also known as The Blues or
previously as The Pensioners), founded in 1905, are an English
Premier League football team. The club's home ground is the 42,360
capacity Stamford Bridge football ground in Fulham, West London,
where they have played since foundation. Despite their name, the
club is based just outside the Royal Borough of Kensington and
Chelsea, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It is on
the Fulham Road, which runs between Fulham and Chelsea. In 2003, the
club were bought by Russian oil tycoon, Roman Abramovich.
Chelsea have spent most of their history in the top tier of English football,
and have had two broad periods of success: first during the 1960s and early
1970s, and then again from the late 1990s to the present day. In total, they
have won three league titles, three FA Cups, three League Cups and two UEFA Cup
Winners' Cups. During the 2005-06 season, they became Premier League champions
for the second consecutive year.
Chelsea have only ever had one home ground, Stamford Bridge, where they have
played since foundation. It was officially opened on 28 April 1877. For the
first 28 years of its existence it was used almost exclusively by the London
Athletic Club as an arena for athletics meetings and not at all for football. In
1904 the ground was acquired by H A (Gus) Mears and his brother, J T Mears, who
had previously acquired additional land (formerly a large market garden) with
the aim of staging football matches on the now 12.5 acre (51,000 m²) site. The
Mears family remained the owners of the ground (and subsequently the Club) until
Stamford Bridge was designed for the Mears family by the noted
football architect Archibald Leitch. They offered the stadium to
Fulham Football Club, but the offer was turned down. As a
consequence, the owners decided to form their own football club to
occupy their new ground. Most football clubs were founded first, and
then sought grounds in which to play, but Chelsea were founded for
Stamford Bridge. Since there was already a football club named
Fulham in the borough, the founders decided to adopt the name of the
adjacent borough of Chelsea for the new club, having rejected names
such as Kensington FC, Stamford Bridge FC and
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Starting with an open bowl-like design and one covered terrace, Stamford
Bridge had an original capacity of around 100,000.
The early 1930s saw the construction of a terrace on the southern part of the
ground with a roof that covered around 1/5th of the stand. It eventually became
known as the "Shed end", the home of Chelsea's most loyal and vocal supporters,
and particularly came into its own during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The exact
origins of the name are unclear, but the fact that the roof looked like a
corrugated iron shed roof played a part.
During the 1960s, the club's owners embarked on a modernisation of Stamford
Bridge with plans for a 60,000 all-seater stadium. Work was begun on the East
Stand in the early 1970s but the cost almost brought the club to its knees,
which led to the sale of the freehold to property developers. Following a long
legal battle, it wasn't until the mid-1990s that Chelsea's future at the stadium
was secured and renovation work resumed. The north, west and southern parts of
the ground were converted into all-seater stands and moved closer to the pitch,
and the current legal capacity of Stamford Bridge is 42,360. Due to its location
in a built-up part of London on a main road and next to a railway line, there
are obvious constraints on further expansion, something deemed as necessary for
Chelsea to compete with their rivals. As a result the club have been linked with
a move away from Stamford Bridge.
The pitch is now owned by Chelsea Pitch Owners, an organisation that took out
a loan to purchase the stadium and also the rights to the Chelsea FC name. This
was done to ensure the stadium could never again be sold to developers. It also
means that if someone tries to move the football club to a new stadium they
could not use the name.
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|Chelsea F.C. was founded on
March 14, 1905
Chelsea F.C. was founded on March 14, 1905 at The Rising Sun pub (now The
Butcher's Hook), opposite today's main entrance to the ground on the Fulham
Road, and were elected to the Football League shortly afterwards. The club began
with established players recruited from other teams and promotion to the top
flight was swift, but their early years saw little success, save for an FA Cup
final in 1915, where they lost to Sheffield United. Chelsea gained a reputation
for signing big-name players and for
being entertainers, but made little impact on the English game in the inter-war
years. Former England centre-forward Ted Drake became manager in 1952 and
proceeded to modernise the club. He removed the club's Chelsea pensioner crest,
improved the youth set-up and training regime, re-built the side, and led
Chelsea to their first major trophy success - the League championship - in
1954–55. The following season saw UEFA create the European Champions' Cup, but
after objections from The Football League and the FA Chelsea were persuaded to
withdraw from the competition before it started.
Tommy Docherty became manager in 1961 with the club facing relegation, which
he was unable to prevent. In his first full season as manager, Docherty led
Chelsea to promotion again with an impressive new, youth-oriented team. The new
Chelsea side, epitomised by cult hero Peter Osgood - talented, stylish and
occasionally self-destructive - oozed charisma and class and soon built up a
major following, but ultimately failed to match its swagger with on-field
triumphs, and endured several near-misses. The League Cup was won in 1965, but
in three seasons the side were beaten in three semi-finals and were FA Cup
runners-up. They also narrowly missed out on winning the league title in
1964-65. In 1970 Chelsea ran out FA Cup winners, beating Leeds United 2–1 in a
pulsating final replay. A UEFA Cup Winners' Cup triumph was added to the haul
the following year - Chelsea's first European honour - with another replayed
win, this time over Real Madrid in Athens.
Following that high, the team declined dramatically. Disciplinary issues saw
key players transferred while an over-ambitious redevelopment of the stadium
(which only got as far as the pioneering East Stand, which retains its place
even in the modern stadium) threatened the financial stability of the club,
leading to the sale of more players and later the sale of the Stamford Bridge
freehold. The team were relegated and various managers came and went, all of
whom were hamstrung by the club's financial woes. Further problems were caused
by a fearsome reputation for violence amongst a section of the supporters (the
boundary between passion and hooliganism being dangerously narrow in those days)
and the club started to fall apart both on and off the field.
Chelsea were, at the nadir of their fortunes, acquired by businessman Ken
Bates for the sum of £1, and Bates proved to be a real fighter as the new
Chairman, although his opponents included supporters (who did not take kindly to
his suggestion of electrified fences to keep them off the pitch) as well as the
property developers who now owned the freehold. On the pitch, the team had fared
little better, finishing 18th in the Second Division in 1982–83. But in the
summer of 1983 manager John Neal put together an impressive new team for less
than £500,000. The new-look Chelsea won the Second Division in 1983–84 and then
secured two successive 6th place finishes. Following that, the club declined
again and were relegated in 1988, before bouncing back immediately by
emphatically winning the Second Division championship.
Chelsea were unconvincing in the new Premier League, but off the pitch and
after a decade-long legal battle, Bates finally reunited the stadium freehold
with the club by doing a deal with the banks of the property developers, who had
been bankrupted by a market crash. Glenn Hoddle was appointed player-manager for
the 1993–94 season, and led the club to the final of the FA Cup in 1994. In a
move significant for the club's future, Hoddle also signed former World Player
of the Year, Ruud Gullit in the summer of 1995, before leaving to take charge of
the English national side in 1996.
Gullit became player–manager and added several top-class international
players to the side, particularly Gianfranco Zola, as the club won the FA Cup
and established itself as one of England's top sides again, earning a reputation
for playing Sexy Football. Gullit was then sacked after a dispute with
Bates and Gianluca Vialli was installed as player-manager. Vialli led the team
to victory in the League Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1998, a near-miss in
the Premier League title race in 1998-99 and the UEFA Champions League
quarter-finals in 2000. In 2000, Chelsea were again FA Cup winners with a 1-0
win over Aston Villa. A disappointing start to the 2000–01 season saw Vialli
sacked in favour of another Italian, Claudio Ranieri. Ranieri guided Chelsea to
the 2002 FA Cup final and Champions League qualification in 2002–03.
In June 2003, Bates sold Chelsea to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for
£60 million, thus completing the biggest-ever sale of an English football club.
Owing to Abramovich's Russian heritage, the club were soon popularly dubbed "Chelski"
in the British media. Over £100 million was spent on new players. The spending
saw an upturn in the club's form, but they had to settle for 2nd place in the
Premiership, and reaching the Champions League semi-finals. Ranieri was sacked
and replaced by successful Portuguese coach José Mourinho, who had just guided
FC Porto to victory in the UEFA Champions League.
2005 was Chelsea's centenary year. Led by captain John Terry and high-scoring
midfielder Frank Lampard, they celebrated it in style by becoming Premiership
champions in a record-breaking season (most clean sheets, fewest goals conceded,
most victories, most points earned),
League Cup winners with a 3–2 win over Liverpool at the Millennium Stadium and
reaching the Champions League semi-finals. The following year, they were again
League Champions, equalling their own Premiership record of 29 wins set the
previous season. They also became the fifth team to win back-to-back
championships since the Second World War and the only London club to do so since
Stamford Bridge Stadium, Fulham. Home to Chelsea football club
Since the club's foundation, Chelsea have had four main crests, though all
underwent minor variations. In 1905, Chelsea adopted as its first crest the
image of a Chelsea pensioner, which obviously contributed to the pensioner
nickname, and remained for the next half-century, though it never appeared on
the shirts. As part of new manager Ted Drake's modernisation of the club from
1952, he insisted that the pensioner badge be removed from the match day
programme in order to change the club's image and that a new crest be adopted.
As a stop-gap, a temporary emblem comprising simply the initials C.F.C. was
adopted for one year. In 1953, the club adopted what is arguably its most famous
crest - that of an upright blue lion looking backwards and holding a staff -
which was to endure for the next three decades. The crest was based on elements
in the coat of arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea (discussed and
illustrated on this website) with the "lion rampant regardant" taken from the
arms of then club president Viscount Chelsea and the staff from the Abbots of
Westminster, former Lords of the Manor of Chelsea. This was also the first club
badge to appear on shirts, since the policy of putting the crest on the shirts
was only adopted in the early 1960s.
In 1986, with new owners now at the club, Chelsea's crest was changed again
as part of another attempt to modernise and to capitalise on new marketing
opportunities, because new Chairman Ken Bates was advised he had not acquired
any copyright in the existing crest. The new badge featured a more naturalistic
non-heraldic lion, yellow and not blue, standing over the C.F.C. initials. It
lasted for the next 19 years, though with some modifications such as the use of
different colours. With new ownership, and the club's centenary approaching,
combined with demands from fans for the club's traditional badge to be restored,
it was decided that the crest should be changed again in 2004. The new crest was
officially adopted for the start of the 2005-06 season and marks a return to the
older design of the blue heraldic lion holding a staff.
Chelsea have always worn blue shirts, though they initially adopted a lighter
shade than the current version, and unlike today wore white shorts and dark blue
socks. The lighter blue was taken from the racing colours of then club
president, Earl Cadogan (Lord Chelsea). This light blue kit was short-lived,
however, and soon replaced by a royal blue version. When Tommy Docherty became
manager in the early 1960s he changed the kit again, adding blue shorts (which
have remained ever since) and white socks, believing it made the club's colours
more distinctive, since no other major side used that combination.
Chelsea's traditional away colours are all yellow or all white with blue trim
but, as with most teams, they have had some more unusual ones. The first away
strip consisted of black and white stripes and for one game in the 1960s the
team wore Inter Milan-style blue and black stripes, again at Docherty's behest.
Other memorable away kits include a mint green strip in the 1980s, a red and
white checked one in the early 90s and a graphite and tangerine addition in the
mid-1990s, which is widely seen by fans as one of the worst ever. All kits are
discussed on Chelsea's official site. The current Chelsea away strip consists of
a black shirt with thin white stripes, coupled with shorts of either matching
black, or white.
Chelsea's kit is currently manufactured by Adidas, which is contracted to
supply the club's kit from 2006 to 2011. Their previous kit manufacturer was
Umbro. Chelsea's first shirt sponsor was Gulf Air, agreed midway through the
1983-84 season. Following that, the club were sponsored by Grange Farms, Bai Lin
tea and Italian company Simod before a long-term deal was signed with computer
manufacturer Commodore International in 1989 (Amiga, an off-shoot of Commodore,
also appeared on the shirts). Chelsea were subsequently sponsored by Coors beer
(1995-97), Autoglass (1997-2001) and Emirates Airline (2001-05). Chelsea's
current shirt sponsor is Samsung Mobile.
Chelsea are generally a well-supported club. They have the fifth highest
average all-time attendance in English football
and regularly attract over 40,000 fans to Stamford Bridge; they were the 5th
best-supported Premiership team in the 2005-06 season, with an average gate of
41,870. Chelsea's traditional
fanbase comes from working-class parts of West London, such as Hammersmith and
Battersea, from wealthier areas like Chelsea and Kensington, and also from the
Home Counties. The club estimates its UK fanbase at around 4 million.
In addition to the standard football chants, Chelsea fans sing songs like
Carefree, "We all follow the Chelsea" (to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory),
"Ten Men Went to Mow" and the celebratory "Celery", with the latter often
resulting in fans ritually throwing celery.
Chelsea fans have a strong rivalry with various clubs.
The club's nearest neighbours are Fulham (Chelsea FC is itself based in the
Hammersmith and Fulham borough), but they are generally not seen as big rivals
by Chelsea fans, because the clubs have spent the greater part of the last 40
years in separate divisions. However, the West London derby may have been
rekindled somewhat following crowd trouble after a recent match between the
The club Chelsea fans regard as their biggest rival is partially a
generational issue. A strong rivalry with Leeds United dates back to their
heated and controversial FA Cup final in 1970, which coloured all future matches
between the sides, especially during the 1970s and 1980s. Chelsea are rivals
with numerous London clubs such as West Ham United and Millwall (east and south
London), with matches against those two always passionate and in the past often
marred by crowd trouble. However, as neither side regularly challenge Chelsea in
the league, they may be discounted. Chelsea also enjoy a fierce and longstanding
rivalry with North London clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, which have both
been exacerbated by some memorable matches between the sides.
In recent years, the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United could be added
to the list, with Chelsea challenging for major honours in direct competition
with those clubs and, again, having been involved in some contentious matches
with them. In European competition, Chelsea's most bitter rivalry would appear
to be with F.C. Barcelona, with the two competing to be among the best sides in
Europe and having played in some highly controversial matches in the UEFA
Champions League in recent seasons.
Chelsea's highest appearance-maker is ex-captain Ron Harris, who played in
795 first-class games for the club between 1961 and 1980.
This record is unlikely to be broken in the near future; Chelsea's current
highest appearance-maker is John Terry with 281.
The record for a Chelsea goalkeeper is held by Harris' contemporary, Peter
Bonetti, who made 729 appearances (1959-79). With 116 caps (67 while at the
club), Marcel Desailly of France is Chelsea's most capped international player.
Bobby Tambling is Chelsea's all-time top goalscorer, with 202 goals in 370
games (1959-70). Six other
players have also scored over 100 goals for Chelsea: Kerry Dixon, Roy Bentley,
Peter Osgood, Jimmy Greaves, George Mills and George Hilsdon, but the only
player in the club's recent history to have come close to matching Tambling's
record is Dixon (1983-92), who scored 193 goals. Greaves holds the record for
the most goals scored in one season (43 in 1960-61). Chelsea's current
top-scorer is Frank Lampard with 73.
Officially, Chelsea's highest home attendance is 82,905 for a First Division
match against Arsenal on 12 October 1935. However, an estimated crowd of over
100,000 attended a friendly match against Soviet team Dynamo Moscow on 13
November 1945. The modernisation
of Stamford Bridge during the 1990s and the introduction of all-seater stands
mean that neither record will be broken for the forseeable future. The current
legal capacity of Stamford Bridge is 42,360.
Chelsea hold numerous records in English and European football. They hold the
record for the highest points total for a league season (95), the fewest goals
conceded during a league season (15), the most consecutive clean sheets during a
league season (10), the highest number of Premier League victories in a season
(29), the highest number of clean sheets overall in a Premier League season (25)
(all set during the 2004-05 season) and the most consecutive clean sheets from
the start of a league season (6) (2005-06). Their 21–0 aggregate victory over
Jeunesse Hautcharage in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1971 remains a record in
European competition. Chelsea may
also hold the British transfer record, but the fee for Andriy Shevchenko,
estimated at around £30m, remains unconfirmed.
Chelsea have recorded several "firsts" in English football. Along with
Arsenal, they were the first club to play with shirt numbers on 25 August 1928
in their match against Swansea Town.
Chelsea were the first English side to travel by aeroplane to an away match,
when they visited Newcastle United on 19 April 1957, and the first First
Division side to play a match on a Sunday, when they faced Stoke City on 27
January 1974. On Boxing Day 1999, Chelsea became the first British side to field
an entirely foreign (non-UK) starting line-up in a Premier League match against
In popular culture
In 1930, Chelsea featured in one of the earliest football films, The Great
Game. One-time Chelsea centre
forward, Jack Cock, who by then was playing for Millwall, was the star of the
film and several scenes were shot at Stamford Bridge, including the pitch, the
boardroom and the dressing rooms. It featured non-speaking guest appearances by
then-Chelsea players Andrew Wilson, George Mills and Sam Millington. Owing to
the notoriety of the Chelsea Headhunters, a football firm associated with the
club, Chelsea have also featured in films about football hooliganism, most
recently The Football Factory.
Up until the 1950s, the club a long-running association with the music halls,
with their underachievement often providing material for comedians such as
George Robey. It culminated in
comedian Norman Long's release of a comic song in 1933, ironically titled "On
The Day That Chelsea Went and Won The Cup", the lyrics of which described a
series of bizarre and improbable occurrences on the hypothetical day when
Chelsea finally won the cup.
Chelsea became synonymous with glitz and showbusiness during the 1960s and
1970s; the cultural revolution in Britain placed the Kings Road as the epicentre
of Swinging London, and Chelsea as the football club closest to it. It coincided
with the emergence of a young, stylish and glamorous Chelsea team during the
1960s, and the club thus became a magnet for celebrities and trend-setters of
the era, including Steve McQueen, Raquel Welch, Michael Caine and Richard
Attenborough, who openly mingled and associated with the players, and were
frequently seen at Stamford Bridge.
The song "Blue is the Colour" was released as a single in the build-up to the
1972 League Cup final, with all members of Chelsea's first team squad singing;
it reached number five in the UK Singles Chart. The song was later adapted to
"White is the Colour" and adopted as an anthem by the Vancouver Whitecaps. In
the build-up to the 1997 FA Cup final, the song "Blue Day", performed by Suggs
and members of Chelsea's squad, reached number 22 in the UK charts. Bryan Adams,
a fan of Chelsea, dedicated the song "We're Gonna Win" from the album 18 Til I
Die to the club. Chelsea also featured in Anthony Horowitz's 2005 spy novel, Ark
Angel, with the principal character, Alex Rider, attending a match.
Notable former players
- For more details on this topic, see List of Chelsea F.C. players.
- 1900s-1940s: William Foulke, Hughie Gallacher, John Harris, George
Hilsdon, Tommy Lawton, Nils Middelboe, George Mills, John Tait Robertson.
- 1950s: Ken Armstrong, Roy Bentley, Frank Blunstone, Jimmy Greaves,
Ron Greenwood, John McNichol, Eric Parsons, Peter Sillett.
- 1960s: Peter Bonetti, Barry Bridges, George Graham, John Hollins,
Eddie McCreadie, Ken Shellito, Bobby Tambling, Terry Venables.
- 1970s: Tommy Baldwin, Charlie Cooke, Ron Harris, Alan Hudson, Ian
Hutchinson, Peter Osgood, David Webb, Ray Wilkins.
- 1980s: John Bumstead, Kerry Dixon, Graeme Le Saux, Pat Nevin, Joe
McLaughlin, Eddie Niedzwiecki, Nigel Spackman, David Speedie, Mickey Thomas,
- 1990s: Ed de Goey, Roberto di Matteo, Albert Ferrer, Ruud Gullit,
Mark Hughes, Vinnie Jones, Frank Leboeuf, Dan Petrescu, Gianluca Vialli, Dennis
Wise, Gianfranco Zola.
- 2000s: Marcel Desailly, Damien Duff, Tore Andre Flo, William Gallas,
Eiður Guðjohnsen, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Emmanuel Petit.
Chelsea player of the year (1967–2006)
|| Peter Bonetti
|| Charlie Cooke
|| David Webb
|| John Hollins
|| John Hollins
|| David Webb
|| Peter Osgood
|| Gary Locke
|| Charlie Cooke
|| Ray Wilkins
|| Ray Wilkins
|| Micky Droy
|| Tommy Langley
|| Clive Walker
|| Petar Borota
|| Mike Fillery
|| Joey Jones
|| Pat Nevin
|| David Speedie
|| Eddie Niedzwiecki
|| Pat Nevin
|| Tony Dorigo
|| Graham Roberts
|| Ken Monkou
|| Andy Townsend
|| Paul Elliott
|| Frank Sinclair
|| Steve Clarke
|| Erland Johnsen
|| Ruud Gullit
|| Mark Hughes
|| Dennis Wise
|| Gianfranco Zola
|| Dennis Wise
|| John Terry
|| Carlo Cudicini
|| Gianfranco Zola
|| Frank Lampard
|| Frank Lampard
|| John Terry
1955, 2005, 2006
1970, 1997, 2000
1965, 1998, 2005
1955, 2000, 2005
|UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
Runner up: Real Madrid
|UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
Runner up: Stuttgart
Vote on your favourite Chelsea
player past or present
and say why if you want
Does anyone know where I can get a copy of Raquel Welch
wearing a chelsea strip??
how many managers have chelsea - had since 2000
when Coventry played Chelsea Jan 2000,how many different
nationalities were on the pitch ?
what is the value of Chelsea these days please ?