Bill Garner - Chelsea FC - Biography & League appearances.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 02 January 1978

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      Sunday, 14 December 1947
      Leicester, England
  • Chelsea FC
    • Club Career Dates
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 9th September 1972 as a sub in a 3-1 defeat at home to West Ham United (Aged: 24)
    • Club Career
      94 League apps (+11 as sub), 31 goals
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Bill GARNER - Chelsea FC - Biography & League appearances.


So impressive was the form of Southend United's Bill Garner when he lined up against Chelsea in a League Cup tie in September 1972 that just three days later - and at a cost of £100,000 to the London club - he was making his top-flight debut for the Blues, appearing as an early substitute for the injured Alan Hudson in a defeat by West Ham. A burly, traditional centre-forward who was at his best when attacking the ball in the air, Garner made his first start in a visit to Coventry at the end of the month and was amongst the scorers in a 3-1 victory. His first season was dogged by injuries - the inevitable consequence of his rugged playing style - but seven goals from 21 league appearances were supplemented by three goals in four FA Cup games, a fine brace to beat Bobby Robson's Ipswich side and a further strike which was quickly followed by a sending-off as Chelsea triumphed over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. A viral infection further hindered Bill's progress during the Blues' troubled 1973/74 season, although he managed a further seven goals - the highlight being a brace of headers in a 3-3 draw with QPR - but the club were in crisis and the acrimonious mid-season departures of Peter Osgood and Alan Hudson left a huge burden on replacement players, Garner included, who were not blessed with the same ability as their illustrious predecessors.


Chelsea ended that season in 17th spot but a year later were relegated, Bill failing to capitalise on a fine start to the campaign when he scored three goals in the first four games and was called-up by new England manager Don Revie as part of a mammoth 84-man squad of players who Revie had earmarked as potential international material. Sadly for Bill, just three more goals followed after his initial burst and he was no more prolific in Division Two, scoring just six times as Chelsea finished in mid-table in 1975/76 before missing the entire 1976/77 campaign through both injury and lack of form, as the Blues clinched promotion at the second attempt. Having found the net just once prior to Christmas in 1977/78 - scoring the only goal of the game after just two minutes against Manchester United at Old Trafford - Bill hit a fine run of form just after the festive season with three goals in consecutive matches against West Ham, Birmingham (a 5-4 win!) and West Bromwich Albion. He was also instrumental in a famous 4-2 FA Cup triumph over European champions Liverpool at the beginning of January. However, only one more goal was to follow - a consolation strike in a 3-1 defeat at West Ham - and it would prove to be his last in a Chelsea shirt.


The Blues maintained their position in the top-flight that season but were destined to finish bottom at the end of 1978/79, and were relegated by Easter. However, by that time Bill Garner had left the club. An appearance in an early-season defeat at Derby was his last for Chelsea and in November 1978 he joined Cambridge United on a free-transfer. (Kelvin Barker)


1966–1967    Notts County    2    (0)

                       Loughborough United        
196x–1969    Dunstable Town        
1969               Bedford Town        
1969–1972    Southend United    102    (41)
1972–1978   Chelsea    105    (31)
1978–1980    Cambridge United    24    (3)
1980–1983    Chelmsford City        
1983–1984    Brentford