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History: The History of Chelsea Football Club 1905-2015

The History of Chelsea Football Club 1905-2015

On March 10th 1905, Chelsea Football Club was founded in The Rising Sun pub on Fulham Road. Just a year before that, businessman Gus Mears had purchased the Stamford Bridge athletics complex and was looking to turn it in to a football ground. Mears offered the ground to Fulham FC, which was founded in 1879, but the club refused his offer. Undeterred, Mears decided to form his own club and debated calling it Stamford Bridge FC, London FC, or Kensington FC but eventually decided on Chelsea FC, naming the club after the borough adjacent to Fulham.
Chelsea spent much of the next century experiencing success primarily in cup competitions with their only top flight league championship before 2005 coming in 1955. The club became known for signing big name players but never consistently experiencing big time success. They were relegated and bounced back up to the top flight in the early years but faced their bleakest period in the late 70s and 80s. Relegation to the Third Division was a very real prospect in 1982 with the club finishing 18th out of 22 but the following year Chelsea won the Second Division and earned their promotion. In the 1987-88 season the club was relegated again but bounced back by winning the Second Division in 88-89 and have remained in the top flight ever since.
Many point to the appointment of Ruud Gullit as player-manager the turning point as the Dutchman was able to attract major stars from all over Europe to come and play for the Blues. The club began to establish itself among Europe’s best and made its first appearance in the Champions League in 1999. Chelsea had been invited to participate in the inaugural European Cup in 1955 but had not been allowed to compete by the head of the FA at the time Alan Hardaker. The Blues made an impression in the Champions League but never really threatened to win it in the early days.

In 2002-03, Chelsea qualified for the Champions League by beating Liverpool on the last day of the season to finish fourth in the league. Many believe that had Chelsea not quialified that day that Roman Abramovich would not have purchased the club. Since Abramovich has taken over the club has reached new heights and is firmly established as one of the elite clubs in world football. The club cemented that elite status when the Blues captured the 2012 Champions League title. The detractors say that Chelsea is a club without a history but it is hard to pay much attention to the past when your present and future is so bright.


Founded: 1905
Country: England
City: London
Home grounds
Stamford Bridge (1905-)

Main trophies
First Division/Premier League: 6
FA Cup: 8
Football League Cup: 5
European Cup/Champions League: 1
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 2
UEFA Europe League: 1

Must games played: Ron Harris (795)
Top goalscorer: Frank Lampard (211)
Old photo of Stamford Bridge from 1910s.

First league title

Their first League title in 1955 was a shock for everyone, especially considering the club had finished in the bottom half of the league for most of the previous seasons. This unexpected success was not enough to turn their fortunes around, however, and the club soon returned to mediocrity.
The mid-60s caught Chelsea at the height of their popularity, with many big-name celebrities becoming regular guests at Stamford Bridge. For the first time in their history, the club was seen as an actual contender. After securing their first League Cup in 1965, they followed it up with two more "firsts" by claiming an FA Cup in 1970 and a Cup Winners' Cup in 1971.


As it turned out, those were their last trophies for a while; with many financial difficulties regarding the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge and the increased hooliganism among the club's fans, Chelsea soon found themselves in a precarious position.
During the next couple of decades, Chelsea's on-field results were not much of a priority, as the club's officials were desperately fighting to avoid bankruptcy. The ownership of the Mears family was interrupted when the club was sold for the symbolic sum of £1 to the new owner Ken Bates in 1982.

Return to the spotlight
The club did not return to the spotlight until 1997 and the appointment of Ruud Gullit as player-manager. With the celebrated Dutchman at the helm and a strike force led by Italian internationals Gianluca Vialli and
Gianfranco Zola , Chelsea were once again one of the most exciting clubs in English football. While the club did not manage to go all the way in the Premier League during this period, they did enjoy some Cup success with two FA Cup victories in 1997 and 2000 and a League Cup triumph in 1998. To top it off, they also claimed their second Cup Winners' Cup in 1998 by defeating Stuttgart 1-0 in the final.
Chelsea was at this period a team hugely dominated by foreign players. A game on Boxing Day 1999 marked a new era in Brittish league football, when the Chelsea side against Southampton consisted of the first "all-overseas XI". No British player was starting the match; the players were: Ed De Goey (Holland), Albert Ferrer (Spain), Frank Lebouef (France), Emerson Thome (Brazil), Dan Petrescu (Romania), Celestine Babayaro (Nigeria), Gus Poyet (Uruguay), Didier Deschamps (France), Roberto Di Matteo (Italy), Gabriele Ambrosetti (Italy) and Tore Andre Flo (Norway).

Russian billionaire becomes the club's new owner
In 2003, Chelsea's landscape changed forever when the club was sold to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. The new owner immediately led Chelsea to an era of financial stability, paying off the majority of the club's debts and spending a then-unprecedented amount of money on star signings. Still, it wasn't until José Mourinho's arrival that all the pieces fell into place; under the controversial Portuguese manager, Chelsea won back-to-back Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006, as well as two League Cups in 2005 and 2007 and an FA Cup in 2007.
Even after Mourinho had left the club due to a number disagreements with Abramovich, Chelsea continued to be a dominant force in English football, winning one more League title, two FA Cups, a Champions League and a Europa League in the next six years. Chelsea had never previously won the European Cup/Champions League or UEFA Cup/Europe League.
Chelsea line up in CL final 2012 v. Bayern Munich (5-4

Shortly after Mourinho's return in 2013, the club won another League Cup and their fifth league title. After a long period of weak performance, Chelsea sacked José Mourinho in 2015.
Chelsea team shot in 2015.


1905 The club is established.

1905 The first game on Stamford Bridge is played in September.

1907 The club is promoted to First Division for the first time.

1913 The first non-British player is transferred (Nils Middelboe from Denmark).

1928 Chelsea become the first team to wear numbered shirts.

1935 A new record at Stamford Bridge is set with an 82,905 attendance against Arsenal.

1965 First League Cup title.

1955 Winning First Division for the first time.

1970 Winning their first FA Cup title.

1971 First European Cup Winners' Cup title.

1982 The British businessman Ken Bates buys the club for £1 [ sic! ].

2003 The Russian businessman Roman Abramovich become the new club owner.

2010 Winning their first First Division and FA Cup Double.

2012 First Champions League title.

2013 First UEFA Europa League title.

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