A Guide to Chelsea Football Club

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What You Need to Know

  1. Chelsea grew from very modest beginnings indeed, having been set up in the back of a pub on Fulham Road back in 1905.
  2. The West London side had to wait until 1955 for its first piece of silverware, winning that year’s league trophy.
  3. Chelsea then won their first FA Cup in 1970, with this followed up by victory in the UEFA Cup.
  4. The big-money takeover of Chelsea by Roman Abramovich in 2003 helped turn the side into one of the biggest football teams in the world.
  5. Under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, Chelsea won successive Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006.
  6. However, despite their wealth, as of 2011, Chelsea have yet to win the Champions League, though they have reached the final of the competition.
  7. Ron Harris remains Chelsea's all-time highest appearance maker, turning out for the side 795 times between 1961 and 1980.

History of Chelsea Football Club

 

Despite being one of the world's biggest football clubs, Chelsea grew from very modest beginnings indeed.

Chelsea were set up at the Rising Sun pub on Fulham Road back in 1905, with Stamford Bridge just opposite their home from the very start.

Despite being admitted to the Football League soon after, for decades the West London club simply made up the numbers, even though as far back as the 20s they became known as big-spenders.

In fact, it was only in 1955 that the team won its first major trophy, winning the league, with this victory followed by a series of near-misses in the late-50s and 60s, before the FA Cup was added to the list of accomplishments in 1970.

This was then followed-up with a first European title in the proceeding season's UEFA Cup.

However, a lengthy drought then followed, only ended by the big-money, multi-national era of modern Chelsea, with the FA Cup of 1997 the start of many big victories.

 

Club Highlights

 


Despite the successes of the 1950s and the 1970s, with the latter decade even seeing them become well-regarded for their entertaining style of play, the high points of Chelsea's history have undoubtedly come in the modern era.

The 2003 takeover by Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich laid the seeds for great success, transforming Chelsea from just another London club to a dominant force in world football.

Notably, the side won successive Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006, while 2008 saw the Blues reach their first-ever European Cup (or Champions League) final. Today the club even has its own dedicated channel gracing the TV guides of loyal subscribers.

 

Club lows

 

While one of the mainstays of the top flight in English football, Chelsea did slip into the second tier in 1975 following a string of poor results and with team morale at a massive low.

What's more, the late 70s and early 80s also saw the club having to cope with serious financial difficulties, not helped by falling crowds caused partly by a rise in hooliganism, with this period marked by the £1 acquisition of Chelsea by Ken Bates.

Despite the current frustration at an inability to knock Manchester United off their perch, the Blues have never been as blue as they were during this period.

 

Notable names

 

As far as managers are concerned, Chelsea fans hold both old-school Brits and glamorous, modern foreign coaches in equally high regard.

Ted Drake, Dave Sexton and Tommy Docherty will always be fondly remembered, as will Ruud Gullit, Gianluca Vialli and, perhaps most of all, Portuguese 'Special One' Jose Mourinho.

For players, the likes of Jimmy Greaves, Kerry Dixon, Peter Bonetti, Peter Osgood and Ron Harris will always be considered legends down the King's Road, as will modern superstars such as Frank Lampard, John Terry, Gianfranco Zola and Didier Drogba.

 

Fascinating Facts

 

  • Chelsea boast the fifth-highest all-time average attendances in English football.
  • Ron Harris remains Chelsea's all-time highest appearance maker, turning out for the side 795 times between 1961 and 1980. This record is unlikely to be broken any time soon, with leading candidate Lampard on track to hit the 500 mark by the end of 2010.
  • Chelsea were also the team of the biggest player to have squeezed into a professional football shirt. William 'Fatty' Foulke kept goal for the Blues at the start of the 20th Century, despite tipping the scales at over 20 stone.

 

Further Reading

 

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