In the second piece for this series I’ll help you learn about another of Chelsea’s lesser known players who was a fan favourite and special character at the club.
2. Doug Rougvie – Left back, crunching tackle king.
Doug Rougvie was something of a misfit at Chelsea in the ’80s. He had won a big trophies with Aberdeen, including the Scottish League, SFA Cup, European Cup Winner’s Cup and UEFA Super Cup, no less. Doug Rougvie had pedigree and he cost us as much as Kerry Dixon did, with the Blues forking out a massive £150,000 for a defender. He was 6’3″, maybe 6’4″ of thundering left back. Hold on… a giant left back? Aren’t left backs cultured pieces of talent wrapped in small, pacey packages of ball crossing win? Not in this case. We brought us a Vinny Jones before Vinny knew what violence was. There was much anticipation.
On his debut against Arsenal at Highbury he set up Kerry Dixon for one of the best goals he ever scored and near the end of the game he sent England international Viv Anderson (another giant defender) flying in a 50-50 challenge that set the travelling Chelsea faithful chanting his name instantly. We were spoiled.
Then at my second ever Chelsea game against Ipswich Town he graced the cover of the match day programme and he signed it for me DURING the game!
He pulls a pen from his sock as the ball is kicked out of play near me, jogs over to the ball, sees me at the fence and tells me to give him my programme, signs it then takes the throw in!
Three words: Instant Cult Hero. Who does that? As an eight year-old it simply doesn’t get any better.
Unfortunately Big Dougie also had another side to his game. His crunching tackles more often than not took out the player and missed the ball and he was often caught out at the back due to his lack of pace, which gave way to more ill-timed tackles. I remember one afternoon as the sports ticker rolled up it showed he had scored. My dad was furious. “You should be defending not getting lost up front!” was something to the effect at what he shouted at the telly.
Here’s some evidence of Doug’s other side against Man Utd at Old Trafford the following season. Kerry Dixon nets two goals but you’ll see that Rougvie should be thankful he didn’t play in today’s game as he would have probably been sent off twice.
By the end of his Chelsea career Big Dougie was a bit part player and the days of football’s hard men as a standard part of the game was coming to an end. The signing of Tony Dorigo signaled the end of his time at the club and after a highly entertaining, if inconsistent, three years at the Bridge he moved onto Brighton for about half what we paid for him.
Bless you Doug Rougvie, you’ll always be a hero to those who saw you play in royal blue!