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Former Chelsea player Bobby Smith passes away


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Former Chelsea centre-forward Bobby Smith has died at the age of 77 following a short illness.

A Yorkshireman by birth, Smith was one of the best young players produced in the early years of a Chelsea youth system established after the war.

He made his debut aged 17 in 1950, his powerful play at the front of the attack earning him nine goals in 21 appearances in his first season, totals he improved upon in his second year with 16 goals in 39 games.

However Roy Bentley was formidable competition for a place in the side and was favoured by manager Ted Drake after the new manager's arrival at Chelsea.

Smith played four league games in 1954/55 as Chelsea won our first championship.

He was sold to Tottenham in December 1955 for £16,000, a surprise for many Chelsea fans as Smith was one of few young players in an ageing squad, and the striker's later success at Spurs where he was an important member of their Double-winning side and became an England regular, indicated that the transfer was unwise.

For Chelsea, Smith played 86 games, scoring 30 goals.

He would later play at Brighton and Hove Albion and in more recent years attended reunions of the 1954/55 Chelsea side (he is second from left in the picture below).

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Chelsea Football Club sends our condolences to Bobby's family and friends

http://www.chelseafc.com/javaImages/95/37/0,,10268~9058197,00.jpg

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