is a football (soccer) club from England.
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Chelsea Football Club (, also known as The Blues or previously The Pensioners)
are a professional English association football club based in West London. The team, founded in 1905, plays in the Premier League and have spent most of their history in the top tier of Football in England. Chelsea have been English football champions three times, and have won the FA Cup five times, the Football League Cup four times and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup twice.
The club had their first major success in 1954-55 in English football, winning the league championship. Chelsea won several cup competitions during the 1960s and 1970s, but after that did not win another major title until 1997. The past decade has been the most successful period in Chelsea’s history, capped by winning consecutive Premier League titles in FA Premier League 2004–05 and FA Premier League 2005–06, and reaching their first UEFA Champions League final in 2008 UEFA Champions League Final, losing to fellow English side Manchester United F.C. after extra time and penalties.
Chelsea's home is the 42,055 capacity
Chelsea's traditional Kit (association football) colours are royal blue shirts and shorts with white socks. The club crest has been changed several times in attempts to modernise or re-brand; the current crest, featuring a ceremonial lion holding a staff, is a modified version of the one first adopted in the 1950s. The club has sustained the fifth highest average all-time attendance in English football. Their average home gate for the 2008–09 season was 41,588, the sixth highest in the Premier League.
Chelsea were founded on 14 March 1905 at The Rising Sun pub (now The Butcher's Hook), opposite the present-day main entrance to the ground on Fulham Road, and were elected to the Football League shortly afterwards. The club's early years saw little success; the closest they came to winning a major trophy was reaching the FA Cup final in 1915, where they lost to Sheffield United F.C.. 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 national football team 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, rebuilt the side, and led Chelsea to their first major trophy success – the League championship – in 1954–55 in English football. The following season saw UEFA create the UEFA Champions League, but after objections from The Football League and the The Football Association Chelsea were persuaded to withdraw from the competition before it started.
The 1960s saw the emergence of a talented young Chelsea side under manager Tommy Docherty. They challenged for honours throughout the decade, and endured several near-misses. They were on course for a treble of League, FA Cup and Football League Cup going into the final stages of the 1964–65 in English football season, winning the League Cup but faltering late on in the other two. In three seasons the side were beaten in three major semi-finals and were FA Cup runners-up. In 1970 Chelsea were FA Cup winners, beating Leeds United A.F.C. 2–1 in a 1970 FA Cup Final. Chelsea took their first European honour, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup triumph, the following year, with another replayed win, this time over Real Madrid C.F. in Athens.
The late 1970s and the 1980s were a turbulent period for Chelsea. An ambitious redevelopment of Stamford Bridge threatened the financial stability of the club, star players were sold and the team were relegated. Further problems were caused by a notorious hooliganism element among the support, which was to plague the club throughout the decade. In 1982 Chelsea were, at the nadir of their fortunes, acquired by Ken Bates for the nominal sum of £1, although by now the Stamford Bridge freehold had been sold to property developers, meaning the club faced losing their home. On the pitch, the team had fared little better, coming close to relegation to the Football League Third Division for the first time, but in 1983 manager John Neal (footballer) put together an impressive new team for minimal outlay. Chelsea won the Football League Second Division title in 1983–84 in English football and established themselves in the top division, before being relegated again in 1988. The club bounced back immediately by winning the Second Division championship in 1988–89 in English football.
After a long-running legal battle, Bates reunited the stadium freehold with the club in 1992 by doing a deal with the banks of the property developers, who had been bankrupted by a market crash. Chelsea's form in the new Premier League was unconvincing, although they did reach the FA Cup final in 1994 FA Cup Final. It was not until the appointment of former Ballon d'Or Ruud Gullit as player-manager in 1996 that their fortunes changed. He added several top-class international players to the side, as the club won the FA Cup in FA Cup Final 1997 and established themselves as one of England's top sides again. Gullit was replaced by Gianluca Vialli, who led the team to victory in the Football League Cup Final 1998 and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1997–98 in 1998, the FA Cup in FA Cup Final 2000 and the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in 2000. Vialli was sacked in favour of another Italian, Claudio Ranieri, who guided Chelsea to the 2002 FA Cup final and Champions League qualification in 2002–03 in English football.
In June 2003, Bates sold Chelsea to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for £140 million, completing what was then the biggest-ever sale of an English football club. in addition to winning an FA Cup (2007 FA Cup Final) and two League Cups (2005 Football League Cup Final and 2007 Football League Cup Final). In September 2007 Mourinho was replaced by Avram Grant, who led the club to their 2008 UEFA Champions League Final, in which they were defeated in a Penalty Shootout (football) by Manchester United F.C.. Grant was sacked days later and succeeded by Luiz Felipe Scolari in July 2008. Scolari spent only seven months in the job before being dismissed after a string of poor results. Russia national football team coach Guus Hiddink was appointed caretaker manager until the end of the 2008-09 season.
Chelsea's season ended with a 2-1 win over Everton in the 2009 FA Cup Final.
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 Athletics Club as an arena for athletics (track and field) meetings and not at all for football. In 1904 the ground was acquired by businessman Gus Mears and his brother Joseph Mears, who had previously acquired additional land (formerly a large market gardening) with the aim of staging football matches on the now 12.5 acre (51,000 m²) site. They offered the stadium to Fulham F.C., 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 London FC
Starting with an open bowl-like design and one covered terrace, Stamford Bridge had an original capacity of around 100,000.
During the late 1960s and early 70s, the club's owners embarked on a modernisation of Stamford Bridge with plans for a 50,000 all-seater stadium.
The club plans to increase its capacity to over 50,000. Owing to its location in a built-up part of London on a main road and next to two rail transport lines, fans can only enter the stadium through the Fulham Road entrance, which places severe constraints on expansion due to Occupational safety and health regulations. As a result, Chelsea have been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge to sites including the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Battersea Power Station and the Chelsea Barracks. However, the club have reiterated their desire to keep Chelsea at their current home.
Since the club's foundation, Chelsea have had four main crests, though all underwent minor variations. In 1905, Chelsea adopted as their 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 Ted Drake's modernisation of the club from 1952 onwards, 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, Chelsea's crest was changed to an upright blue lion looking backwards and holding a staff (stick), which was to endure for the next three decades. This crest was based on elements in the coat of arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea with the "lion rampant regardant" taken from the arms of then club president Earl Cadogan and the staff from the Westminster Abbey, former Lords of the Manor of Chelsea. It also featured three red roses, to represent England, and two footballs. This was 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. 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; this kit was first worn during the 1964–65 in English football season.
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 F.C. Internazionale Milano-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.
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 in English football 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 Brewing Company beer (1995–97), Autoglass (1997–2001) and Emirates Airline (2001–05). Chelsea's current shirt sponsor is Samsung Group.
Chelsea have the fifth highest average all-time attendance in Football in England and regularly attract over 40,000 fans to Stamford Bridge; they were the fifth best-supported Premier League team in the 2007-08 in English football season, with an average gate of 41,673.
Chelsea do not have a traditional rivalry on the scale of the Merseyside derby or the North London derby; their West London derby with Fulham F.C. has not been as prominent over the years, with the two clubs often spending time in separate divisions. A 2004 survey by Planetfootball.com found that Chelsea fans consider their main rivalries to be with (in order): Arsenal F.C., Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and Manchester United F.C.. Their rivalry with Tottenham Hotspur F.C. is said to have developed following the 1967 FA Cup Final, the first cup final held between two London clubs.
Additionally, a strong rivalry with Leeds United A.F.C. dates back to several heated and controversial matches in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly the FA Cup Final 1970. A more recent rivalry has grown with Liverpool F.C. following several clashes in cup competitions – particularly after what José Mourinho dubbed a "ghost goal" by Luis Javier García Sanz in the UEFA Champions League 2004–05 semi-final, knocking them out of the competition.
During the 1970s and 1980s in particular, Chelsea supporters were long associated with Football (soccer) hooliganism. The club's "Football hooliganism", originally the Chelsea Shed Boys, now known as the Chelsea Headhunters, were nationally notorious for violent acts against hooligans from other teams, such as West Ham United F.C.'s Inter City Firm and Millwall F.C.'s Millwall Bushwackers, both during and after matches. The increase in hooliganism in the 1980s led chairman Ken Bates to propose erecting an electric fence to deter them from invading the pitch; the proposal was rejected by the Greater London Council. Since the 1990s there has been a marked decline in crowd trouble at matches, as a result of stricter policing, Closed-circuit television in grounds and the advent of All-seater stadium.
Chelsea's highest appearance-maker is ex-captain Ron Harris (footballer), 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 Frank Lampard with 380. The record for a Chelsea goalkeeper is held by Harris's contemporary, Peter Bonetti, who made 729 appearances (1959–79). With 116 Cap (sport) (74 while at the club), Marcel Desailly of France national football team is Chelsea's most capped international player.
Bobby Tambling is Chelsea's all-time top goalscorer, with 202 goals in 370 games (1959–70). The modernisation of Stamford Bridge during the 1990s and the introduction of all-seater stands mean that neither record will be broken for the foreseeable future. The current legal capacity of Stamford Bridge is 42,055. and the most consecutive clean sheets from the start of a league season (6).
The club's 21–0 Aggregate score victory over Jeunesse Hautcharage in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1971-72 remains a record in European competition. Chelsea hold the record for the longest streak of unbeaten matches at home in the English top-flight, which lasted 86 matches from 20 March 2004 to 26 October 2008. They secured the record on 12 August 2007, beating the previous record of 63 matches unbeaten set by Liverpool between 1978 and 1980. Chelsea's streak of eleven consecutive away league wins, set between 5 April 2008 and 6 December 2008, is also a record for the English top flight.
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 F.C.. Chelsea were the first English side to travel by Fixed-wing aircraft to a domestic away match, when they visited Newcastle United F.C. on 19 April 1957, and the first Football League First Division side to play a match on a Sunday, when they faced Stoke City F.C. on 27 January 1974. On 26 December 1999, Chelsea became the first British side to field an entirely foreign starting line-up (no British or Irish players) in a Premier League match against Southampton F.C.. On 19 May 2007, they became the first team to win the FA Cup at the new Wembley Stadium, having also been the last to win it at the old Wembley.
After the conclusion of the 2007/08 season, Chelsea became the highest ranked club under UEFA's five-year UEFA coefficient system used in the seeding of European club competitions in the following season, the first English club to do so in the 21st century.
In popular culture
In 1930, Chelsea featured in one of the earliest football films, The Great Game (film)
. One-time Chelsea centre forward, Jack Cock, who by then was playing for Millwall F.C., was the star of the film and several scenes were shot at Stamford Bridge (stadium), including the pitch, the boardroom and the dressing rooms. It included guest appearances by then-Chelsea players Andrew Nesbit Wilson, George Mills (footballer) 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 (film)
. Chelsea also appear in the Hindi language film, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom
Up until the 1950s, the club had 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 Novelty 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 a trophy. The song was later adapted to "White Is the Colour" and adopted as an anthem by the Vancouver Whitecaps (USL). In the build-up to the FA Cup Final 1997, the song "Blue Day", performed by Suggs (singer) 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.
Out on loan
Reserves and youth team
- For the reserve and youth team squads, see Chelsea F.C. Reserves and Youth Team.
Player of the year (1967–2009)
- Champions: The Football League 1954–55, FA Premier League 2004–05, FA Premier League 2005–06
- Runner-up: FA Premier League 2003–04, FA Premier League 2006–07, Premier League 2007–08
List of winners of English Football League Championship and predecessors
- Champions: The Football League 1983–84, The Football League 1988–89
- Runner-up: The Football League 1906–07, The Football League 1911–12, The Football League 1929–30, The Football League 1962–63, The Football League 1976–77
- Winners: 1970 FA Cup Final, 1997 FA Cup Final, 2000 FA Cup Final, 2007 FA Cup Final, 2009 FA Cup Final
- Runner-up: 1915 FA Cup Final, 1967 FA Cup Final, 1994 FA Cup Final, 2002 FA Cup Final
Football League Cup
- Winners: 1965 Football League Cup Final, 1998 Football League Cup Final, 2005 Football League Cup Final, 2007 Football League Cup Final
- Runner-up: 1972 Football League Cup Final, 2008 Football League Cup Final
FA Community Shield
- Winners: 1955 FA Charity Shield, 2000 FA Charity Shield, 2005 FA Community Shield
- Runner-up: 1970 FA Charity Shield, 1997 FA Charity Shield, 2006 FA Community Shield, 2007 FA Community Shield
Full Members Cup
- Winners: 1986, 1990
UEFA Champions League
- Runner-up: 2008 UEFA Champions League Final
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
- Winners: 1971 European Cup Winners' Cup Final, 1998 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup
- Semi-finalists: Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1965–66
UEFA Super Cup
- Winners: 1998 UEFA Super Cup