George Hilsdon was a man of many firsts for Chelsea FC. He became the first Blue to score 100 goals for the club, the first to score six goals in an FA Cup match, and in February of 1907 in a match against Ireland he became the first Chelsea player to represent England. Hilsdon began his career with West Ham United in 1903 but transferred to Chelsea in 1906 to become one of the most prolific scorers in club history. He announced his goalscoring intentions early on by scoring five goals in his debut for the team and went on to earn the nickname Gatling Gun because his shots on goal “were simply unstoppable and which travel like shots from a gun.”
George Hilsdon, Chelsea’s first goals centurion. (Thank you, West Ham.) pic.twitter.com/Hre3MxI6fr
— Rick Glanvill (@RickGlanvill) November 21, 2013
Hilsdon went on to score 108 goals in 164 appearances and is still the 9th highest goalscorer of all-time for Chelsea. His six goals in one FA Cup match are still a club record which has stood for over 100 years. His prowess in front of goal was not just limited to the club level as he went on to score 14 goals in just eight international appearances for the Three Lions.
The England man returned to West Ham in 1912 after battling injuries and alcoholism at the tail end of his Chelsea career. Despite these setbacks he still scored a goal nearly every two games for the East London club. His football career came to an end after suffering serious injuries on the frontlines in World War I.
Hilsdon does not have a statue at Stamford Bridge but there is a weather vane modeled after his appearance and it is said that it will bring terrible luck and misfortune if removed from the ground. If anything, George Hilsdon was a colorful character who struggled with many personal issues but still remains one of the best and most prolific goalscorers in Chelsea history.
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