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Club history

1940s Summary

Chelsea v Manchester United, 1947

William Birrell (1939-52)
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The authorities had learned the lessons from World War One that the continuation of football was ‘good for morale’ during a conflict. As in 1915 the national contests were broken down into regions and footballers joined up. Again service postings or periods of leave led to guest appearances. 

Stamford Bridge remained an attractive draw and Matt Busby, Joe Mercer, George Hardwick and Walter Winterbottom were among the seminal names of other teams to turn out in the royal blue. 

Middlesbrough legend Hardwick figured in two finals of the Football League South Cup for the Pensioners, the second a 2-0 triumph over Millwall in 1945 watched by the King, Queen and Princess Elizabeth. 

When peace resumed the seeds of a foresighted and innovative new player development scheme, initially called Tudor Rose and conceived by manager Billy Birrell before the war, were finally sown in 1947. 

In a few years the harvest would become more bounteous than many had imagined possible. In the meantime and in familiar Chelsea fashion, box office signings such as Tommy Lawton, Len Goulden, Tommy Walker and Roy Bentley would join staffers like Ron Greenwood and Johnny Harris as post-war football boomed. 

An enormous crowd was drawn to the famous friendly with Moscow Dynamo in 1945 and three years later the original Chelsea Supporters (Away) Club was founded. 

Chelsea’s association with bright lights of the West End began to thrive too: Richard, later Lord Attenborough began his long association with the club after training with Lawton and co. to sharpen up for his role in the British gangster film, ‘Brighton Rock’. Attenborough would usher dozens of Hollywood icons through the gates of the Bridge, sprinkling stardust along the Fulham Road. 

Football’s first magazine-style programme, launched in 1948, showed Chelsea were still ahead of the game marketing-wise.


Spirit Of The Age

The wartime rationing of goods to the British population began in earnest on 8 January 1940, requiring coupons to purchase everything from food to fuel because of scarcity. ‘Dig For Victory’ posters soon had allotments producing 1.3m tonnes of vegetables a year. 

Key Players

Chelsea's Scottish contingent in training, 1947

Tommy Lawton (1946-47)
Tommy Walker (1946-49)
Dick Spence (1934-50)
View Former Player Profiles>

Key Matches : 1940-1949



1940s Matchday Programme Cover


Players of the 1930s

Player Years Total Apps Total Goals
ALEXANDER, David1939-4510
ALLISTER, Jack1949-5241
ARGUE, Jimmy1933-4712535
ARMSTRONG, Ken1946-5740230
BAIN, Jimmy1945-47141
BARBER, George1930-412941
BATHGATE, Sid1946-531470
BENTLEY, Roy1948-56367150
BIDEWELL, Sidney1937-4642
BILLINGTON, Hugh1948-518932
BOWIE, Jimmy1944-518422
BUCHANAN, Peter1936-46406
BURGESS, Harry1935-4215538
CAMPBELL, Bobby1947-5421340
DAVIDSON, Alex1946-4820
DICKIE, Murdoch1945-4710
DICKSON, Bill1947-531194
DOLDING, Len1945-48272
DYKE, Charles1947-51252
FOSS, Dick1936-52483
GALLOWAY, John1946-4940
GODDARD, Ray1946-48151
GOULDEN, Len1945-5011119
GRAY, Billy1949-5317215
GRIFFITHS. Robert1931-41450
HANSON, Alf1938-46439
HARRIS, John1945-5636414
HUGHES, Billy1948-511050
JACKSON, John1933-42510
JENKINS, Thomas1949-5150
JONES, Benny1947-536213
LAWTON, Tommy1945-475335
LEADBETTER, James1949-5230
LEWIS, Fred1946-53260
MACAULAY, James1946-51945
MACHIN, Alex1944-48619
MAYES, Arnold1935-46130
McINNES, John1947-51375
McKNIGHT, Philip1947-54331
MEDHURST, Harry1946-521570
MILLS, George1929-43239125
MITCHELL, Billy1933-451183
MITCHELL, Frank1949-52851
O’HARE, John1932-411080
PATON, John1946-47233
PAYNE, Joe1938-464722
PICKERING, Peter1948-51350
RICHARDSON, Fred1946-4720
ROBERTSON, Bill G1946-602150
ROBERTSON, Bill H1945-48430
RUSSELL, Robert1944-4840
SALMOND, Bob1938-45290
SAUNDERS, John1948-54600
SHERBORNE, Jack1936-4450
SIMNER, Joe1947-4910
SMALE, Douglas1937-4590
SMITH, Arthur1938-45490
SPENCE, Dick1934-5024666
STEFFEN, Willi1946-47200
TENNANT, Albert1934-5380
WALKER, Tommy1946-4810524
WARREN, Robert1948-5110
WEAVER, Sam1936-451254
WHITE, Alex1937-48180
WILLEMSE, Stan1949-562212
WILLIAMS, Reg1945-517417
WILLIAMS, Reg1945-517417
WINTER, Danny1945-511550
WINTER, Danny1945-511550
WOODLEY, Vic1931-452720

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