Vic Woodley

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Vic Woodley
Personal information
Full name Victor Robert Woodley
Date of birth (1910-02-26)26 February 1910
Place of birth Slough, England
Date of death 23 October 1978(1978-10-23) (aged 68)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
19??–1931 Windsor & Eton
1931–1945 Chelsea 252 (0)
1946 Derby County 30 (0)
National team
1937–1939 England 19 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Victor Robert Woodley (26 February 1910 – 23 October 1978) was an English football goalkeeper who played for both Chelsea and the England national team between the wars.

Woodley was spotted by a Chelsea scout whilst playing for Windsor & Eton and signed for the club in 1931, making his debut the same year. Woodley was a member of the glamorous Chelsea side of the 1930s, playing alongside the likes of Hughie Gallacher, Alex Jackson and Alec Cheyne. Known for his reliability and his impressive sense of anticipation, Woodley's performances were often key to preserving Chelsea's First Division status with his high-profile teammates invariably failing to live up to expectations. So reliable was he that he kept John Jackson, Scotland's first choice goalkeeper, out of the Chelsea side.

Woodley won nineteen caps for England - all consecutive, a record at the time - and in an era when there was stiff competition for the England goakeeping jersey from Harry Hibbs, George Tweedy and Frank Swift. Woodley was a member of the England side which toured Nazi Germany in 1938, performing the Hitler salute before the match at the Olympiastadion. His international career was ended prematurely by the outbreak of the Second World War.

Woodley briefly resumed his playing career with Chelsea after the War, playing in their famous friendly match against Soviet side, Dynamo Moscow, but left on a free transfer shortly afterwards and joined Bath City. An injury crisis among Derby County's goalkeepers saw Woodley return to the First Division early in 1946, making a further 30 league appearances. Woodley's career also ended on a high note, as he kept goal during Derby's 4-1 FA Cup final win over Charlton Athletic.

He died in October 1978.