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Chelsea Hall of Fame

Mike O

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Having just seen the footage of Frank accepting his award for his one hundred goals, I have finally accepted the notion that this is one of our all time greats. Ive always thought he had a little of the journeyman about him but, frankly, I don't always think right.

This got me to wondering who would get into an all-time hall of fame for Chels?

For me, and this is my thread so play by my rules chums, the key criteria for being a hall-of famer would be:

1. Must be primarily associated with Chelsea (as opposed to previous / later clubs). So sorry Ruud, Marcel, Sparky, Jimmy Greaves etc.

2. Must have shown utter passion for Chelsea, without any room for outsiders questioning his devotion (that's you out, Soxy)

3. Must have been - or 'be' - quality on the pitch (sadly ruling out my beloved Erland)

4. Must have enhanced Chelsea's reputation in the outside world (JT, are you there?)

5. Must be guaranteed to make you feel like a small child if you ever met them (not Mark Stein, therefore, who would make me feel like his older brother)

I think we should agree on no more than 10 to kick off with.

Give us your top 3 nominations with a small para on each, just for the joy of debate and because it's nearly the close season!

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OK. I'll play!

I'm not going to go back in time - there are others who are much better equipped to do that than me. So my three are all current players.

1. JT

Despite following Utd in his youth he has been the heart an soul of the side since Jose made him captain. Lead us to our first league title in 50 years and then promptly went and did it again the next year. Has put his body on the line on countless occasions for the team. If he can't get in the hall of fame then we may as well not bother having one.

2. Frankie

Journeyman? Pah! Has been consistently the best midfield player in the country for the last few years. Scores goals for fun from midfield. Broke the record for most consecutive PL appearances by not missing a single game through suspension or injury for over 4 seasons. To quote Martin Samuel, by whatever footballing measure you want to use he is exceptional.

3. Drogba (Might get some argument on this one!)

Didier has played a major part in the success we have had over the last few years. I know he has a lot of frustrating habits but despite that he has been a leader in the team and always gives 100%. His goals, his work rate, his defending and his team play make him one of the most important players to have been at the club in recent years. Maybe some won't really appreciate him until he has gone.

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We're only allowed 3? Well, I'll let others who saw them in the flesh nominate Ossie, Chopper and The Cat.

Unlike players like Rooney, Henry, Messi, Gerrard etc... JT hasn't sold his soul to advertising, therefore he isn't going to be that well known around the world. I'd still put him top of the pile though.

1. JT

2. Franco Zola

3. and seeing as how Frank has already been nominated... Gotta be Dennis Wise happy0034.gif

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Swap Drogba for Zola happy0034.gif

It should be obvious that Zola simply has to be on any list of Chelsea legends. Drogba has played a big part in our recent success and just seems to enjoy the big matches. He just seems a bit too keen to move away from Chelsea to really consider him as a proper legend.

The other two are not so easy to pick. JT certainly deserves to be picked, especially as he's a Chelsea youth team product, and Lampard certainly should be counted as a legend already because of everything he has done for the club, but Wisey deserves to be called a legend as well. Hmph...I refuse to drop any of them and name four. 247.gif

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Over the last twelve years (since I started supporting the side) there are, for me, only three possibilities, and only one is a dead cert.

1. Zola - the word alone has mystical properties. He does not satisfy Mike O's criteria so much as set their terms.

2. JT - youth product, inspiration for our first league win in fifty years. Won't be 'eligible' until a bit later in his career.

3. Lampard, though to be honest I'm not convinced he satisfies either (2) or (5), convince me...

For me Wise is a Chelsea hero, but where Zola would stroll into our current 11, I'm not sure Wise could usurp Essien, Ballack, Lamps or Makalele in his prime (even if he had our current training facilities and squad management).

For me Drogba is no where near. Fantastic striker, perhaps one of our best ever, but his heart has never fully been here - definately a journeyman.

EDIT: Actually there is another possibility, though on the condition his role as player and manager are considered together: Vialli. He's the one who truly turned Chelsea's fortune decisivley to our current success.

My nominations are therefore: Zola, Vialli and JT.

Possible future contenders:

Cech (if he stays), Essien, Cole (if he can continue his rise and rise)

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Kerry Dixon belongs alongside Chopper, Frank, Ossie, Bonetti, JT and Zola for his service and achievements with the club. Wisey must be close, too, and Gallas would have been in with a shout if he hadn't turned his back on us. Of the current players, Maka is more deserving than Drogs, who misses out for me because of his lack of true commitment to the club.

I'm tempted to nominate Wee Pat for his part in our 80s revival. An all-time hero for me.

Joe Cole could achieve Hall of Fame status in the future.

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For the record, my 3 would be:

1. Zola. No 1 by a landslide. The greatest individual talent to have ever graced our ground, the greatest sportsman (in a Corinthian, as well as competitive, spirit) and the greatest advert for the sheer enjoyment of football. Despite understudying for Maradonna at Napoli, despite his Italian appearances (and that goal), he will forever be a Chelsea man. By the same token, my beloved Luca can't be - he is a Juve legend first.

2. Wise. Not having ever seen Chopper play live, I'd have to cite Dennis as the most committed Blue I've ever seen. Not the most gifted footballer and certainly short of a few sandwiches upstairs, Dennis was a fantastic captain nonetheless and one of our greatest characters. No-one else was better equipped to bridge football's evolution from the neanderthal 80's to the graceful late 90's and to be heralded by AC Mailan as Europe's best midfielder after a certain goal was his ultimate accollade. I met him a couple of times and each time he left me in stitches - not literally. My Captain, My Chelsea.

3. Dixon. Phenomenal goal machine, great character, Chelsea through and through and one of only about two good things to be associated with the club in the 80's (Nevin being the other). Frankly, he was slightly before my time (my first match live was Dennis') but I felt the aura of King Kerry hang over the bridge until Hoddle joined.

Of the current crop, only Lamps and JT deserve our consideration IMHO. Drogba is as much an embarrassment as he is a world-class player, Maka has a Real Madrid pass to contend with, Ricky is fab but still not a Desailly, Joe has yet to show us his best an, of course, A Cole is a c**t.

Outside possibilites for me would be Dan the Man, Eidur and Robbie Di but I'm not sure any of them stand really comfortably alongside my 3 above.

Waddya think?

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1. John Terry.

2. Frankie Lampard.

3. Gianfranco Zola.

If i could continue this into a top ten list, the rest would be....

4. Didier Drogba. (Points lost for trying to be bigger than club).

5. Peter Osgood.

6. Petr Cech. (And rising).

7. Kerry Dixon.

8. Pat Nevin.

9. Chopper Harris.

10. Peter Bonetti.

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Agree completely on Wisey. Met him a couple of times as a young boy, and he was such a decent bloke - nothing like most modern footballers, and showed that you can be an arse on the pitch and a gentleman off it.

Great player as well, obviously, and Chelsea through and through. happy0034.gif

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will only talk about players who I have seen play:

1. Zola, an absolute certainty. Great on and off the field and was even voted as the best internationial player to play in the EPL a few years back, so he did lots for our reputation as a club. That certainly can not be said about Drogba

2. Robbie D. Great on and off the pitch and scored a cracker for our first silverware in ages. Absolute heartbreak to see him end his career in a tragic way at St Gallen

3. Frank Lampard. Ok we got him from West Ham, but he has given us so many goals, and played in so many important games, and so many consecutive games. Bleeds Blue

Close: Super Dan, Eideur Gudjohnsen, Desailly, Wise (of course, he just doesn't do much for our reputation off the field), JT...steady Eddie? De Goey?

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i think we should omit zola from this, the blokes a legend with anyone who as supported chelsea and a big favourite of fans from other clubs

here's mine in no particular order, i'm going for 3 keepers

carlo cudicini

of late he has been a great stand in, but before cech's arrivalhe was outstanding

he could have left and joined probably any of the big clubs in europe and held down a regular place, but chose for what ever reason to stick t out at chelsea

petr cech

this guy is a great stopper and probably the best keeper ever to don the chelsea shirt

peter bonetti (the cat)

a legend in his own right, played in the days when keepers had no protection from refs and without gloves.

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By the same token, my beloved Luca can't be - he is a Juve legend first.

But if you take his contribution as manager surely this would qualify him as a specifically Chelsea legend - i.e. it was a real punt to take him on board and he delivered the first silverware of this era. To have won things in the modern game as a player/manager is pretty bloody special!

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Charlie Cooke (our Zola of the 70s)

Wicksy, I wonder how you think Joe Cole compares to Cooke?

No comparison. The Bonny Prince Charlie is way ahead in the Chelsea legend stakes. He was the player of the 70s for me, the flair player that made us tick, that made us exciting to watch, that made even the neutrals respect us.

Joe just doesn't deserve to be compared to him

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Not restricted to just three are we?

0. Zola

1. Dan Petrescu (another footballing genius)

2. Carlo Cudicini

3. Tore Andre Flo

4. Graeme Le Saux (that's right! he gave everything in every game he played for us)

5. Dennis Wise has to be in here. I also think Mike's comment about him 'not being the most gifted footballer' sells him short.

6. Gustavo Poyet (I know, but he was a huge part of the team that made us a force back then)

Also honourable mentions for Leboeuf, Gudjohnsen, Kharine, Gronkjaer (it's the imperfections that makes us love'em)

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