Jack Whitley (1878-1955)
The only Chelsea footballer known to be buried in the cemetery.
Stamford Bridge, home to Chelsea Football Club, stands beside the cemetery. The club’s founder, Augustus Mears, as well as the first chairman and three directors, are buried in the cemetery. Perhaps surprisingly, there’s only one Chelsea footballer so far.
John ‘Jack’ Whitley was Chelsea’s goalkeeper from 1907-14, playing 138 times. He was the first goalkeeper in the club to play for more than one season, and helped Chelsea win promotion to the First Division in 1912. Aged 36, Jack became first team trainer, where he looked after the players’ training and fitness and tended to their injuries on match days. He also travelled with the team in 1929 on a tour of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, as trainer and emergency goalkeeper.
Jack served with the club for over 30 years, and was popular and well-respected. He died in 1955, just after seeing Chelsea win the league title for the first time, and he specially requested to be buried at Brompton. His grave was unmarked until Chelsea supporters rallied together to pay for a memorial stone in 2017.