Wednesday, 25 April 2018

ROY BENTLEY 1924-2018

More heartbreak for Chelsea, with the sad news of ROY BENTLEY passing away, so soon after Ray Wilkins.

Roy was a brave, strong, classic centre-forward throughout the 40s and 50s.
His finest hour was undoubtably captaining Chelsea to the League Championship in 1955, their first ever trophy.

But his footballing career goes back much, much further.
Incredibly he made his debut BEFORE the Second World War, for Bristol City in August 1939, as a 15-year-old, and he scored!
The season was infamously cancelled after only 3 games as War was declared, and Roy served in the Royal Navy during the War.

Post-war he found himself up in Newcastle before an £11,000 transfer to Chelsea in 1948.
And that's where he stayed until 1956, making 367 appearances and scoring a then club record 150 goals. He was top scorer in each of his 8 full seasons at the club, including 21 League goals in that glorious Championship-winning season of 1954/55.

He also had a healthy 9 goals in 12 appearances for England.

During the 50s, when football still had the maximum wage, he was earning £12 a week.
Putting it into context, top film stars, pop stars and entertainers at the time, would be earning thousands of pounds a week.
People who think footballers's wages are over the top should stop to think that they are still playing catch-up with other entertainers. 
Roy was a big-name player with a big London club, and yet had to work part-time as a salesperson to supplement his wages. Can you imagine a top Premier League striker doing that today???!!!

After his Stamford Bridge days were up, he served Fulham and QPR with distinction until 1963, hanging up his boots at the age of 38, quite unusual to play for that long at the time.
He then managed Reading and Swansea.

I had the very great pleasure of meeting him a few years ago, and what an absolute gent he was, completely happy to chat. 

After signing an autograph for me, with a real twinkle in his eye, he mischievously then told me how he used to sign his name when he was much younger, and preceded to give me his alternative autograph, a brilliant moment!

You'll never be forgotten Roy.

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