Chelsea legend waves away Rudiger, Kepa clash, says training-ground bust-ups are not new at Stamford Bridge

April 7th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

One of Chelsea’s greats Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris says there were always bust-ups in training at Stamford Bridge in his day.

And the legendary hardman Harris said idolised striker Peter Osgood — known as the ‘King of Stamford Bridge’ due to his silky skills — was most hot-headed of the lot.

The Blues hit the news on Sunday when it was revealed Antonio Rudiger and Kepa Arrizabalaga clashed in training and had to be pulled apart.

Boss Thomas Tuchel ended his fellow German Rudiger’s involvement early, but allowed Spanish keeper Kepa to stay with team-mates.

Harris, an un­com­promising right-back who made a record 795 Blues appearances, to The Sun: “In my time if you were playing five-a-side you would always get somebody step over the mark and there’d be a bit of pushing and shoving.

“When I played in five-a-side or friendly matches I’d just want to win. My dad drilled into me you get nothing for being second best.

“Ossie was one of these lads that was very competitive and played the same in training as he would on Saturday.

“I’m sure central defenders who played against Ossie would all say that apart from the fantastic ability, he had a bit of nastiness in him.

“Nobody took liberties with him.”

Harris, 76, said the training conditions were far removed from the plush pitches at Chelsea’s current training ground in Cobham, Surrey.

He said: “We played five-a-sides on a Friday before a game on Saturday out on the forecourt at Stamford Bridge on the hard surface there.

“You used to have metal barriers and you’d run after a ball sometimes and have to duck, otherwise you’d run into one of the iron railings.

“We used to have more people watching behind the gates than you get at reserve games these days.

“They were very competitive sessions. Sometimes someone would suggest having the married fellows against the single ones.

“The following Friday it would be completely different — like over-20s against the over-25s.

“There were always isolated incidents, but if anything happened it was soon forgotten.

“The lads would shake hands, walk away and have half of lager after training.

“When you are with the same players five or six days a week and travelling together, you can’t afford to hold grudges.

“I served under seven managers, and for long periods I was captain, so maybe they saw something in me during training and games.”

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