5 of the Most Iconic Chelsea Hard Men
Looking at it from purely an entertainment point of view, it's slightly disappointing to think about the decline of the "hard man" in football.
As the game evolves to a more technical and fitness-based foundation, long gone are the days of players put into the midfield or defence simply to rough up an opponent.
It's a shame, considering some of the success stories of players who have based their careers around being a tough and intimidating. The likes of Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira were among those who certainly earned their fair share of red cards.
The only notable modern-day version of the pair is Lee Cattermole, and many critics purely see him as a dangerous player, rather than a "hard man."
Looking back with a sense of nostalgia, we visit five of Chelsea's most iconic hard men to have plied their trade at Stamford Bridge.
He only spent a season with the Blues in his 16-year career, but Vinnie Jones was a figure that you simply did not mess with.
Standing at 6'1", Jones was a towering midfielder who was your ideal hard-tackling man in the middle. certainly not afraid to dive into challenges and win the ball in the air.
He was sent off a whopping 12 times in his career, and still holds the record for the fastest booking in English football after bringing down Sheffield United player Dane Whitehouse just three seconds from kickoff.
Jones also once grabbed Paul Gascoigne's testicles during a match in an attempt to distract him from the game, a moment that has gone down in history and earned him his reputation.
But it was off the pitch where Jones mainly got in trouble. He missed an FA disciplinary hearing, which resulted in a four-month ban from football. Worst of all, he released a controversial film, Soccer's Hard Men, in 1992 that encouraged people to become "hard men" and was fined £20,000 for bringing the game into disrepute.
Even despite his lack of discipline, Jones made 42 appearances in his solitary season at Stamford Bridge, scoring four goals, before moving on to Wimbledon.
There's a song about Dennis Wise, which cannot be repeated here for obvious reasons. But it shows that even 14 years after scoring against AC Milan in the San Siro, Chelsea fans fondly remember his name.
His controversial, tough-nut figure was one of the reasons for his success. He played alongside Vinnie Jones in the centre of midfield in the 1991-92 season and was the Blues' top scorer with 14 goals.
After making a total of 445 appearances spanning over an 11-year career, Wise is regarded as one of the most iconic Chelsea players for his commitment and passion while playing in the Chelsea shirt.
Nevertheless, if his lack of discipline wasn't such an issue, he may have enjoyed a host of more games for the club. It was a serious problem, with Wise incredibly missing 15 games in the 1998-99 season due to suspension.
Accorcing to a report from Martin Lipton in the Mirror, Sir Alex Ferguson once said that Wise was so fiery that he could "start a fight in an empty house," and to be fair to the retired manager, he was probably right.
Chelsea's current captain will go down as one of the most heralded players in the history of the club, with his unrivaled commitment to the club and the fact he is approaching 600 appearances for the Blues suggesting how vital he has been to their cause.
It's that commitment that makes Terry such a valuable asset from the back, constantly delivering leadership and guidance to his teammates.
And to have a captain like Terry who leads by such a professional example on the pitch is crucial. He puts his body on the line to ensure that the club emerge victorious, and one may remember when he was knocked out accidentally by Abou Diaby's stray boot in the 2007 League Cup final.
Of course, like any defender, Terry has experienced his fair share of scuffles. He was sent off for kicking Alexis Sanchez in the Champions League semifinal, meaning he would miss the final against Bayern Munich.
In spite of his incidents on and off the pitch, Terry knows he always has a place reserved in the fans' hearts. And that cannot be taken away from him.
The Ivorian forward has quite rightly earned a reputation for diving, with his theatrical play one of the reasons for his inability to gain the referee's trust.
But as a defender, you know that the former Chelsea striker is not to be angered. A powerful presence in attack, Drogba is the definition of the target man. Into his feet, in the air. He is a force to be reckoned with, and it's evident how much Chelsea miss him.
He only ever made one tackle, which earned him a deserved red card, and that was a two-footed lunge on QPR's Shaun Derry.
While he was never a hard man in terms of the tackles he made, Drogba was one of the toughest strikers to play against.
And while he may not be remembered for that, his heroics in Munich will do enough to make up for that.
Ron "Chopper" Harris
An uncompromising tackler, Harris did not get the nickname "Chopper" for nothing.
Widely regarded as one of the toughest defenders of his generation, Harris was a Chelsea player between 1961-1980, where he made 795 appearances, the all-time record at the club.
A winner of the European Cup Winners' Cup, FA Cup and League Cup, Harris experienced all the ups and downs at Stamford Bridge, getting relegated twice and also gaining promotion once.
He lost the Chelsea captaincy to a young Ray Wilkins towards the end of his career but, with his appearances total seemingly never going to be bettered, will go down in history as a Chelsea legend.
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