After a supposed quiet beginning to the summer; according what media outlet you wish to believe, Chelsea have in the space of a month, since the transfer window officially opened, completed the signings of Willy Caballero from Manchester City, Antonio Rudiger joined from AS Roma, Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco and Alvaro Morata joining from Real Madrid to launch a defence of the title and compete once again in the Champions League.
It is the signing of Morata, after what seemed at first glance, that could go on until the end of the transfer window, was actually finalised in a matter of a week, Roman Abramovich acted quickly to secure the striker and broke Chelsea’s record transfer fee when the club splashed out; again depending on which newspaper or Twitter account you follow; £58million for the diminutive Spanish forward.
In this addition of Hall Of Fame we take a look back at some of the 32 footballers in Chelsea’s 112 year existence, who have had the distinction of being the clubs record signing.
Bob McRoberts:– 1905 – 1909, Appearances 104 Goals 10
Bob McRoberts was born in Coatbridge, Scotland. He started his football career at Airdrieonians, before moving onto Albion Rovers in the Scottish Leagues, McRoberts took the express train down South and carved out a career as a defender with Gainsborough Trinity and Small Heath (Birmingham City )before becoming Chelsea’s first £100 footballer in September 1905; on 4th November 1905, as Chelsea beat Barnsley 6-0, McRoberts scored Chelsea’s first ever penalty.
Hughie Gallagher:- 1930 – 1934, Appearances 144 Goals 81
Hugh(Hughie) Kilpatrick Gallagher arrived from Newcastle as part of a summer spending spree, which saw the club also sign his fellow Scottish forwards Alex Jackson and Alec Cheyne, with Gallagher’s transfer being £10,000 – a then club record.
Hughie Gallagher was Chelsea’s top scorer in each of the four seasons he was at the club, the team did play some beautiful football which was highlighted in big scoring wins, such as in a 5-0 win over Sunderland and a 6-2 victory over Manchester United, trophies however proved to Middbe a stumbling block.
Gallagher’s time at the club was as much eventful as it was sometimes controversial, Gallagher received a two month ban following swearing at a referee, in 1934 Gallagher was declared bankrupt after an acrimonious divorce, it was deemed his off field problems were affecting his performances on the pitch and he was sold to Derby County in 1934.
Charlie Cooke:- 1966 – 1972 Appearances 212 Goals 15 & 1974 – 1978 Appearances 87 Goals 7
As part of a restructure of the Club, manager Tommy Docherty broke the clubs transfer record to sign flying winger Charlie Cooke from Dundee, replacing Terry Venables in the process. Cooke made his debut in a 2-0 win over FC Barcelona in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
In the following season, making his League debut for the club, it would be fair to say that Cooke made quite the impression, Cooke danced past England’s World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore before scoring the winner over West Ham United.
Charlie Cooke was one of the stars, in the swashbuckling 1970’s side alongside Alan Hudson, Peter Osgood and Peter Bonetti who won the 1970 FA Cup final – Cooke’s run and cross assist set up Osgood’s equaliser; 1971 European Cup Winners Cup and reached the 1972 League Cup final.
Charlie Cooke left for Crystal Palace in 1972, before re-joining Chelsea in 1974 with his experience proving vital, helping Manager and ex-team mate Eddie McCreadie’s men to promotion in 1976/77.
Dennis Wise:- 1990 – 2001, Appearances 445 Goals 76
‘Ohhhhhhhh Dennis Wise, scored a f**king great goal…….in the San Siro’
A chant that is still sung in the stands at Stamford Bridge to this day and will be sung forever more. Before the Abramovich era – Dennis Wise was, arguably, Chelsea’s most iconic Club Captain since Ron Harris – and before 2005 was the clubs most successful, lifting the 1997 FA Cup Final, 1998 European Cup Winners Cup, 1998 League Cup, 1998 Super Cup & becoming the last captain at the old Wembley to lift the FA Cup in 2000.
Signed from Wimbledon in 1990 for a record fee £1.6million, Wise scored an impressive 13 goals in 44 appearances – the following season Wise was the Clubs top scorer with 14 goals, his best performance coming at Anfield, helping Chelsea secure their first victory over Liverpool there since 1935.
Following the departure of Andy Townsend, Wise became captain, this seemed befitting of his ever growing stature within the side.
Dennis Wise was known for his ill discipline at times in a Blues shirt, with a high profile court case after assaulting a London taxi driver, then Manager Glenn Hoddle stripping him of the captaincy following the incident. Wise would later captain the side to victory over Middlesbrough at Wembley in the FA Cup final – only the club’s second FA Cup success.
Wise’s beautifully lobbed pass assist, spotting Gianfranco Zola’s run, helped Chelsea secure the European Cup Winners Cup the following season against Stuttgart in Stockholm.
Arguably Wise’s most iconic moment in Chelsea Blue, came at the San Siro in the club’s debut Champions League campaign in 1999, losing 1-0 to a 74th minute Oliver Bierhoff strike, just three minutes later, Dennis Wise latched on to a teasing Roberto Di Matteo pass and with the touch of a born again striker, Wise slid the ball under the advancing Milan keeper Christian Abbiati to send the travelling Blue contingent into raptures.
Like with all footballers time caught up with the Chelsea Legend, new manager Claudio Ranieri wanted to reduce the age of the squad, with Dennis Wise moving on to Leicester in 2001.
A true Chelsea Legend; Ohhhhhhh Dennis Wise.
Roberto Di Matteo:- 1996 – 2002 Appearances 175 Goals 26
Roberto Di Matteo arrived in the summer of 1996 for a then club record fee of £4.9million from SS Lazio. Di Matteo was part of a foreign revolution sweeping the club, Ruud Gullit had arrived the season before and was now Chelsea Manager, Frank Lebouef joined from Strasbourg and Gianluca Vialli, fresh from winning the European Cup with Juventus also joined in that summer – and before transfer windows, Gianfranco Zola signed from Parma in the November of 1996.
Di Matteo’s natural ability in midfield, particularly his passing ability and his accurate long distance shooting, became one of the driving forces of this ‘new Chelsea’ of the late 1990’s; stunning goals from distance against Wimbledon and Tottenham Hotspur, quickly establishing himself a fans favourite – thus helping the Blues to their best League position since 1989/90 – sixth place.
His thrust to legend status came in May, at Wembley in the FA Cup Final; receiving the ball in midfield after early Middlesbrough possession, Di Matteo ran at the Middlesbrough defence, with space opening up, he let fly with a trademark finish and with 43 seconds on the clock, scored the quickest goal in a FA Cup final – since beaten by Louis Saha, ironically against Chelsea.
Roberto Di Matteo, repeated the feat again the following season, scoring against the same opponents, this time in the League Cup final. Di Matteo was at it again in 2000, this time scoring the winner in the last FA Cup final at the old Wembley – Di Matteo commenting after the match ‘it’s a shame they are tearing the old place down, it has been a lucky ground for me.
A horrific injury in a Uefa Cup match away at St Gallen brought a premature end to his playing career at the age of 31. In gratitude for his contribution to the transformation of the club, manager Claudio Ranieri handed Di Matteo the honour of leading the side out at the 2002 FA Cup Final.
Di Matteo added to his legend when as manager, he led the Club to its maiden Champions League success.
Didier Drogba:- 2004 – 2012 & 2014 – 2015 Appearances 341 Goals 157
Jose Mourinho had been installed as manager and had set his sights on becoming the first Chelsea Manager in 50 years to become the League champions. The club had already secured the summer signings of Petr Cech, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreria and Arjen Robben – what they needed was a powerful front man – what Mourinho and Chelsea needed was Didier Drogba.
Drogba scored in only his third game for the Blues, away at Crystal Palace, it was a goal that Premier League defences would grow used to in the years to come – a cross from the flank, to which the Ivorian rose above everyone to head home.
A goal in extra time helped ensure the club to a 3-2 League Cup success over Liverpool, which propelled the club to it’s first league title in 50 years. Drogba began the following season in devastating fashion – a brace in the Charity Shield against Arsenal, Chelsea went on to become only the second side in the Premier League era to retain the title with Drogba’s 16 goals being a huge factor.
After Damien Duff left Stamford Bridge, Didier Drogba claimed the Number 11 shirt, in doing so, the season became somewhat of a personal success for the striker, as he hit 33 goals in all competitions, including 20 in the League – claiming the Golden Boot, becoming the first Chelsea striker since Kerry Dixon to win the accolade.
He scored both goals in the League Cup final win over London rivals Arsenal and scored the winner over Manchester United in the first FA Cup final at the new Wembley, becoming the first player since Norman Whiteside in 1983 and Mark Hughes in 1984 to score in both domestic finals in the same year, Drogba becoming the first to player to be on the winning side after scoring in those finals.
Drogba would go on to score in nine of the the ten finals that he would be involved in, losing only once; in that streak of final goals he became the first player to score in four FA Cup finals.
His most iconic and most important was on that unforgettable night in Munich, with only seconds on the clock remaining and from Chelsea’s only corner of the night, Didier Drogba rose highest from Juan Mata’s corner to head in the equaliser to take the game in extra time; after surviving a saved penalty in extra time – which Drogba gave away, a penalty shoot out was to decide the final, seeing penalties saved from Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Drogba stepped up to convert the most famous penalty in Chelsea’s history – winning the club it’s first Champions League.
It was to be Drogba’s last act – or so Chelsea fans thought – in a Chelsea shirt; after spells with Shanghai Shenhua and Galatasaray, Drogba returned for a second spell at Stamford Bridge, helping the club to it’s first league title in five years.
Drogba would leave Stamford Bridge having won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and a Champions League trophy, a true Chelsea legend in every sense of the word.
Alvaro Morata is the latest player to break the Chelsea transfer record, if he is to have even half the success of some of the club’s record breakers that have graced Stamford Bridge over those 112 years, then he will add himself to the pantheon of some of Chelsea’s all time greats.
Over to you Alvaro.