Chelsea do not have a good record of blooding promising youth products into their first team. This week, Charly Musonda took to Instagram to criticise the club over his lack of first-team football this season. That ties in nicely with this week’s player, who was a promising winger who was never really given a proper opportunity to shine at Stamford Bridge.
This week’s Forgotten Blue is Miroslav Stoch.
Playing in his native Slovakia for Nitra, Stoch was highly impressive. Watched by a number of European sides, with Nice looking the most likely side to sign him. It was Chelsea, however, who signed the Slovak. He was immediately put into Chelsea’s reserve and youth sides.
For the under-18s, Stoch quickly became a regular starter. Despite playing out on the wing, he finished as the under-18s top goal scorer with 11 goals. The following season continued in the same vein, and he was promoted into the reserve team.
Despite a promising 2007/08 season, Stoch did not make his first-team debut for Chelsea. Stoch himself believed he was close to making his debut during the season, but would have to wait until November 2008 for that to happen.
In a Premier League fixture at home to Arsenal, Stoch was an 80th-minute substitute, replacing Deco. His first appearance for the Chelsea didn’t end in a win, however, as a Robin van Persie double condemned the Blues to a 2-1 defeat.
He made his second Blues appearance against Stoke City, again as a substitute. Replacing John Obi Mikel, Chelsea were 1-0 down at home. Stoch made his biggest Chelsea contribution in this game, playing a major part in the build-up to Chelsea’s second goal, as the Blues scored two late goals to beat Stoke 2-1.
Stoch would go on to make five appearances during the 2009/10 season for Chelsea. Four of these came in the Premier League, with one also in the FA Cup. He would spend the following season out on loan in the Netherlands.
The Slovakian international signed a season-long loan at Eredivisie FC Twente. He made a good contribution during his spell at De Grolsch Veste. In 32 league appearances, he scored ten times. He also scored a further two in other competitions.
Following his season in the Netherlands, Stoch departed Chelsea permanently in 2010. He signed a deal at Turkish side Fenerbache. He became a regular at the club during his first three seasons at the club, with the 2011/12 season seeing Stoch score 12 goals in 33 league games. The following season, however, saw the player fail to find the net.
Like at Chelsea, Stoch then found himself loaned out to find regular football. He would spend the season in Greece at PAOK. He enjoyed a credible season at the Greek club, scoring ten goals in all competitions. He was sent out on loan the following season, too. He spent a season at Al Ain from the United Arab Emirates, and scored 13 times in all competitions.
After two European appearances for Fenerbahce at the start of the 2015/16 season, Stoch was sent out on loan once again. This time remaining in Turkey, he signed a season-long deal at Bursaspor. His goalscoring form didn’t continue, as he only managed to find the net twice all season.
A number seasons away, Stoch remained at Fenerbache for the 2016/17 season, but did not feature much. In all competitions, the Slovak made 21 appearances. Despite his limited game time, he did manage to score five times.
In August 2017, Stoch left Fenerbache permanently. With many offers reportedly on the table, he decided to join Czech side Slavia Prague. He has already made an impact in the Czech capital, but not positively. After a cup game, Stoch shouted, along with fans, “Smrt Spartě.” That translates to “Death to Sparta.” For this, Stoch faced disciplinary action.
There we have it. Just one of many promising Chelsea youth products that failed to nail regular football. Musonda must impress massively if he is to become a regular at Stamford Bridge.