. Injury forced him to retire as a player at 31 but he returned to the Bridge in 2011 as an assistant manager and took charge when Andre Villas-Boas left the club in March 2012. What followed was the stuff of legend as Di Matteo led us to victory in the FA Cup before masterminding our first-ever Champions League triumph against all the odds in Munich.
Born: 20 May, 1982
The most decorated goalkeeper in club history, Petr Cech won just about every honour available during his glorious 11-year spell at Stamford Bridge. Along with four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and a Europa League, he also won several individual awards with the Blues including three Premier League Golden Gloves and the Chelsea Player of the Year award in 2010/11 as well as setting the club record for clean sheets with 228 in 494 appearances. He saved a penalty in our 2010 FA Cup victory over Portsmouth but reserved his best for the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich as he kept out an Arjen Robben penalty in extra-time and stopped two more in the shoot-out to help us become the first London club to win the competition.