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Manager Profile: Billy Birrell

Full Name: William Birrell

Born: Saturday, 13th March 1897
Place of Birth: Cellardyke, Scotland
Died: Friday, 29th November 1968

Billy Birrell became Chelsea Manager on 19th April 1939, a few weeks (and 4 games) before the end of 1938/9 season. He joined from Queens Park Rangers, where he had been manager since 1935. He cut his managerial teeth at Raith Rovers, where he had also previously been a player and then followed that with a period as manager of AFC Bournmouth, before moving to QPR. His playing career also included a 7 season spell at Middlesbrough as well as his time with Raith. During his time at Chelsea, the club consistently finished in mid-table, narrowly avoiding relegation in 1951 on goal average. Despite less than brilliant league performance, Birrell did guide Chelsea to two FA Cup semi-finals, in 1950 and 1952, on both occasions losing out to Arsenal in replays. He retired following the 1952 defeat to be replaced by Ted Drake. Billy Birrell also played a significant part in the development of Chelsea's youth system, which was to pay huge dividends over the next 20 or so years.

Managerial Record



Manager from: April, 1939
Manager until: April, 1952

PlayedWonDrawnLostForAgainstWin %Goals / Game
League248806210634941032.26%1.41
F.A. Cup3716129583743.24%1.57
Total285967411540744733.68%1.43
Players In

DateNameAmount
Jul 1940Ron GreenwoodFrom Juniors
Jan 1944Jim Bowie£25
Jul 1944Alex Machinunknown
Dec 1944Robert Russellunknown
Apr 1945Murdoch Dickieunknown
May 1945Jimmy Bainunknown
Jul 1945Len Doldingunknown
Aug 1945Len Goulden£4,500
Sep 1945John Harris£5,000
Oct 1945Bill Robertsonunknown
Oct 1945Reg Williamsunknown
Nov 1945Tommy Lawton£11,500
Dec 1945Danny Winter£5,000
Mar 1946Fred Lewisunknown
Jul 1946Willi Steffenunknown
Jul 1946Bill Robertsonunknown
Aug 1946John Gallowayunknown
Aug 1946Alex Davidsonunknown
Sep 1946Fred Richardsonunknown
Sep 1946Sydney Bathgateunknown
Sep 1946Ray Goddardunknown
Sep 1946Tommy Walker£6,000
Nov 1946James Macauleyunknown
Nov 1946Johnny PatonOn Loan
Dec 1946Ken Armstrongunknown
Dec 1946Harry Medhurstunknown
Jan 1947Phil McKnightunknown
May 1947Bobby Campbellunknown
May 1947John McInnesunknown
Oct 1947Joseph Simnerunknown
Oct 1947Benny Jonesunknown
Nov 1947Charlie Dykeunknown
Nov 1947Bill Dicksonunknown
Jan 1948Roy Bentley£11,000
Mar 1948Billy Hughes£12,000
Mar 1948Hugh Billington£8,000
May 1948Jack Saundersunknown
May 1948Peter Pickeringunknown
Jul 1948Bob Warrenunknown
Jan 1949Frank Mitchellunknown
Mar 1949Billy Grayunknown
Jul 1949Jimmy Leadbetterunknown
Jul 1949Jack Allisterunknown
Jul 1949Freddie Jenkins£10,000
Jul 1949Stan Willemse£6,500
May 1950Bobby SmithFrom Juniors
Nov 1950Eric Parsons£23,000
Dec 1950Ernie Randallunknown
Jan 1951Wally Hinshelwoodunknown
Feb 1951Harry Hughesunknown
Mar 1951Sid Tickridgeunknown
Apr 1951James Smithunknown
May 1951Peter TuckFrom Juniors
Jun 1951Andy BowmanFrom Juniors
Aug 1951Alan Dicksunknown
Oct 1951Ralph Oelofseunknown
Oct 1951Jimmy D'Arcy£6,000
Nov 1951Bob Edwardsunknown
Nov 1951Michael Collinsunknown
Mar 1952Len KellFrom Juniors
Players Out

DateName
May 1939George Gibson
May 1939Len Allum
May 1939Harold Miller
May 1939Allan Craig
May 1939Ned Barkas
May 1939Tommy Law
Jun 1939Ernest Reid
Jun 1941Bob Griffiths
Jun 1941John O'Hare
Sep 1941George Barber
Jun 1942Johnny Jackson
Jun 1942Arnold Mayes
Jun 1943George Mills
Jun 1945David Alexander
Jun 1945Ron Greenwood
Jun 1945Jack Sherborne
Jun 1945Doug Smale
Jun 1945Bob Salmond
Jun 1945Jack Smith
Jun 1945Billy Mitchell
Dec 1945Victor Woodley
Dec 1945Sam Weaver
Dec 1945Harry Burgess
May 1946Sid Bidewell
Jun 1946Alf Hanson
Jun 1946Peter Buchanan
Dec 1946Joe Payne
Feb 1947Murdoch Dickie
May 1947Jimmy Bain
Jun 1947Johnny Paton
Jun 1947Willi Steffen
Jul 1947Jimmy Argue
Oct 1947Fred Richardson
Nov 1947Tommy Lawton
Jun 1948Alex Machin
Jul 1948Alex White
Jul 1948Len Dolding
Jul 1948Ray Goddard
Aug 1948Alex Davidson
Aug 1948Robert Russell
Dec 1948Tommy Walker
Dec 1948Bill Robertson
May 1949John Galloway
Jul 1949Joseph Simner
Jun 1950Len Goulden
Jun 1950Dickie Spence
Jan 1951Jim Bowie
May 1951Wally Hinshelwood
Jun 1951Danny Winter
Jun 1951Peter Pickering
Jun 1951Charlie Dyke
Jun 1951Freddie Jenkins
Jun 1951Billy Hughes
Jun 1951John McInnes
Jul 1951Hugh Billington
Aug 1951Bob Warren
Aug 1951James Macauley
Oct 1951Reg Williams


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Chelsea Manager Billy Birrell