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Roy Bentley
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Personal information
Full name Roy Thomas Frank Bentley
Date of birth 17 May 1924 (1924-05-17) (age 85)
Place of birth    Bristol, England
Playing position Striker/Defender
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
1939–1946
1946–1948
1948–1956
1956–1960
1960–1962
Bristol City
Newcastle United
Chelsea
Fulham
Queens Park Rangers
00? 00(?)
048 0(22)
323 (128)
143 0(23)
045 00(0)   
National team
1949–1955 England 012 00(9)
Teams managed
1963–1968
1969–1972
Reading
Swansea City

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Roy Thomas Frank Bentley (born 17 May 1924) is a retired English football player who played most notably for Chelsea and the England national side. He later became a manager. Bentley was, for a time, one of England's top centre forwards.

Contents

Club career

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Early years

Bentley served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and afterwards briefly played for both Bristol City and Bristol Rovers before signing for Newcastle United in 1946. He was with the club for less than two years, but formed a key part of one of the most impressive forward lines of the era, alongside Jackie Milburn, Len Shackleton and Charlie Wayman. He reached an FA Cup semi-final with the club in the 1946–47 season, but they were beaten 4-0 by eventual winners Charlton Athletic.

Chelsea

In January 1948, Bentley signed for London side Chelsea for £12,500, partially because he had been advised by his doctor that a move south would be a remedy for the lung problems he occasionally suffered from. He arrived at Chelsea as a replacement for Tommy Lawton - who, coincidentally, also moved to Chelsea in search of a cure for lung trouble - and was initially compared unfavourably with his predecessor. His Chelsea career took off slowly as he struggled to adapt to an unfamiliar style of play. They lost 2-4 at home to Huddersfield Town on his debut and he scored just three goals in his first four months with the club.

From there, however, Bentley's fortunes changed. He was an early exponent of the deep-lying centre forward position, an unorthodox tactic which often unsettled opposing defenders. This, combined with a strong heading ability and a powerful shot, saw him score 23 goals in his first full season with Chelsea, making him the club's top scorer, for which he also earned his first England call-up. Though Chelsea's league form during his time there was often patchy, he played a key part in their first major FA Cup run for almost two decades in 1950. He scored two goals in a 3-0 fifth round win against Chesterfield while in the quarter-final against Manchester United his thunderous shot from 30 yards clinched a 2-0 win. Chelsea were eventually knocked out in the semi-finals by Arsenal, despite Bentley giving them a 2-0 lead. During his time at Chelsea, he was picked for the London XI in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

After another semi-final loss in 1952, again to Arsenal, Ted Drake arrived as Chelsea's new manager. Within three years, Bentley had achieved one of the highlights of his playing career, captaining Chelsea to their first League title, in 1954–55. In addition to being captain, he scored 21 league goals during the season, including a hat-trick against Newcastle and two crucial strikes in a 4-3 win against principal rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers. Bentley remained with Chelsea for only one more season and was one of the first to leave as the ageing championship-winning side was gradually broken up by Drake.

Having scored 150 goals in 367 appearances, Bentley is currently joint third in Chelsea's all-time goalscorers list, level with Peter Osgood. He was top scorer at the club in each of his eight full seasons there.

Fulham & QPR

Bentley signed for Chelsea's West London neighbours Fulham in 1956. At Fulham, Bentley was successfully converted into a centre-half, and they reached the FA Cup semi-finals in 1958, where he was once again on the losing side. In 1960 he left Fulham but again stayed in West London, this time moving to Queens Park Rangers, where he saw out the remainder of his playing career.

International career

Bentley was an England international for six years. He made his debut against Sweden and played for his country at the 1950 FIFA World Cup, including the infamous 1-0 defeat to the USA. He scored the winning goal against Scotland in qualifying for that tournament to deny the Scots a place, for which he was dubbed "the man who robbed Scotland of Rio." In November 1954 he scored a hat-trick against Wales. He earned twelve England caps and scored nine goals.

Management

Following his retirement from playing, Bentley moved into management. He took over at Reading and later Swansea City, winning promotion to the old Third Division with the latter. He returned to Reading in 1977, this time as club secretary.

References

  • Cheshire, Scott (1998). Chelsea: An Illustrated History. Breedon Books. ISBN 1-85983-143-5.  
  • Mears, Brian (2004). Chelsea: A 100-year History. Mainstream Sport. ISBN 1-84018-823-5.  

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