Before there was John Terry for Chelsea FC, there was Roy Bentley.

Bentley was captain of the Chelsea FC side in 1955 when they won the English First Division (as it was known then) under the stewardship of Ted Drake with the lowest points total ever. That season he also scored 21 goals. Bentley played slightly deeper than a forward would which was new tactic at that time and unsettled opposition defenses. He was the poineer of the deep lying forward position.

Before signing for Chelsea FC, Roy Bentley served with the Royal Navy on destroyers and minesweepers during the Second World War. He played for Bristol Rovers and Bristol City as a center half.

By the time he joined Newcastle United in 1946 he was converted to a forward. He played for the Tyneside club for two seasons but left abruptly after doctors advised him he had to move away from the cold air of North east to protect his lungs. The then Chelsea FC manager Billy Birrell signed him in January 1948 for A?11,000 as a replacement for Tommy Lawton, who had left Chelsea FC for Notts County. His Chelsea FC career started slowly as he scored just 3 goals in 15 matches. However the following season he was moved deeper and since then he was the top scorer for the following 8 seasons that he spent at the club. He is tied at a joint fifth in the list of all-time leading goal scorers list with Peter Osgood. He played primarily as a number 9 and scored a total of 150 goals in 367 games.

After Billy Birrell retired at the end of the 1951-52 season, Chelsea FC appointed Ted Drake as the manager of the club. He changed the training methods and the tactics. He instructed his wingers to try low crosses across the face of the goal which caused confusion in opposition defense and allowed the strikers to score. The managerai??i??s philosophy was maximum utilization of the every playerai??i??s talents. Bentley would give regular updates on the teamai??i??s development to the manager which shaped his understanding of the game as later he would go to manage Reading and Swansea. Under Drake the team began slowly but as the team began adapting to his style, results started showing on the pitch. This new style of play suited Bentley as he could get between defenders. He was not only quick but had a fierce shot and incredible aerial ability which he used to maximum effect. He could easily get past defenders and plant powerful headers if a cross came in his way. His timing was perfect which allowed him to beat taller defenders in air and like Ronaldo does currently he could hang in the air and strike the ball downwards beating even the biggest goalkeepers with outstretched arms.Ai?? He was fearless which allowed him to take risks and score headed goals which other players would not consider possible.

Roy Bentley was exceptional both as a leader and as a forward in the title winning season of 1954-55. He not only lead the team in scoring charts but was able to guide the youngsters Frank Blunstone and Peter Brabook who were just 18 and 17 years old respectively when they came into team. In the season Bentley scored a hat-trick in a 4-3 against Newcastle United on 12th February, 1955 and a brace against that yearai??i??s runners up Wolverhampton Wanderers on 4th December, 1954. Chelsea FC won the title after winning the second last game at home against Sheffield Wednesday on 23rd April with a 3-0 win. The last match of the season was at Old Trafford against Manchester United. The players were given a guard of honor by Manchester United. Chelsea FC lost 2-1 with Bentley scoring the only goal for the team, co-incidentally also a header.

The aging title winning team was broken down the following season by Ted Drake with six of the players from previous team gone. Chelsea FC surrendered the title to Manchester United next sesaon and finished in 16th position. Next season Bentley was transferred to Fulham for A?8500. As a mark of his versatility he was converted to center back position at the age of 32 as his pace was gone. He played for four seasons for The Cottagers and a further two with QPR. After his stint with QPR he retired from playing at the age of 38. Later he managed Reading and Swansea.

He made his debut for England on 13th May, 1949 against Sweden and was capped twelve times and scored 9 times.Ai?? He also featured in the 1950 FIFA World Cup thus becoming the first Chelsea FC player to play in a World Cup. Despite him leaving the club almost 50 years ago he still remains popular with the club faithful and is one of greatest number 9 the club has ever had in its ranks. A true legend.

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