The 15 players who played just one Premier League game for Chelsea
Chelsea have used a massive range of players during their time in the Premier League, from academy graduates to big-money signings, but a few only ever got one chance to impress.
For every John Terry or Frank Lampard to follow their Chelsea debut with hundreds more appearances, there are those who played just once in the Premier League for the club.
We’ve left out the four players who are still on the Blues’ books but out on loan – even if it’s extremely unlikely we’ll see the likes of Lucas Piazon and Izzy Brown pull on a Chelsea shirt again, it’s still technically possible.
Not to be confused with Nick Culkin, another Premier League one-game wonder, Colgan was another back-up goalkeeper who played just once in the competition.
The Irishman was picked up by Chelsea in the early 90s after beginning his career in the League of Ireland with Drogheda United but had to wait nearly five years for his debut in a 3-2 defeat at West Ham.
He went on to have a healthy career in England and Scotland, spending a few years as Hibs’ first choice, and is now Wigan Athletic’s goalkeeping coach.
— Chad (@ChelseaChadder) March 12, 2016
Pearce played more than 200 Premier League games, even winning the title as part of Blackburn Rovers’ 1994-95 squad, but just one of those 200-plus was in a Chelsea shirt.
He came off the bench to replace an injured Paul Elliott back in September 1992, one of Chelsea’s first games in the Premier League. The centre-back was just 18 at the time, but a year later he would fetch a not insubstantial £300,000 fee.
After also spending time in the top flight with West Ham and Fulham, he retired in 2012. He’s now head of recruitment at West Brom, whose manager, Slaven Bilic, left West Ham as a player just six months before Pearce began his spell in east London.
Clement’s brother Paul is perhaps better known to Chelsea fans, having spent time on the Blues’ coaching staff, but Neil was the one who ended up playing for the club.
Well we say ‘playing’; his only league minutes came in a win over West Ham in December 1996, when he managed nearly an hour before being replaced by Andy Myers.
Clement had a much better time of it at West Brom, playing more than 200 games for the Baggies including a few in the Premier League.
There can’t be too many players born in the 1950s with Premier League minutes under their belt, but Peyton is one of them.
The veteran goalkeeper joined Chelsea on loan from Everton in the 1992-93 season and was called into action against Sheffield Wednesday when Dmitri Kharin made way at half-time.
After a spell as Arsenal’s goalkeeping coach under Arsene Wenger, he has now taken his talents to Japan, where he now works for Shimizu S-Pulse.
Livingstone went the opposite way to Ian Pearce, joining Chelsea from Blackburn in 1993.
He made his debut towards the end of the 1992-93 season, replacing Neil Shipperley during a defeat at Old Trafford.
The forward moved on to Grimsby during the following season and spent most of his career with the Mariners before retiring in 2004.
Lamptey looked for a long time like he’d end up playing more than once for the club, having made his debut under Frank Lampard in the December victory over Arsenal.
The defender was part of the victorious FA Youth Cup squad of 2017-18, playing 85 minutes in the first leg of the final – also against the Gunners.
However, in January of this season, having failed to agree a new Chelsea contract, Lamptey made a permanent switch to Brighton & Hove Albion.
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Boga was extremely unlucky to only playing once for Chelsea.
The Frenchman was handed his bow on the opening day of the 2017-18 season, but Gary Cahill’s early red card against Burnley saw Boga sacrificed for another centre-back.
He was subsequently loaned to Birmingham and then sold to Sassuolo, where he is doing rather well, so much so reports suggest Chelsea are tempted to activate the 23-year-old’s buyback clause.
A rare example, at least by the standards of the Abramovich era: a player brought to the club as a non-academy player who only played once for the first team.
Brazil international Mineiro joined from Hertha Berlin in 2008, linking up again with his former international boss Luiz Felipe Scolari, but played just 15 Premier League minutes as a substitute for Nicolas Anelka in a 5-0 win over Sunderland.
The midfielder played out the rest of his career back in Germany, retiring in 2012,
A graduate of the Chelsea academy, Wolleaston made his debut from the bench in a 4-1 defeat to Sunderland in 1999.
In a sign of things to come for Blues youngsters, he was then sent on loan three times before leaving without adding to his 13 minutes.
The midfielder, who came through at the same time as he likes of John Terry and Jon Harley, dropped down the leagues before seeing out his career in non-league.
Smith has spoken highly of Jose Mourinho, the man who gave him a first-team debut at the end of the 2005-06 season.
“He knew a lot about certain players,” the midfielder told us in 2017. “In meetings, when we used to talk about the opposition, he would know every individual down to the ground: their strong points, their weak points, he would even know when they last had a cold probably, that’s how detailed he was.”
However, Smith was a victim of the Blues’ success, failing to get back into the shake-up after some time out on loan.
He is currently on loan at Yeovil in the Conference, having spent the last decade in the lower leagues with Leyton Orient and, more recently, Crawley.
The second 50s birth on this list, Rix actually came out of retirement to play for Chelsea, featuring against Arsenal in May 1995 when he was already part of the Blues’ coaching staff.
The midfielder also had a brief spell as Chelsea’s caretaker manager, taking charge after Gianluca Vialli’s dismissal in 2000, but his time at the club has been viewed in a different light of late.
Rix, along with former Blues colleague Gwyn Williams, was accused of racism and bullying by a number of youth players on the club’s books in the 90s. Rix and Williams issued statements at the time denying the allegations.
Swift was handed his debut in Jose Mourinho’s second spell, replacing Eden Hazard at the end of a win at Cardiff at the end of the 2013-14 season.
After some time away on loan, including an impressive campaign at Brentford in 2015-16, he eventually made a permanent move away from Stamford Bridge, joining Reading at the end of that season.
The midfielder crossed the 100 league game threshold for the Royals this season.
Returning to the late 90s stream of academy grads, we turn our attention to west London boy Sheerin.
The forward had the privilege of replacing Gianfranco Zola for his one Blues appearance, although it only lasted a minute or so in a 1-0 win at Wimbledon in 1997.
Sheerin left Chelsea in 2000 and is best known for becoming one of the founding members of the newly formed AFC Wimbledon a couple of years later, scoring nine times in the club’s first ever season.
Scottish defender Watt shared a pitch with Chelsea’s 2004-05 title winners, replacing Jiri Jarosik late on in a draw with Newcastle United after making his senior debut in the FA Cup earlier that season.
He spent a fair amount of his career in non-league football, though there was also time for a brief stint at Swansea and a slightly less brief one with Notts County. He moved into coaching before hanging up his boots and is now manager of Hythe Town in the Isthmian League.
Watt gave us a fascinating insight into Jose Mourinho’s first spell with Chelsea while appearing on our podcast, The Broken Metatarsal.
Another debutant in the 2004-05 campaign, Grant came on for the final minute of a win at Old Trafford.
It wasn’t a sign of things to come, though – in 2008, following four loan spells away from the Bridge, he joined Southend United on a permanent basis.
The midfielder has bounced around the lower leagues in the years since, making a permanent move to Swindon Town in January after a successful loan spell at the County Ground.