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Here is the latest instalment of what if transfers never happened with us now exploring Chelsea Football Club. Some people will automatically assume that John Terry will be in there, some of you may think of Scott Sinclair as well or even Ryan Bertrand but none of those actually began their football life at Chelsea. Scott Sinclair began at Bristol Rovers at the age of nine and made a league debut age 15 – 15 years and 277 days – and then seven months later he signed for Chelsea. Bertrand started at Gillingham with Chelsea having to pay Gillingham a fee that was settled by a tribunal and John Terry was with West Ham for his early development.
John Terry is difficult to exclude as with like other players in this series this is coming down to my judgement. Now there have been and will be exceptions such as Grant Hanley who plays for Blackburn Rovers. He trained with Scottish club Queen of the South and Crewe Alexandra at the same time before exclusively training with Blackburn and so I have him in Blackburn’s team whereas with Kyle Bartley, who started at Bolton and was there for two years before he moved to Arsenal and was apart of Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup winners side, I have kept at Bolton.
So with this and for the fact that John Terry even played in Tony Carr’s testimonial at Upton Park, I have excluded Terry from this Chelsea team – Big call I know! I am sure I will get some backlash from Chelsea fans for that, especially as West Ham’s team doesn’t need any help and is going to be one of the best in the league.
So here we go – enjoy, unless you are a Chelsea fan!
Lenny Pidgeley age: 28
Pidgeley made only two appearances for Chelsea but did win a medal while at the club. In 2005 he won a medal for the Carling Cup in which he was an unused substitute. Pidgeley was a promising player but realistically he was never going to get the first team sport ahead of Petr Cech and after a loan move to firstly Watford and then Millwall moved to Millwall on a permanent transfer. During his time at Millwall he did get first tea, football but that time also saw a loan move to Woking. In 2009 he moved to Carlisle but only stayed for one year before he moved again to Woking and then to Bradford city and the in 2011 moved to Exeter City. He did also represent England and U16, U18, U19 and U20 level.
Neil Etheridge age: 22
Etheridge spent three years at Chelsea before he moved on to Fulham and during that time more than likely spent time with fellow Filipino’s the Younghusband’s – more to come of them later. Ethridge has played for Fulham with that game coming in the Europa League against Odense. He has represented England at U16 level but is the number one keeper for the Philippines and has made 33 appearances for them.
Rhys Taylor age: 21
Taylor has yet to make a first team appearance for Chelsea and instead has had to go out on loan to gain first team opportunities. Taylor has gone on loan to QPR, Crewe Alexandra and Rotherham United. Taylor has also been called up by Wales at
U17, U19 and U21 level
Ben Sampayo age 19 RB/CB
The young defender plays for Brighton and is still coming through the ranks there. He started his footballing career at Chelsea but was released and Brighton took him in. There are quiet a few ex Chelsea players currently at Brighton, I think it is fair to say that Brighton manager Gus Poyet may have a hand in this.
Sam Hutchinson age: 22 RB/CB
Hutchinson was making good progress but did retire aged 21 due to chronic knee injury, but after a period of time away, time which he took to work in Chelsea’s academy and training for his badges, his knee seemed to have heeled and he signed a new contract. Hutchinson has been with the club since aged seven and it is great to see that he is going to have a career in football and with Chelsea one way or another. He has made two appearances for the club and is currently captain of the reserve team. Hutchinson has also represented England at U18 and U19 level.
Jon Harley age: 32 LB/LM
I remember when Jon Harley started to come through and play for Chelsea as there was some hope that he would become a first team regular and for a short while it looked like that would happen but with strong competition for his position – Le Saux and Babayaro – he just couldn’t break through. During his time at Chelsea he made over 30 appearances for the club but also saw a loan move to Wimbledon but in 2001 he moved to west London club Fulham where in his three years at the club saw loan moves to Sheffield United – Twice and one to West Ham. In 2004 Harley moved to Sheffield United in a permanent move then he moved to Burnley, where he had spent a short loan spell previously. He went on to make over 100 appearances for Burnley. Harley then moved on again this time to Watford where he spent two years and then moved to Notts County which saw a loan move to Rotherham United. As mentioned Harley was seen as a rising talent and was capped at U16 & U21 level.
Michael Mancienne age: 24 CB
Mancienne or as I like to call him Snoop – anyone that has watched the wire should see why – was a promising player to come through the ranks of the expensive flop youth development that Abramovich set up and the Frank Arnesen ran. When Arnesen went to Hamburg he took with him a couple of player from Chelsea and Mancienne was one of them. He did make a handful of appearances for Chelsea but saw most of his playing time on loan. He spent two loan spells at QPR and then three at Wolves and it was during this time that is really seemed like Chelsea were grooming him into a player that they were going to start to introduce into the their first team. Since his move to German side Mancienne has averaged 75 minutes a game. He has been called up to England at U16, U17, U18, U19 and U21 level
Danny Woodards age: 28 CB
Woodards came up through the ranks but in the end was released and joined Exeter City where he spent two years. After Exeter he moved on to Crewe Alexandra where again he spent two years, but this time he had a lot more playing time, but again was on the move and this time he joined Milton Keynes Dons where surprise surprise he spent two years. In 2011 he joined Bristol Rovers where he currently still plays until 2013 I assume!
Jody Morris age: 33 MC
At present Jody Morris plays for St. Johnstone but still Chelsea is the club where he has made the most appearances and during his time at Chelsea he won the Cup Winners’ Cup and the FA Cup. Morris was a very promising player but at Chelsea found it hard to break into the team as a first team regular as he had players like Emmanuel Petit, Marseille manager Didier Deschamps, Brighton manager Gus Poyet, The current Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo and the then up-and-coming Frank Lampard but did feature for the club and did so at the highest stage in making multiple Champions League appearances. Morris moved on from Chelsea in search of first team football and hoped to find it at Leeds United but after one season there, which consisted of a loan spell at Rotherham United, he moved on to Millwall where he found the regular football he wanted. Morris spent three years at the club and then was on the move again, this time joining Scottish club St. Johnstone. Morris followed his former Millwall manager to St. Johnstone when he took charge of the Scottish club. Morris also represented England at U20 level
Anthony Grant age: 24 MC
Anthony Grant currently plays for Southend where he also spent some time on loan from Chelsea. Grant also spent time on loan at Oldham, Wycombe Wanderers and Luton Town. Grant has made over 140 appearances for Southend and with the club currently in fourth in Grant could soon be playing in League One. In a promising career Grant represented England at U16, U17 and U19
Josh McEachran age 19 MC
A lot of people know of his ability and he is probably going to be the one player that has come through the ranks that is going to be most notable. At a young age it is hard to say because the lines of potential and actual ability get blurred. He has made a few appearances for Chelsea now and is currently on loan at Swansea, which I think is a great place for him to go due to the way Swansea play, and when he comes back it will be interesting what the new manager, whoever that will be, will think of him. McEachran has been capped at U16, U17, U19 and U21 level by England and if his progress continues he could well be a future England international.
Andy King age: 23 MC
King was at Chelsea from the age of nine but was released at 15 when he signed for Leicester City where he has gone on to really make a name for himself – this is a very similar situation to the John Terry one as to why he is in Chelsea’s team and not Leicester City. On the Leicester City website this is the opening paragraph as to what they say about him “Andy has been one of the Foxes’ leading performers in recent seasons, earning a reputation as one of the Football League’s finest young attacking midfielders since graduating from the Leicester City academy in 2007” He has gone on to make over 150 appearances for Leicester City and has been capped at U19 and U21 level for Wales as well as being Capped 11 times for the Wales Senior Team.
Andrew Crofts age: 27 MC
Crofts spent his younger years at Chelsea and ironically enough shared digs with John Terry – a player who Crofts still holds high reverence for – even though Terry is not in this Chelsea set up. Crofts was not kept on by Chelsea and so joined Gillingham where he spent eight years and making over 150 appearances. He had some loan spells near the end of his time at Gillingham, one at Peterborough United and the other at Wrexham. In 2009 Crofts signed for Brighton and was made captain by Ex- Chelsea player Gus Poyet, who even spoke to John Terry about Crofts before making his decision. After an impressive season at Brighton he then moved to Norwich and fulfilled his dream of playing at Stamford Bridge. Crofts is currently apart of the Wales squad and has also represented Wales at U19 and U21
Lee Sawyer age: 22 MC
Sawyer spent his time at Chelsea on loan. His first loan spell was with Southend in 2008 and then in 2009 he when on loan to Coventry, then Wycombe Wanderers and then ending at Southend. In 2010 Barnet saw his potential and signed him, al though he soon moved on to Woking. In 2011 he signed for Southend, where he had two previous loan moves and is enjoying more first team football. Sawyer has been called up by England at U16, U18 and U19 level
Liam Bridcutt age: 22 CM
Bridcutt currently plays under the tutelage of ex-Chelsea player Gus Poyet and is an integral part of the team. So far this season Bridcutt has played 37 times and in total has made 79 appearances for the club. Before joining Brighton Bridcutt was on loan at Stockport, Watford and Yeovil Town.
Jack Cork age: 22 CM
Cork never played for Chelsea and spent his Chelsea career on loan. He had loan spells at Bournemouth, Scunthorpe United, Southampton, Watford, Coventry City and Burnley. Southampton signed the player for a reported £2 million and has gone on to help the side push for promotion into the Premiership. Cork has impressively been called up to England at every age level but has yet been called up to the Senior side.
Joe Keenan age: 29 LM
Keenan made two appearances for Chelsea but never really made the grade and was out on loan firstly to VC Westerlo and then Brentford before he moved to Willem II in 2006. He spent one year at the Dutch club before me moved to Australia with Melbourne Victory and then a year later moved back to Britain to join Scottish club Hibs. In 2010 saw a return to Australia when he signed for South Melbourne. Last year he was on loan at Adelaide United.
Jimmy Smith age: 25 CM/LM/RM
Smith is an attacking minded midfielder and one that operates in a more advanced role. He cane play in the middle of out wide on the right or the left. Smith moved to Leyton Orient in 2009 after a successful loan spell at the club. Smith also had loan moves to Sheffield Wednesday, Norwich City and QPR. Like many of the Chelsea youth players he was capped at U16, U17 and U19 level
James Younghusband age: 25 RM
James Younghusband along with his brother, Phil, is half British-half Filipino and now lives in the Philippines where he represents the national side. I love the fact that both he and his brother play for the Philippines because of Football Manager. Someone playing the game noticed that they were eligible and wrote to the Philippine Football Federation stating they were eligible and so they contacted Chelsea about it. In 2006 he was released from Chelsea and signed for Wimbledon and in 2007 signed for Staines Town and then Woking and in 2008 moved to Farnborough. In 2011 he and his brother moved to the Philippines where they played for San Beda and then moved to Loyola Meralco Sparks where they currently play.
Phil Younghusband age: 24
Phil Younghusband is the younger brother of James Younghusband. Phil left Chelsea in 2008. During his time with Chelsea he was on loan in 2007 at Esbjerg. He currently plays for Loyola Mercalco Sparks and has represented the Philippines U21 and U23 and is still apart of the National side.
Both he and his brother are somewhat David Beckham’s of the Philippines as not only have they opened football academies they are also very much apart of the showbiz world.
Leon Knight age: 29
Leon Knight spent his time at Chelsea on loan at 4 clubs – QPR, Huddersfield Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton – before he signed for Brighton permanently going on to make over 100 appearances for the club. After three years at Brighton Knight moved on to Welsh side Swansea City which also say him go on loan to Barnsley. After moving on from Swansea City Knight became a real journey man as in the next seven years he goes on to play for eight clubs those being Milton Keynes Dons, Wycombe Wanderers, Rushden & Diamonds, Thrasivoulos Fylis, Hamilton Academical, Queen of the South, Coleraine and then finally Glentoran where he currently plays.
Carlton Cole age: 28
Carlton Cole made the switch to West Ham after so many players made the travel in the other direction. Much was hoped for Carlton Cole at Chelsea and did feature in some games but he was always going to find it hard as during his time at Chelsea he had to content with strikers such as Gianfranco Zola, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Hernan Crespo and Didier Drogba. He had loan spells at Wolves, Charlton and Aston Villa before he made the move to West Ham where he has gone on to become their main striker. Cole made an impact for the England U21’s and has gone on to win seven caps for the England senior side.
Frank Nouble age: 20
A similar story to Carlton Cole here as he started out at Chelsea and ended up at West Ham. Nouble spent five years at Chelsea but didn’t make the grade and in the end he signed for West Ham where he has gone on to make more than a handful of appearances for the club. The young striker has been on loan to various clubs – 7 in total and is still trying to break his way into the West Ham first 11. His first loan move was to West Bromwich Albion where he then went on loan to Swindon Town and then Swansea City. In 2011 he went on loan to Barnsley, Charlton Athletic and Gillingham. He is currently on loan at Barnsley. Nouble has represented England at U17 and U19 level.
How they would line-up:
Pidgeley; Harley,Mancienne, Woodards, Hutchinson; Pridcutt, Crofts, Cork, McEachran; Cole, Younghusband