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Thursday, September 18, 2008
Ray Wilkins returns to Chelsea
The Times reports that Ray Wilkins is to return to Chelsea as assistant coach following Steve Clarke's departure to West Ham. This looks a shrewd move that will help keep the club in touch with its roots: Wilkins made 198 appearances for Chelsea between 1973 and 1979, and became captain of the club when he was only 18.
Those who remember him only as the bald bloke who passed the ball sideways to Bryan Robson for Manchester United and England will be surprised to learn what an exciting player he once was. In Chelsea days he took all the free kicks, instigated all the attacking moves and scored his share of goals.
He was captain in 1976-7 when Chelsea won promotion back to the old first division. I got my first Saturday job that winter and there was a televsion shop across the road. If I saw a picture of Steve Finnieston or Kenny Swain just before five o'clock, it meant they had scored and Chelsea had probably won.
In those days he was always known as Ray "Butch" Wilkins. He was never the same player after he lost that nickname.