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