Chelsea Legends (3): Tommy Baldwin
Welcome to Chelsea Legends, where we take a look at some of the greats of the past.
Today we will be looking at Tommy Baldwin, who played for the blues with pride from 1966 to 1974.
Thomas Baldwin was born on Sunday, 10th June 1945 in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England. He started his professional career in north London with Arsenal, and made his league debut in 1965 against Birmingham City. Whilst at Arsenal, Tommy scored 7 goals in 17 games, before Tommy Docherty brought him to Chelsea, as a part of the deal that sent George Graham Arsenal's way.
In his first season at Stamford Bridge, Baldwin scored an impressive 17 goals, his first coming on his debut match against Manchester City in October 1966, a game which ended 4-1 in Chelsea's favour.
Tommy then scored 16 goals two seasons in a row, well on his way to establishing himself as a top class player at Chelsea. He played in the memorable 1970 F.A. Cup final against Leeds, which was the blues first ever F.A. Cup win. After the match, he admitted he relished the physical nature of the game, stating 'We kicked them and they kicked us'. Tommy also was to play a major part in the following seasons Cup Winners Cup final, which Chelsea won after a replay against Real Madrid.
Charlie Cooke once said of Tommy:
'It was soon apparent that he was the perfect foil for Ossie, who was coming into his own and getting better and more confident with every game. Tommy was as sharp as a tack and a tireless worker who took a lot of close-marking pressure off Ossie, and his contribution to Ossie's development has often been overlooked'.
And following the win against Real Madrid, Peter Osgood simply said, 'We work well together'.
Tommy Baldwin was given the nickname 'Sponge' within the team. Many of the media thought that the nickname was in reference to his non-stop running. The real reason behind the nickname however, was his ability to absorb alcohol! A memorable quote from Charlie Cooke, after being asked to recall a few parties, was 'No, Tommy Baldwin's your man for them!'.
His blues career spanned an impressive 187 games between 1966 to 1974, and he scored a total of 74 goals. In 1974 however, he was one of many players deemed, 'surplus to requirements', by manager Dave Sexton, and he left Stamford Bridge.
After leaving, he had stints at Millwall, Manchester United, Gravesend, Seattle and Brentford, before retiring in 1978. Tommy currently lives in Fulham, and makes regular guest appearances on radio sports shows.
Tommy Baldwin was always underrated by those outside of the club, however he was always a firm fan favourite, as referenced by this Shed End classic.
'Oh his name is Tommy Baldwin He's the leader of the team, what team
The finest football team that the world has ever seen
We're the Fulham Road supporters and we're louder than the Kop
If anyone wants to argue We'll do the f***ing lot
La la la la,. la la la la la La la la la la, la la, la la
Contribution by Osgood_Spirit