Stamford Chidge & Martin King interview Tommy Baldwin, one of the most loved players of the infamous ‘Kings of the Kings Road’ Chelsea side of the late 1960’s & early 1970’s. Tommy discusses his love of Chelsea and recalls the highs and lows of a career which included defeat to Spurs in the 1967 FA Cup final and the triumphs of the 1970 FA Cup Final & 1971 European Cup Winners Cup final plus his relationship on and off the pitch with the likes of Peter Osgood and the fans who sang his name week in week out…‘His name is Tommy Baldwin, he’s the leader of the team…
Tommy Baldwin was born in Gateshead and played for Wrekenton Juniors before joining Arsenal in 1962. In 1966, he was transferred to Chelsea in part-exchange for George Graham. Playing in an attacking role, he scored 17 goals in his first season, including one on his debut against Manchester City, and played in the 1967 FA Cup Final as Chelsea lost 2–1 to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.
Three years later Chelsea returned to Wembley for another FA Cup final, this time against Leeds United, and Baldwin played a big part in ensuring Chelsea lifted the trophy after an epic replay at Old Trafford. He also featured in both games as Chelsea beat Spanish giants Real Madrid to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1971, also in a replay.
Tommy’s time at Chelsea coincided with the rise of the ‘Kings of the Kings Road’ team with he, Peter ‘Ossie’ Osgood and Charlie Cooke at the forefront both on and off the pitch. They had flair and entertained on the pitch and did likewise off it; drinking in the Kings Road with actors and actresses every night, they were a real showbiz team.
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!
Injuries, loss of form and disagreements with manager Dave Sexton over his post-match lifestyle combined to reduce his opportunities to play, and he was loaned out to Man Utd in 1974 having made 239 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 92 goals.
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Such is the esteem in which Baldwin is held by Chelsea supporters, a terrace chant created in his honour many years ago is still sung regularly to this day. ‘His name is Tommy Baldwin, he’s the leader of the team…very few who saw him play would argue with that and we all know what would happen if you did!
|TOMMY BALDWIN CAREER STATS:|
Chelsea Career Summary
Debut: Saturday, 1st October 1966, Manchester City 1 – 4 Chelsea
Age on debut: 21 years 3 months 21 days
100th Appearance: Saturday, 12th October 1968, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 – 1 Chelsea
200th Appearance: Saturday, 4th November 1972, Liverpool 3 – 1 Chelsea
Last Appearance: Saturday, 9th November 1974, Chelsea 0 – 0 Leicester City