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Chelsea v West Brom Sept 1905


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TOP TRAINER: Charles Bennett winning the 3AAA’s 10-mile race in 1899 at Stamford Bridge, London

Charles Bennett winning the 3AAA’s 10-mile race in 1899 at Stamford Bridge,

Charles Bennett is Running anti clock wise and 6 years before we were formed !

Bennett was the first British athlete to win a Gold Medal in athletics at the Olympics

He won it In the 1500m in Paris in 1900, he then shortly after won a team gold in the 5000m !

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When GAA came home to The Bridge.

.For well before Stamford Bridge became synonymous with the ‘Boys from the King’s Road’, GAA had already made its mark there in 1896 – the year the London County Board was officially founded.

Stamford Bridge opened as a sporting arena on 28 April 1877, and for the first 27 years of its existence was used almost exclusively for athletics meetings by the London Athletic Club.

But on Easter Monday (4 April) 1896, the ground played host to the ‘Great Gaelic invasion of London’.

Two hurling teams representing Munster and Leinster, along with a team of athletics, made the trip over.

When GAA came home to the Chelseas Stamford Bridge

The 3,000 attendance was below what had been hoped for, but “the presence of meaningful Gaelic games inspired those present to greater effort”, wrote Pat Griffin in his book Gaelic Hearts A History of London GAA 1896-1996.

In his book Wherever the Firing Line Extends: Ireland and the Western Front, author Ronan McGreevy noted that a football game between an ‘Ireland’ team and the London Exiles also took place that day.

The Ireland team included Laurence Roche, who won an All Ireland medal with Limerick in 1896 (the final wasn’t played until 1898).

When GAA came home to the Chelseas Stamford Bridge

From Dromin, Roche would go on to become the most prominent GAA athlete and official to both join and recruit for the British Army during the First World War.

The athletics part of the ‘invasion’ wasn’t without note either. A certain John Joseph Flanagan, from Kilbreedy, Co Limerick, smashed James Mitchell’s four-year record for throwing the 15-lb hammer.

Flanagan went on to win three Olympic gold medals in a row for the hammer (1900, 1904, and 1908).

On March 1905, Chelsea Football Club was born and a few months later moved into the new Stamford Bridge stadium

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Match Report England v Scotland Sat 5th April 1913

M116Sco1913.jpgM116Sco1913Eng.jpgEngland beat Scotland by one goal to love at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, and the victory gained by this narrow margin carries with it the International Championship at Association football. England had lost to Ireland before beating Wales, while Scotland drew with Wales and then defeated Ireland. The English side thus had to win on Saturday to secure the championship for their country.

In the first half, when the wind blew at their backs, the home side showed distinct superiority, while afterwards, when having chiefly to defend, they proved equal to all emergencies. Perhaps the secret of England's success could be traced to the comparative failure of the Scottish forwards. Although lacking the combination expected of them, the visitors played hard and had so much of the game that many opportunities of scoring occurred, but they met with no reward, and in quite a desperate finish the only goal, obtained eight minutes before half-time, sufficed to give England the victory. The attendance was officially returned at 52,000 and the gate receipts were £3,388 16s. - The Times - Monday 7th April, 1913


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Chelsea Football Club

Chelsea’s gentleman amateur captain, Vivian Woodward, had joined the 17th Football Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, whose formation had been the idea of Fulham M.P. and Arsenal director, William Joynson Hicks, as a way of recruiting football fans. Woodward marched around the pitch with members of the battalion appealing to fans to join up. The poor response from Chelsea fans appeared to be in direct contrast to successful recruitment drives amongst rugby players and sportsman from public schools. A thinly disguised class bias seemed to depict followers of the working man’s game as ‘shirkers,’ despite The Chelsea Chronicle’s claims to the contrary. That 2000 out of 5000 professionals had already joined up and over 300,000 amateur players enlisted seemed to escape the notice of the critics.

One young lad who did heed the call was James Ridley. As a 13 year old living opposite Stamford Bridge he had volunteered as a ball-boy, a first in the Football League. He had even sneaked into the first Chelsea team photograph so he could be seen with his idols. Ten years later, in 1915 he was serving alongside them in the trenches as a soldier in the Football Battalion. He became a Prisoner of War when he was captured at Cambrai in 1917 but survived the war.

Professional football finally came to an end following Chelsea’s first appearance in the F.A. Cup Final on 24 April 1915. The ‘Khaki Cup Final’ was played at Old Trafford and Chelsea lost 3-0 to Sheffield United. Vivian Woodward had received special permission from his battalion commander to play and raced up to Manchester only to give his place in the team to his replacement Bob Thompson, as he did not wish to deprive his fellow team mate of a cup final medal. With the ending of professional football, players effectively had no choice but to join up. One such player was Jack Cock, who had grown up in Fulham before becoming a pre-war star with Huddersfield Town. He joined Woodward in the Football Battalion and at the end of the war joined Chelsea, scoring England’s first post war international goal.


Edited by erskblue
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