Ian Britton joined Chelsea in 1971, playing 289 games for the club and scoring 34 goals over 10 seasons. He played the majority of his games in teams that were either in decline or well on the way there, with one glorious exception. He was an integral part of Eddie Mac’s promotion team, playing 37 games in 1976/77 and scoring ten goals from midfield (more goals, interestingly, than Ray Wilkins or Gary Stanley that season, which surprised me on looking it up). He was a man of limitless energy who never put in less than a full shift for the club. He was also the proud possessor of possibly the worst haircut in the club’s history.
Unlike the badge kissers and mercenaries that make up such a large proportion of top footballers today, Ian won’t have earned a fortune during his playing days. Far from it. He was part of the 1976/77 promotion squad that took a voluntary pay cut to help address the financial chasm caused by the construction of the East Stand. Most of the time he was at the club, it was skint, or nearly skint.
After leaving Chelsea in 1982 Ian went on to play for Dundee United, Blackpool and Burnley, for whom he scored the goal in 1987 that kept them in the Football League.
Sadly, Ian Britton is fighting cancer. His friends have organised a benefit night for Ian at North Cheam Sports & Social Club, 658 London Road, North Cheam, Surrey, SM3 9BY on Friday October 18th from 19.00. It is anticipated that plenty of ex-players from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s will be there. Tickets are only £10.
More details of Ian’s benefit night can be found on the Paul Canoville website here: http://www.paulcanoville.co.uk/#!ian-britton/c1wa2.
The page also shows clips of three of his goals, including one at Notts Forest in 1976 which gained a crucial point on the way to promotion.
Call North Cheam Sports & Social Club on 0208 644 8469 for tickets. At the time of writing there were about 50 left. It would be great if the event could sell out. Ian always gave 100% for Chelsea and deserves our support in his biggest fight. If you supported Chelsea then, you’ll remember and appreciate him. If you were too young to see him, or if you weren’t alive then, try and come to support him.
Ian Britton is one of our own. He gave his all for Chelsea. Let’s give him something back in his time of need.
Tim Rolls has recently been elected chair of the Chelsea Supporters Trust and contributes frequently to the cfcuk fanzine as well as radio.