Willi Steffen

Football, Football player

1925 – 2005


Who was Willi Steffen?

Willi Steffen was a Swiss international footballer who played as a left-back.

Steffen started out as an amateur with Cantonal Neuch√Ętel and later became the first Swiss footballer to play in England when he signed for Chelsea. He had only journeyed to England to learn the language, having been sent by his parents in preparation for him joining the family's fruit and vegetable business, but his teacher turned out to be the wife of then-Chelsea manager, Billy Birrell. He was given a trial and signed for the club in July 1946.

Steffen was a cultured and dedicated full back, tall and pacy, who quickly became a crowd favourite at Chelsea, while his blonde hair and good looks also won him admirers. He made his debut in a 3-1 loss against Derby County and played 20 league and cup games for Chelsea during the 1946-47 season, including a memorable FA Cup win over Arsenal at Highbury, during which he expertly marked winger Ian McPherson. Steffen returned to Switzerland at the end of the season to finish his national service and was made club captain in his final game for Chelsea, also against Derby.

Upon his return to Switzerland he re-joined Cantonal before moving to Young Boys Bern in 1950. With them, he won the Swiss Super League four years in succession from 1957-60 as well as the Schweizer Cup in 1953 and 1958.

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Mar 17, 1925
  • Switzerland
Lived in
  • Bern
May 3, 2005

on July 23, 2013


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