Chelsea: Top 50 Greatest Blues Players to Grace Stamford Bridge

Jack Alexandros Rathborn@@jackrathbornContributor IIISeptember 29, 2011

Chelsea: Top 50 Greatest Blues Players to Grace Stamford Bridge

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    Attempting to list the greatest 50 players in Chelsea's history was not easy. 

    After researching the 50 most deserving, it was even more challenging to list them in order, but here it is.

    It would be great to know what fans think and who would have made the list that did not. Maybe I missed somebody?

    Who deserves to be higher up on the list and who is overrated and could perhaps be lower down or not on the list at all?

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading through a list of amazing players who have gifted Chelsea plenty of great moments in over 100 years.

    Maybe there will be some players you did not hear of before. If that is the case, then I hope this article can bring some great players to the attention of some of Chelsea's newer fans.

    Come on the Chels!

50. George Weah

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    Geroge Weah only enjoyed a brief loan spell with the club, playing 11 times and scoring three goals.

    But he has to be on this list for two reasons.

    Weah was the World Player of the Year in 1995 and is one of the greatest players of all time, so it was an honor for Blues fans to see him play at Stamford Bridge.

    Weah arrived at Stamford Bridge less than 24 hours before his debut in the derby against archrivals Tottenham Hotspur, and he came on with three minutes remaining to grab the winner in a 1-0 victory. Priceless.

49. Marvin Hinton

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    Marvin Hinton was a loyal Chelsea player, often making substitute appearances, but he was always prepared to help the team out, as he made 344 appearances with four goals.

    Hinton was in the provisional England World Cup winning side of 1966, but he never played a full international.

    Perhaps he is most famously remembered for being the victim of a joke by his former manager Tommy Docherty, as the gaffer bit Hinton’s neck before shouting at him “explain that to your wife!”

48. Paul Canoville

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    Paul Canoville endured a torrid beginning to his Chelsea career, as he was subjected to racist abuse.

    He joined the Blues in 1981 as the club’s first ever black player.

    He ignored the taunts and won over the fans to eventually earn his own song.

    Canoville played 103 games for the Blues scoring 15 times.

47. John Bumstead

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    John Bumstead was a loyal servant to the club who played 339 games over 13 years.

    Bumstead had Chelsea in his bloodm, with his mother also working for the club.

    He was part of the 1984 Second Division winning side.

46. Terry Venables

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    Played over 200 times for the Blues in a frustrating period in the 60s, where Chelsea just missed out on League and FA Cup success.

    His time with the club was capped, though, with a League Cup victory in 1965, where he scored.

45. William Foulke

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    The cult hero only played one season for the Blues in 1905, the year the club was founded.

    He was made club captain and instilled a professional attitude with only 100 percent effort acceptable. It was not uncommon for the large goalkeeper to walk off the pitch if he was not satisfied with his teammates' effort.

    He was enormous, weighing in at 24 stone (150 kg/331 lbs), which earned him the nickname “Fatty.”

    He was indirectly responsible for the invention of ball boys and was also known for picking up opposition by the ankles and dragging them through the mud if they disagreed with him.

    If only Fatty was around today.

44. Micky Droy

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    Everybody needs players like this, an uncompromising center back who would head everything away.

    Micky Droy spent 15 years with the Blues in a roller coaster period that included relegation to the second division, promotion back to the first division and relegation again before another promotion year culminating in 1984.

    He was Chelsea Player of the Year in 1978 and played 278 league games.

43. Peter Houseman

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    Peter Houseman scored in the FA Cup final in 1971 and amassed 269 games as a tricky left winger.

    He was famous for never missing a match in 1969-70 season.

    He was instrumental in beating Bruges in the Cup Winners' Cup and equally as vital in the final against Real Madrid.

    Houseman tragically died in 1977 at the age of just 31.

42. David Webb

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    David Webb was a right back or centre back and played 230 times in the league for the Blues.

    Webb was famous for overcoming a nightmare in the FA Cup final of 1970 before coming back in the replay against Leeds United with a stellar display that was capped off with a winning goal.

41. George Mills

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    George Mills scored 125 goals in 239 games for the deadly striker who amazingly was not the guaranteed starter throughout his career.

    It seems that strikers who scored goals regularly in the 20s were not that fashionable.

    He endeared himself to the club’s fans by staying with the team for his entire career from 1929-1943 and played three times for England, scoring as many goals.

40. Dan Petrescu

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    The Romanian was a terrific right back and right midfielder.

    He became a cult hero with the fans.

    Super Dan played over 200 times and won the FA Cup in 1997 with the Blues before a League Cup and Cup Winners’ Club double in 1998 sealed a brilliant period in Petrescu's career.

39. Frank Le Boeuf

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    Frank Le Boeuf was a rock at the back with Marcel Desailly and made a name for himself as a superb centre back who was capable of scoring some of the greatest goals you will ever see a defender score.

    The long range screamer away to Leicester City particularly springs to mind.

    The French World Cup winner played over 200 games for the Blues and eventually vacated his position as John Terry came through the ranks.

38. Graeme Le Saux

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    Graeme Le Saux was a super left back who bombed up and down the left wing.

    Le Saux played over 300 times for the club.

    He became the most expensive defender in English football at the time, as the Blues paid £5million for his services in 1997.

    He endured terrible homophobic abuse but earned respect from all by dealing with it so admirably.

37. Clive Walker

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    Walker was a speedy winger who was perhaps as important in the club’s history as those responsible for the glittering trophy winning years.

    Walker saved the club from relegation to the third division in 1983 and an oblivious future with a goal on the final day of the season to defeat Bolton.

    He will also be remembered for claiming goals in two famous scalps of European Champions Liverpool in 1978 and 1982.

36. Eddie McCreadie

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    McCreadie played over 400 times for the club and was another quality left back who spent over a decade at the club.

    He is famous for his 80-yard mesmerising run, which is said to be the greatest goal ever seen at Stamford Bridge, which proved the winner in the 1965 League Cup  win.

35. Glenn Hoddle

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    Famous for success earlier in his career, Hoddle arrived in the Autumn of his career at Stamford Bridge and as one of the greats of English football.

    The Blues were privileged enough to experience his class even for just two seasons.

34. Ruud Gullit

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    Ruud Gullit may not have spent his best years with the club, but he was one of the greats in world football, so surely he qualifies for this list.

    He later manager the side to trophies and was a huge fan favourite known as “Ruudy.”

33. Steve Clarke

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    Steve Clarke is in the running to be the greatest right back the club has ever seen, accruing a huge 330 games for the Blues and being part of several trophy winning seasons at the end of the nineties.

    Clarke was then integral to Chelsea as an assistant to José Mourinho in the back-to-back league title successes.

32. Michael Essien

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    Michael Essien arrived for a then club record £24m transfer and has proven, despite a string of injuries, to be one of the best players in the world for his position.

    Essien scored a famous goal against Arsenal to snatch a draw with a swerving long range pile driver.

    The Blues will be praying he can recover to his world class best once more.

    So far, he has made 224 appearances and scored 25 goals.

31. Arjen Robben

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    Perhaps he never reached his very best with the Blues and physically could not adapt to the Premier League but he showed sporadically in his time with Chelsea that he possessed magic in his boots and was capable of winning a match on his own.

    Simply put, Robben was impossible to defend against with searing pace and close control.

    Robben was capable of scoring some incredible goals.

    One that will be particularly well remembered was the opener in the last game between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Gunners’ old stadium Highbury.

30. Gianluca Vialli

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    Another legend who played at the club towards the end of his career and provided the fans with plenty of joyous moments.

    Despite being in decline, Luca scored 40 goals in 78 games in all competitions.

    He will be remembered fondly for inspiring the Blues to one of the greatest wins in recent times with a 4-2 win over Liverpool, Vialli scoring two.

29. Ian Hutchinson

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    A legend at the club and sadly missed, Hutchinson was a huge part of the success in the 70s with the Blues.

    He is famous for scoring the equaliser in the 1971 FA Cup final first leg against Leeds United before launching a long throw in the second leg to assist the winning goal.

    In all, he played 119 times for the Blues and scored 44 goals.

    He is missed by all but remembered always.

28. Ricardo Carvalho

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    Ricardo Carvalho can be counted as one of Europe’s greatest defenders during the decade between 2000 and 2009, and he spent much of this time with Chelsea.

    Forming a superb partnership with John Terry that became the best defence in the land, Carvalho also became a fan favourite for being able to carry the ball out from the back and join the attack.

    Three Premier League titles among his Chelsea honours mean he is certainly a candidate for greatest centre back the club has ever seen.

    The Portuguese made 210 appearances and scored 11 times.

27. Eidur Gudjohnsen

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    Eidur Gudjohnson was one half of one of the greatest strike partnerships in Premier League history with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

    The Iceland international added the creative touch and possessed genius moments such as the bicycle kick he scored against Leeds Utd.

    Gudjohnsen played 261 games for the Blues and 78 goals.

26. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

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    Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was a superb signing for Chelsea in 2000 for a club record of £15 million that he repaid with plenty of goals.

    The Dutchman was famous for almost breaking the net every time he scored; he hit it that hard.

    A prolific finisher with 70 goals in 136 games in the league and half of one of the greatest strike partnerships the Premier League has ever seen with Eidur Gudjohnsen.

25. Tommy Baldwin

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    Tommy Baldwin preceded the glory years at the beginning of the 70s before being integral to that particular era.

    He played in the 1967 FA Cup final that the Blues lost to Tottenham Hotspur before being a part of the trophy wins in 1970 (FA Cup) and 1971 (Cup Winners' Cup).

    Baldwin scored 74 goals in 187 games.

24. Roberto Di Matteo

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    Di Matteo was an iconic box-to-box midfielder who was part of the Italian job in the late 90s and will be fondly remembered in English football in general for scoring, at the time, the fastest goal in FA Cup final history.

    Roberto Di Matteo made 155 appearances and 26 goals and won two FA Cups, one League Cup and a Cup Winners' Cup.

    He is now back at the club as assistant to Andre Villas Boas.

23. Ashley Cole

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    England’s greatest ever left back controversially moved to Chelsea in 2006. Cole has proven all critics wrong and shown his best form in his career with the Blues and continued to win trophies that dried up towards the end of his time at Arsenal.

    Chelsea’s players’ Player of the Year in 2009 and 2011 also scored the goal of the season for the Blues in 2009/10.

    Ashley Cole has made 216 appearances so far, and at just 30, he should be able to double that if he stays healthy.

22. Pat Nevin

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    Perhaps the best player of the 80, with a string of dazzling displays to help Dixon rack up the goals and leave opposition defenders on their back sides.

    He was the Player of the Year in the promotion winning 1984 season.

    Pat Nevin played 242 games and scored 45 goals.

21. David Speedie

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    He was part of one of the greatest strike partnerships the Blues have ever seen alongside Kerry Dixon.

    He became the first player since Geoff Hurst (1966) to score a hat-trick at Wembley in 1986 against Manchester City in the Full Members’ Final.

    Speedie made 162 appearances with 47 goals.

20. Peter Bonetti

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    Peter Bonetti was Chelsea’s greatest ever goalkeeper until the Abramovich era, and for traditionalists, he still is.

    The Cat racked up 600 appearances for the Blues, and not only was he part of the side in the early 70s that won an FA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup, but Bonetti preceded the good times and was part of the side that finished runner up in the old second division.

19. Kerry Dixon

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    Legendary goal scorer who played 420 times, notching up 193 goals.

    Kerry DIxon is the second highest goal scorer in the club’s history.

    He was instrumental in helping Chelsea storm to the Second Division title in 1984 and promotion back to the top tier.

18. Alan Hudson

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    Alan Hudson spent six brilliant years with Chelsea as part of the famous side of the early seventies.

    The flair centre midfielderm, if you like, he was dealt the task of setting up the likes of Peter Osgood and Ian Hutchinson.

    Integral to the Chelsea glory years in the 70s, he could have made a much more prolonged impact had it not been for unforeseen circumstances.

    Had Chelsea not accrued debt over the extension of the stadium, then Hudson would have played with the Blues for many more years.

    He played 189 games and scored 15 times.

17. Ray Wilkins

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    Ray Wilkins began a glittering career with the Blues before representing Manchester United and AC Milan among others.

    Butch began a superb England career with Chelsea and went on to be the assistant manager in the club’s latest Championship winning side.

16. Jimmy Greaves

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    Simply put, he is among England’s greatest ever strikers, and despite featuring more prominently for Tottenham Hotspur later on, he began his illustrious career with the Blues with 124 goals in 157 games, which earned him an England call up and eventually led to 44 goals in 57 games.

    Greaves was a top scorer in 1959 and 1961 in the league with the Blues, and the latter’s tally is a record to the day with 41 goals.

15. Petr Cech

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    Cech arrived in 2004 and is fast becoming not only Chelsea’s greatest ever goalkeeper, but one of the best Europe has ever seen.

    He survived a horrific injury to regain his form in recent years and holds the record for fewest games to gain 100 clean sheets, just 180.

    Chech also set a record breaking 25 clean sheets in Chelsea’s title winning season of 2004/05.

    Petr is just 29 years old and has made over 300 appearances already. If he stays healthy, there are 10 more years in him at the top, and all records could be broken.

14. John Hollins

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    John Hollins spent two spells with the club he loved so much and became a legend in his first spell by playing 436 times, predominantly as a midfielder.

    After his second spell with the club, he took his total appearances with Chelsea to 592, with 64 goals in total.

    His played a prominent role in defeating Leicester in the 1965 League Cup final and then supplied the cross from a quick Ron Harris free kick that Ian Hutchinson equalised from against Leeds in the dying moments.

13. Claude Makelele

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    Claude Makelele was the “missing piece in the jigsaw,” according to Jose Mourinho, in getting the second league title in their history.

    Makelele has a position named after him, and Chelsea have not really replaced him since he left the club in 2008.

    The Frenchman played 216 times with just two goals, winning six trophies in his highly successful spell with the club.

    Some might be surprised by how high up on this list he is, but it is only in hindsight, like Real Madrid, that we realised how special this player was.

12. Roy Bentley

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    Bentley was a tremendous center forward who cemented his name in Chelsea history with one of the most prolific goal scoring records the club has ever seen.

    He scored 150 goals in 367 games, and the ex-Chelsea marksman was unlucky to not feature more for England, scoring nine times in just 12 appearances.

11. Marcel Desailly

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    One of the all time greats, Desailly was part of the France team that won the World Cup in 1998, and he was as superb for the Blues too.

    He claimed the 2000 FA Cup to cement a place in Chelsea history and taught John Terry everything he knows about defending.

    The Rock played 204 games and scored seven goals, the most important one being the equaliser against Liverpool in the last game before Roman Abramovich took the club over.

    Without that comeback, Chelsea may never have been taken over and become so successful in the modern era.

10. Dennis Wise

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    Wise was a little terrier of a midfielder who gave everything on the pitch and was loved by Chelsea fans in his time at the club.

    He played 438 games for the Blues over a decade and cemented his legacy, as he left everything on the pitch.

    Wise won six trophies with the club from 1990 to 2001 and now has a song dedicated to him for his goal he scored away to AC Milan in the Champions League.

9. Charlie Cooke

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    Charlie Cooke was known as the “Wizard of the Dribble” and will be remembered for a mesmerizing dribble and cross that set up Peter Osgood for the equaliser in the 1970 FA Cup replay to force an eventual extra time win.

    He was at the centre of everything good about Chelsea in his time. He made 373 appearances and scored 30 goals.

8. George Hilsdon

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    A phenomenal striker who played for the Blues in the opening years after the club’s founding in 1905, Hilsdon joined the club in 1906 and promptly scored goals like they were going out of fashion.

    He helped Chelsea to the first division in just the third year of their existence.

    He was the first Chelsea player to score 100 goals for the club, ending with 108 from 164 games.

    Hilsdon's England record should be noted, too, eight games and 14 goals.

    He also has the distinguished achievement of being the first Blue to play for England.

7. Didier Drogba

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    Didier Drogba is one of the greatest strikers ever to play for Chelsea.

    The Ivorian has persistently proven critics wrong after many rival fans, and the press criticised him for his on field behaviour, but Drogba has done the business on the pitch, with 310 games and 145 goals thus far.

    He is an African icon, and Chelsea can be proud that he has enjoyed his greatest years with the club.

    Drogba scored the only goal in the 1-0 win at the first FA Cup final at the new Wembley against Manchester United.

    Fans will look back and realise what a privilege it was to witness a player that when on form was undoubtedly the best striker in world football.

6. Ron Harris

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    The snarling captain capable of scaring the life out of the opposition with his notorious tough tackling.

    Ron Chopper Harris played 795 appearances and is predominantly known for his tough tackling, but he was also very fast in the mind.

    His quick thinking in taking a free kick early led to Ian Hutchinson, sending the 1970 FA Cup final against Leeds United to a replay that the Blues would eventually win.

    Harris is the leading Chelsea appearance holder in the club's history and led the club to three honours.

5. Bobby Tambling

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    Chelsea’s all time top goal scorer with 202 goals in 370 games, Bobby Tambling also scored five goals in one game, a record for the club, against Aston Villa.

    His solitary trophy was the League Cup in 1965.

    Tambling played just three times for England and scored once.

4. Peter Osgood

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    Peter Osgood is a legend.

    Ossie was not only a prolific goalscorer, but a glamourous player who scored at vital times, including being one of only nine players to have scored in every round of the FA Cup in one season, and currently the last player to do so.

    HIs best goal was a diving header in the final against Leeds United.

    The following year, he made his mark in Europe by scoring in both legs of the European Cup Winners’ Cup Final in 1971 against Real Madrid and helping Chelsea to that title.

    Osgood scored 105 goals in 289 games.

3. Frank Lampard

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    Frank Lampard is a phenomenon.

    Son of Frank Lampard, Sr. he arrived at Chelsea from West Ham for a fee of £11m and has since repaid that fee multiple times over.

    He notched up a monumental 517 appearances and an unmatched 172 goals for a midfielder, as well as 110 assists.

    Lampard played a crucial part in Chelsea’s first league title in 50 years, scoring the title clincher in a memorable match away to Bolton.

2. John Terry

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    John Terry is a charismatic captain who has led the club during the most successful period in its history.

    JT has amassed a total of 11 honours, including three league titles.

    Terry has played over 500 games for the club and counting and is still waiting for that elusive Champions League title that could just take him to the number one spot here.

    Terry was the PFA Players' Player of the Year in 2005 and named in the FIFPro World XI for four seasons, running between 2005 and 2008 as well as being named in the All Star team for the FIFA World Cup in 2006.

    He was also the first player to score a full international goal at the new Wembley stadium.

1. Gianfranco Zola

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    Gianfranco Zola is and probably always will be the greatest player in Chelsea’s history.

    He charmed the club and its supportersm as well as all rival fans.

    The Sardinian had magic in his boots and inspired the Blues to six honours, including two FA Cups and a famous UEFA double, the Cup Winners Cup and the Super Cup (against Real Madrid).

    Zola arrived from Parma in Italy and promptly scored 80 goals in 297 games, but was much more important than just numbers, as any true blue will testify.

    Follow me on Twitter for world football opinion (including Chelsea) at @jackalexandros or over at @FRcalcioJack for the latest in Italian football.