Ron Harris (footballer)

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Ron Harris
Personal information
Full name Ronald Edward Harris
Date of birth (1944-11-13) 13 November 1944 (age 70)
Place of birth Hackney, London, England
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1961–1980 Chelsea 655 (13)
1980–1983 Brentford 61 (0)
1984–1985 Aldershot
Teams managed
1984–1985 Aldershot
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Ronald Edward "Ron" Harris (born 13 November 1944, Hackney, London, England), known by the nickname "Chopper", is a former English footballer who played for Chelsea in the 1960s and 1970s. Harris is widely regarded as one of the toughest defenders of his era - along with players such as Tommy Smith and Norman Hunter - hence the nickname. His brother Allan Harris was also a professional footballer and they were teammates at Chelsea in the mid-1960s.

Chelsea[edit]

Harris was a member of the Chelsea side which won the FA Youth Cup in 1961 and made his senior club debut in February 1962 in a 1-0 win against Sheffield Wednesday. Within a year, he had established himself as a regular in the side, a position he would hold for the next eighteen years. He formed an important part of new Chelsea manager Tommy Docherty's youth-oriented re-building of the club after relegation from the First Division alongside the likes of Peter Bonetti, Peter Osgood and Bobby Tambling.

Upon the club's return to the top division, Harris solidified his reputation as an uncompromising - yet talented - defender with a series of strong (and sometimes notorious) performances. His first honours with Chelsea came with a League Cup win over Leicester City in 1965. In the same season, Chelsea were challenging for the league title for most of the year but ultimately finished third after winning just one of their final five matches. He became club captain the following year when Terry Venables left for Tottenham Hotspur and in 1967 became the youngest ever captain to lead out a side in the 1967 FA Cup Final, although they lost 2-1 to Tottenham. Chelsea, led by Harris, reached another FA Cup final three years later, this time against Leeds United - a side then at their peak in English football.

That 1970 FA Cup Final is notorious for being one of the most physical of all time, it saw Harris come into his own in the role of both inspirational leader and uncompromising tackler. With Leeds having taken a 2-1 lead at Wembley with just six minutes remaining, it was his quick free kick which led to Ian Hutchinson's headed equaliser to take the game to a replay. During the replay at Old Trafford his late tackle on Leeds' playmaker Eddie Gray after just eight minutes (just one of many late tackles committed by both sides), left the latter a virtual passenger for the rest of the match: Chelsea eventually won 2-1 after extra-time.

The following season saw Harris lift Chelsea's first major European honour - the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup - in another replayed final against Real Madrid in Athens. Chelsea also reached a second League Cup final in 1972, but surprisingly lost to Stoke in what proved to be his last major final for the club.

Moves[edit]

While many of Chelsea's star players departed during the 1970s for various reasons, Harris remained ever-present in the side throughout a decade which saw them relegated twice and promoted once, although he lost the club captaincy to the 18-year-old Ray Wilkins. He finally left Chelsea in 1980 to become a player-coach at Brentford, having played a record 795 games for Chelsea. He later had a brief stint as player-manager of Aldershot.

In retirement[edit]

He is now a football pundit (especially on Chelsea), an in-demand after-dinner speaker and recently penned an autobiography, Chopper: A Chelsea Legend. He also has a suite named after him at Stamford Bridge, in honour of his status at the club.

On 13 November 2007, he took part in the limited edition autobiography CD series 60 minutes with..., when he was interviewed by David Knight. Harris spoke in detail about his career.

Between 1 April 2009 and 1 April 2010, Harris was attempting to set a new world record in signing the most autographs within a twelve-month period. This is being done via a UK-wide tour and via the sale of signed photos online.

On 19 May 2011, he was given "Special Recognition Award" in a Chelsea player of the year ceremony.

Harris also conducts Legends Tours of Stamford Bridge. He is also the patron of Aylesford Football Club in Kent, which has teams ranging from under 7's right through to adult men's and women's teams.

Career statistics[edit]

[1]

Season Club Division League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1961–62 Chelsea First Division 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
1962–63 Second Division 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
1963–64 First Division 41 2 3 0 1 0 0 0 45 2
1964–65 42 2 5 0 6 0 0 0 53 2
1965–66 36 2 6 0 0 0 10 0 52 2
1966–67 42 0 7 0 3 0 0 0 52 0
1967–68 40 0 5 0 1 0 0 0 46 0
1968–69 40 0 5 0 3 0 4 0 52 0
1969–70 30 0 8 0 3 0 0 0 41 0
1970–71 38 1 3 0 4 0 9 0 55 1
1971–72 41 0 3 0 9 0 4 1 57 1
1972–73 42 1 3 0 7 0 0 0 52 1
1973–74 36 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 39 2
1974–75 42 0 2 0 4 0 0 0 48 0
1975–76 Second Division 40 0 4 0 1 0 0 0 45 0
1976–77 19 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 22 0
1977–78 First Division 37 1 4 0 1 0 0 0 42 1
1978–79 40 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 42 0
1979–80 Second Division 39 2 1 0 2 0 0 0 42 2
Chelsea total 655 13 64 0 48 0 27 1 795 14

Totals include 1 Charity Shield appearance in 1970–71.

Playing honours[edit]

England Chelsea
England Brentford
  • Milk Cup: 4th Round 1983 (Brentford's Best Ever Finish)

Individual honours[edit]

  • Chelsea's Most League Appearances - 657
  • Chelsea's Most FA Cup Appearances - 64
  • Chelsea's Most Appearances in Total - 795
  • Special Recognition Award 2010-2011

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Players Appearances He-Ho". Bounder.friardale.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 

External links[edit]