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Club history

1950s Summary

The Chelsea Squad, 1959

William Birrell (1939-52)
Ted Drake (1952-61)
View Former Manager Profiles>

Chelsea’s immense support had kept the faith after the war and, hungry for the familiar thrills and escapism, almost 70,000 watched Chelsea draw with neighbours Fulham in the fifth round of the FA Cup at the Bridge. 

The decade began with the narrowest of escapes in May 1951: a 4-0 last-day win meant Billy Birrell’s men finished on 32 points, the same as Everton and Sheffield Wednesday. 

Those goals allowed the Pensioners to cling to the top flight with a 0.044 better goal average. Two of them came from the first significant graduate of the new Chelsea youth scheme, 18-year-old Bobby Smith. Soon Peter Brabrook, Jimmy Greaves and others would join the production line.

In the meantime mere survival was never enough for the ambitious board and in 1952 Birrell made way for a thrusting young boss, Ted Drake. He represented a new generation demanding renewal of a dowdy Britain learning to handle teenage rebellion. 

Drake oversaw a root-and-branch revamp – everything from training methods to the old Pensioner nickname – and boldly predicted league success within three years.

He was as good as his word and the longed-for title came in the club’s jubilee year, 1954/55. 

Floodlights were also finally added to the stadium and further prestigious friendlies scheduled, against the likes of Hidegkuti’s famous Hungarians, along with the resumption of exotic and money-spinning continental trips, including the first of many tours of the United States.  

Disappointingly, Chelsea’s pioneering participation in the inaugural 1955 UEFA European Cup was blocked by the Football League. The new model ‘Blues’ did eventually debut in European competition: the 1957/58 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. 


Spirit Of The Age

B.O.A.C.’s de Havilland Comet IV jet plane opens up a new era of affordable transatlantic travel for Brits longing to hang out in New York. ‘So smooth, so silent, and so quick,’ marvels the Daily Mirror. 

Key Players

Young Jimmy Greaves fires in a shot at goal against Preston at the Bridge

Roy Bentley (1948-56)
Frank Blunstone (1953-64)
Jimmy Greaves (1957-61)
View Former Player Profiles>

Key Matches : 1950-1959



1950s Matchday Programme Cover


Players of the 1950s

Player Years Total Apps Total Goals
ALLEN, Les1954-594911
ALLISTER, Jack1949-5241
ANDERTON, Sylvan1959-62822
ARMSTRONG, Ken1946-5740230
BATHGATE, Sid1946-531470
BELLETT, Walter1954-58351
BENTLEY, Roy1948-56367150
BERRY, Paul1953-6030
BILLINGTON, Hugh1948-518932
BLOCK, Michael1957-62406
BLUNSTONE, Frank1953-6434754
BONETTI, Peter1959-797290
BOWIE, Jimmy1944-518422
BOWMAN, Andy1951-5510
BRABROOK, Peter1955-6227157
BRADBURY, Terry1957-62291
BRIDGES, Barry1958-66203+293
BROOKS, Johnny1959-61527
CAMPBELL, Bobby1947-5421340
CASEY, Len1954-58370
CLISS, David1956-62241
COLLINS, Michael1951-5710
COMPTON, John1955-60120
CORTHINE, Peter1957-6020
COURT, Colin1954-5910
CROWTHER, Stan1958-61580
D’ARCY, Jimmy1951-523113
DICKS, Alan1951-58381
DICKSON, Bill1947-531194
DYKE, Charles1947-51252
EDWARDS, Bob1951-55132
FOSS, Dick1936-52483
GIBBS, Derek1955-60256
GOULDEN, Len1945-5011119
GRAY, Billy1949-5317215
GREAVES, Jimmy1957-61169132
GREENWOOD, Ron1952-55660
HARRIS, John1945-5636414
HARRISON, Michael1957-62649
HINSHELWOOD, Wally1951-51141
HOLTON, Pat1959-6010
HUGHES, Billy1948-511050
HUGHES, Harry1951-5210
HUXFORD, Cliff1955-5970
JENKINS, Thomas1949-5150
JONES, Benny1947-536213
KELL, Len1952-5430
KITCHENER, Ray1954-5610
LAVERICK, Robert1955-5970
LEADBETTER, James1949-5230
LEWIS, Fred1946-53260
LEWIS, Jim1952-589540
LIVESEY, Charlie1959-614218
LIVINGSTONE, William1955-59220
MACAULAY, James1946-51945
MACFARLANE, Ian1956-58430
MATTHEWS, Reg1956-611480
McINNES, John1947-51375
McKNIGHT, Philip1947-54331
McMILLAN, Eric1958-6050
McNICHOL, John1952-5820266
MEDHURST, Harry1946-521570
MITCHELL, Frank1949-52851
MORTIMORE, John1956-6527910
NICHOLAS, Brian1955-58291
NICHOLAS, Tony1955-606320
O’CONNELL, Seamus1954-561712
OELOFSE, Ralph1951-5380
PARSONS, Eric1950-5617742
PICKERING, Peter1948-51350
RANDALL, Ernie1950-5331
ROBERTSON, Bill G1946-602150
SAUNDERS, Derek1953-592239
SAUNDERS, John1948-54600
SCOTT, Mel1956-631040
SHELLITO, Ken1957-691232
SILLETT, John1954-621021
SILLETT, Peter1953-6228834
SMITH, Bobby1950-558630
SMITH, James1951-55233
SPECTOR, Miles1952-5360
SPENCE, Dick1934-5024666
STUBBS, Les1952-5812335
TAMBLING, Bobby1958-70366+4202
TENNANT, Albert1934-5380
THOMSON, Charlie ‘Chick’1952-57590
TICKRIDGE, Sid1951-55730
TINDALL, Ron1953-6117469
TUCK, Peter1951-5431
WARREN, Robert1948-5110
WHITTAKER, Dick1952-60510
WICKS, Stan1954-56811
WICKS, Stan1954-56811
WILLEMSE, Stan1949-562212
WILLIAMS, Reg1945-517417
WILLIAMS, Reg1945-517417
WINTER, Danny1945-511550
WINTER, Danny1945-511550

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