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Charlie Cooke

Personal information
Full nameCharles Cooke
Date of birth14 October 1942(age 74)
Place of birthSt Monans, Scotland
Playing positionWinger

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Charles 'Charlie' Cooke (born 14 October 1942 in St Monans, Scotland) is a former Scottish footballer. He was a talented and skilful winger who played for Aberdeen, Dundee, Chelsea and Crystal Palace before ending his career in the United States.

Cooke began his professional career with Aberdeen in 1960 and moved to Dundee in December 1964, where he was voted player of the year. He signed for Chelsea in April 1966 for a then club record of £72,000 as part of manager Tommy Docherty's restructuring of the Chelsea side, which saw him take the place of Terry Venables in the side. He made his debut in May 1966 during a 2 0 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup win over FC Barcelona. On his league debut the following season against West Ham United, Cooke waltzed past England's World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore en route to scoring the winner for Chelsea. His debut season saw Chelsea reach the FA Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur (Cooke's cross had created Tony Hateley's winner for Chelsea in the semi-final against Leeds United). Cooke had a fierce shot tipped over the bar by Pat Jennings early on, but Chelsea generally underperformed and lost 2 1.

In the early 1970s, Cooke was one of the star players in a flamboyant, glamorous and often self-destructive Chelsea side, alongside the likes of Peter Bonetti, Peter Osgood, Alan Hudson and Ian Hutchinson. They reached another FA Cup final, against Leeds United, in 1970. The first game ended 2 2 and, with Chelsea trailing 1 0 in the replay at Old Trafford with the clock running down, Cooke's run and chipped pass set up Osgood's equaliser with a diving header; Chelsea eventually won 2 1 after extra time. The Cup Winners' Cup was added in 1971 with a replayed win over Real Madrid in Athens. Chelsea reached a third consecutive cup final in 1972, this time the League Cup, and though Cooke again created the equaliser for Osgood, Chelsea lost to Stoke City.

He was sold to Crystal Palace shortly afterwards for £85,000 and made 44 appearances for the South London side, but returned to Chelsea a year later. By that stage, the club were in decline and were relegated in 1974 75, though Cooke's experience proved invaluable in helping manager and ex-team mate Eddie McCreadie's young side earn promotion again in 1976 77. In his two spells at Chelsea, Cooke made 373 appearances, scoring 30 goals.

He was a Scotland international, winning 16 caps. He made his debut in a 4 1 win over Wales in 1965 and played his final match in 1975 against Portugal. Cooke left Chelsea for the second and final time in July 1978 to play for numerous American teams, including the Memphis Rogues, Los Angeles Aztecs and California Surf in the now-defunct NASL.

In 1980, he replaced his old Chelsea team mate, Eddie McCreadie, as the head coach of the Memphis Rogues. After new ownership moved the team to Calgary, Cooke himself moved to the California Surf where he played one last outdoor season. After this however, he continued to play in the indoor leagues, making his last appearance in the 1985 86 season for the Dallas Sidekicks.

He now runs a soccer school in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2006, his autobiography The Bonnie Prince, written with Martin Knight, was published.

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