Bartlett, ‘Big X’


Lord_AttenboroughLord_Attenborough_1With the demise of Sir Richard Attenborough, I couldn’t resist watching a documentary about ‘The Great Escape’ on YouareaTube. Happily, it tells the tale of how an RAF investigative team tracked down the Gestapo swine who murdered fifty of the escapees. Suffice to say that John Bull doled out some fitting justice against blokes who issued the puny justification that they were only following orders.

Anyhow, not all Germans are bad. In fact we have come to er love Ballack and Schurrle.

Of course, one of the most tragic stories of the March 1944 mass breakout was the killing of squadron leader Roger Bushell. As correctly depicted in the 1963 film, his cover was blown when his travelling companion said “Thank you” after a cunning Nazi had wished them “Good luck”. In the film Bushell’s character was reinvented as Bartlett (Big X) expertly played by our beloved Richard Attenborough. Dickie also found further acclaim with such movies as ‘Brighton Rock’ and ‘Ghandi’. He will always be fondly remembered as arguably the face of Chelsea Football Club, a celebrity fan who followed the club through thick and thin, and an ever-present at the Bridge. Incidentally, if you check out the following link, you can find the multitude of famous names that support Chelsea!

Although there might be scope for naming a bar or some club facility after Dickie, I must take issue with those who are calling for a stand to be named after Sir Richard. He may well be a die-hard, but there are plenty of Chelsea followers who have stuck with the club through decades of good times and bad. Are they to be honoured too? Besides, the late DA did receive a knighthood, so he has copped plenty of recognition.

However, my main point is the following. If we are allocating the name of a stand permanently in memory of a Chelsea legend, well we’ve only got three stands left to choose from. With one stand named after Matthew Harding, the following individuals ought to be in the running to eventually have stands named after them: Chopper Harris is the club’s longest-serving player. Surely he deserves to have a stand named after him. When Mourinho passes away, will he not be a candidate for having a stand named after him? What about a Zola Stand? Or a Lampard Stand? Or a Terry Stand? As for Ashley Cole, perhaps we could have the Ashley Cole One-Night Stand?

Seriously though, there are going to be many legends who will leave us permanently some time in the future. Many of them (such as Bobby Tambling) might be worthy of having a stand named after them. Dickie Attenborough was a model Chelsea supporter, but I really think that it would not be appropriate to name a stand after him.

Sorry Big X.

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2 thoughts on “Bartlett, ‘Big X’

  • Well Gary, on this one we have to disagree.
    I think the East / West Stand being re named the “Lord Attenborough Stand” would be a fitting tribute to not only a lovely man but a Chelsea Supporting Legend as well. – Ed

  • I think the thing about Richard Attenborough is not only was he an illustrious supporter of longstanding, but he was also a shareholder when Cabra tried to buy out the Bridge. Unlike other directors, he refused to sell giving Ken Bates the ammunition to frustrate the would-be property developers.
    So although, of course, Chelsea is stuffed full of glorious ex-players who deserve a mention, Lord Attenborough was instrumental in saving the Bridge and therefore, in my opinion, it would be fitting to name a stand after him; if only to remind CPO shareholders of their duty.

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