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Sam Millington.[136] Owing to the notoriety of the Chelsea Headhunters, a football firm associated with the club, Chelsea have also featured in films about football hooliganism, including 2004's The Football Factory.[137] Chelsea also appear in the Hindi film Jhoom Barabar Jhoom.[138] In April 2011, Montenegrin comedy series Nijesmo mi od juče made an episode in which Chelsea play against FK Sutjeska Nikšić for qualification of the UEFA Champions League.[139][140]

Up until the 1950s, the club had a long-running association with the

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Chelsea F.C.

Full name Chelsea Football Club
Nickname(s) The Blues, The Pensioners
Founded 10 March 1905 (1905-03-10)[1]
Ground Stamford Bridge,
Fulham, London
Ground Capacity 41,837[2]
Owner Roman Abramovich
Chairman Bruce Buck
Manager José Mourinho
League Premier League
2013–14 Premier League, 3rd
Website Club home page

Chelsea Football Club are a professional football club based in Fulham, London, who play in the Premier League, the highest level of English football. Founded in 1905, the club have spent most of their history in the top tier of English football. The club's home ground is the 41,837-seat[2] Stamford Bridge stadium, where they have played since their establishment.

Chelsea had their first major success in 1955, winning the league championship, and won various cup competitions during the 1960s, 1970s, 1990s and 2000s. The club have enjoyed their greatest period of success in the past two decades, winning 15 major trophies since 1997.[3] Domestically, Chelsea have won four league titles, seven FA Cups, four League Cups and four FA Community Shields, while in continental competitions they have won two UEFA Cup Winners' Cups, one UEFA Super Cup, one UEFA Europa League and one UEFA Champions League. Chelsea are the only London club to win the UEFA Champions League,[4] and one of four clubs, and the only British club, to have won all three main UEFA club competitions.[5][6]

Chelsea's regular kit colours are royal blue shirts and shorts with white socks. The club's crest has been changed several times in attempts to re-brand the club and modernise its image. The current crest, featuring a ceremonial lion rampant regardant holding a staff, is a modification of the one introduced in the early 1950s.[7] The club have sustained the fifth highest average all-time attendance in English football.[8] Their average home gate for the 2012–13 season was 41,462, the sixth highest in the Premier League.[9] Since July 2003, Chelsea have been owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.[10] In April 2013 they were ranked by Forbes Magazine as the seventh most valuable football club in the world, at £588 million ($901 million), an increase of 18% from the previous year.[11][12]


  • History 1
  • Stadium 2
  • Crest and colours 3
    • Crest 3.1
    • Colours 3.2
  • Support 4
    • Rivalries 4.1
  • Records 5
  • Ownership and finances 6
  • Chelsea Ladies 7
  • Popular culture 8
  • Players 9
    • First team squad 9.1
    • Current reserve players with first-team appearances 9.2
    • Out on loan 9.3
  • Player of the Year 10
  • Notable managers 11
  • Coaching staff 12
  • Management 13
  • Honours 14
    • Domestic 14.1
      • Leagues 14.1.1
      • Cups 14.1.2
    • European 14.2
    • Doubles 14.3
  • Notes 15
  • Footnotes 16
  • References 17
  • External links 18


The first Chelsea team in September 1905
1953–1964 Chelsea FC. logo

In 1904, Gus Mears acquired the Stamford Bridge athletics stadium with the aim of turning it into a football ground. An offer to lease it to nearby Fulham was turned down, so Mears opted to found his own club to use the stadium. As there was already a team named Fulham in the borough, the name of the adjacent borough of Chelsea was chosen for the new club; names like Kensington FC, Stamford Bridge FC and London FC were also considered.[13] Chelsea were founded on 10 March 1905 at The Rising Sun pub (now The Butcher's Hook),[1][14] opposite the present-day main entrance to the ground on Fulham Road, and were elected to the Football League shortly afterwards.

The club won promotion to the First Division in their second season, and yo-yoed between the First and Second Divisions in their early years. They reached the 1915 FA Cup Final, where they lost to Sheffield United at Old Trafford, and finished 3rd in the First Division in 1920, the club's best league campaign to that point.[15] Chelsea attracted large crowds[16] and had a reputation for signing big-name players,[17] but success continued to elude the club in the inter-war years.

Former Arsenal and 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, rebuilt the side with shrewd signings from the lower divisions and amateur leagues, 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.[18] Chelsea failed to build on this success, and spent the remainder of the 1950s in mid-table. Drake was dismissed in 1961 and replaced by player-coach Tommy Docherty.

Chart showing the progress of Chelsea's league finishes since the 1905–06 season

Docherty built a new team around the group of talented young players emerging from the club's youth set-up and Chelsea challenged for honours throughout the 1960s, enduring several near-misses. They were on course for a treble of League, FA Cup and League Cup going into the final stages of the 1964–65 season, winning the League Cup but faltering late on in the other two.[19] In three seasons the side were beaten in three major semi-finals and were FA Cup runners-up. Under Docherty's successor, Dave Sexton, Chelsea won the FA Cup in 1970, beating Leeds United 2–1 in a final replay. Chelsea took their first European honour, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup triumph, the following year, with another replayed win, this time over Real Madrid in Athens.

The late 1970s through to the 1980s was a turbulent period for Chelsea. An ambitious redevelopment of Stamford Bridge threatened the financial stability of the club,[20] star players were sold and the team were relegated. Further problems were caused by a notorious hooligan element among the support, which was to plague the club throughout the decade.[21] 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.[22] On the pitch, the team had fared little better, coming close to relegation to the Third Division for the first time, but in 1983 manager John Neal put together an impressive new team for minimal outlay. Chelsea won the Second Division title in 1983–84 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.

Chelsea players celebrate their first UEFA Champions League title against Bayern Munich

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.[23] Chelsea's form in the new Premier League was unconvincing, although they did reach the 1994 FA Cup Final with Glenn Hoddle. It was not until the appointment of Ruud Gullit as player-manager in 1996 that their fortunes changed. He added several top international players to the side, as the club won the FA Cup in 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 League Cup Final, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final and the UEFA Super Cup in 1998, the FA Cup in 2000 and their first appearance in the UEFA Champions League. Vialli was sacked in favour of Claudio Ranieri, who 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 £140 million.[10] Over £100 million was spent on new players, but Ranieri was unable to deliver any trophies,[24] and was replaced by José Mourinho.[25] Under Mourinho, Chelsea became the fifth English team to win back-to-back league championships since the Second World War (2004–05 and 2005–06),[26] in addition to winning an FA Cup (2007) and two League Cups (2005 and 2007). Mourinho was replaced by Avram Grant,[27] who led the club to their first UEFA Champions League final, which they lost on penalties to Manchester United.

In 2009, Guus Hiddink guided Chelsea to another FA Cup success.[28] In 2009–10, his successor Carlo Ancelotti led them to their first Premier League and FA Cup "Double", and becoming the first English top-flight club to score 100 league goals in a season since 1963.[29] In 2012, caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo led Chelsea to their seventh FA Cup,[30] and their first UEFA Champions League title, beating Bayern Munich 4–3 on penalties,[31] the first London club to win the trophy.[31] Interim manager Rafael Benítez guided Chelsea to win the UEFA Europa League against Benfica,[32] becoming the first club to hold two major European titles simultaneously and one of four clubs, and the only British club, to have won all three of UEFA's major club competitions.[33]


Stamford Bridge
The Bridge
Location Fulham Road,
Owner Chelsea Pitch Owners plc
Operator Chelsea F.C.
Capacity 41,837-seat[2]
Field size 103 x 67 metres (112.6 x 73.3 yards)[2]
Opened 28 April 1877[34]
Renovated 1904–1905, 1990s
Architect Archibald Leitch (1887)
London Athletic Club (1877–1904)
Chelsea F.C. (1905–present)

Chelsea have only ever had one home ground, Stamford Bridge, where they have played since the team's foundation. It was officially opened on 28 April 1877 and 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 businessman Gus Mears and his brother Joseph, who had also purchased nearby land (formerly a large market garden) with the aim of staging football matches on the now 12.5 acre (51,000 m²) site.[34] Stamford Bridge was designed for the Mears family by the noted football architect Archibald Leitch, who had also designed Ibrox, Celtic Park and Hampden Park.[35] Most football clubs were founded first, and then sought grounds in which to play, but Chelsea were founded for Stamford Bridge.

Starting with an open bowl-like design and one covered terrace, Stamford Bridge had an original capacity of around 100,000.[34] The early 1930s saw the construction of a terrace on the southern part of the ground with a roof that covered around one fifth of the stand. It eventually became known as the "Shed End", the home of Chelsea's most loyal and vocal supporters, particularly during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The exact origins of the name are unclear, but the fact that the roof looked like a corrugated iron shed roof played a part.[34]

In the early 1970s the club's owners announced a modernisation of Stamford Bridge with plans for a state-of-the-art 50,000 all-seater stadium.[34] Work began on the East Stand in 1972 but the project was beset with problems and was never completed; the cost brought the club close to bankruptcy, culminating in the freehold being sold to property developers. Following a long legal battle, it was not until the mid-1990s that Chelsea's future at the stadium was secured and renovation work resumed.[34] The north, west and southern parts of the ground were converted into all-seater stands and moved closer to the pitch, a process completed by 2001.

When Stamford Bridge was redeveloped in the Ken Bates era many additional features were added to the complex including two hotels, apartments, bars, restaurants, the Chelsea Megastore, and an interactive visitor attraction called Chelsea World of Sport. The intention was that these facilities would provide extra revenue to support the football side of the business, but they were less successful than hoped and before the Abramovich takeover in 2003 the debt taken on to finance them was a major burden on the club. Soon after the takeover a decision was taken to drop the "Chelsea Village" brand and refocus on Chelsea as a football club. However, the stadium is sometimes still referred to as part of "Chelsea Village" or "The Village".

Chelsea vs. West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge on 23 September 1905; Chelsea won 1–0.

The Stamford Bridge

  • Official website
  • Chelsea F.C. at Premier League
  • Chelsea F.C. on BBC Sport:

External links

  • Batty, Clive (2004). Kings of the King's Road: The Great Chelsea Team of the 60s and 70s. Vision Sports Publishing Ltd.  
  • Batty, Clive (2005). A Serious Case of the Blues: Chelsea in the 80s. Vision Sports Publishing Ltd.  
  • Glanvill, Rick (2006). Chelsea FC: The Official Biography – The Definitive Story of the First 100 Years. Headline Book Publishing Ltd.  
  • Hadgraft, Rob (2004). Chelsea: Champions of England 1954–55. Desert Island Books Limited.  
  • Harris, Harry (2005). Chelsea's Century. Blake Publishing.  
  • Ingledew, John (2006). And Now Are You Going to Believe Us: Twenty-five Years Behind the Scenes at Chelsea FC. John Blake Publishing Ltd.  
  • Matthews, Tony (2005). Who's Who of Chelsea. Mainstream Publishing.  
  • Mears, Brian (2004). Chelsea: A 100-year History. Mainstream Sport.  
  • Mears, Brian (2002). Chelsea: Football Under the Blue Flag. Mainstream Sport.  


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  1. ^ Includes Caretaker manager
  2. ^ Won as Interim first team coach
  3. ^ Includes Interim manager
  4. ^ a b Upon its formation in 1992, the Premier League became the top tier of English football; the First and Second Divisions then became the second and third tiers, respectively. The First Division is now known as the Football League Championship and the Second Division is now known as Football League One.
  5. ^ The trophy was known as the Charity Shield until 2002, and as the Community Shield ever since.



Winners (1): 1998
Winners (2): 1970–71, 1997–98
Winners (1): 2012–13
Winners (1): 2011–12


Winners (2): 1985–86, 1989–90
Winners (4): 1955, 2000, 2005, 2009
Winners (4): 1964–65, 1997–98, 2004–05, 2006–07
Winners (7): 1969–70, 1996–97, 1999–2000, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12


Winners (2): 1983–84, 1988–89
Winners (4): 1954–55, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10




Bruce Buck
Eugene Tenenbaum
Head of global commercial activites: Christian Purslow[152]
David Barnard
Football operations director: Mike Forde
Technical director: Michael Emenalo

Chelsea Football Club Board:

Finance and Operations Director: Chris Alexander
Club Secretary: David Barnard
Company secretary: Alan Shaw
Directors: Marina Granovskaia and Eugene Tenenbaum

Executive Board

Chairman: Bruce Buck
Directors: Marina Granovskaia and Eugene Tenenbaum

Chelsea F.C. plc

Owner: Roman Abramovich

Chelsea Ltd.



Source: Chelsea F.C.

Position Staff
Manager José Mourinho
Assistant Manager Steve Holland
Silvino Louro
Rui Faria
Technical Director Michael Emenalo
Goalkeeper Coach Christophe Lollichon
Fitness Coach Chris Jones
Assistant Fitness Coach Carlos Lalin
Team Doctor Eva Carneiro
Senior Opposition Scout Mick McGiven
Medical Director Paco Biosca
Head of Youth Development Neil Bath
Under 21 Team Manager Adi Viveash
Under 18 Team Manager Joe Edwards
Head of Match Analysis/Scout James Melbourne
International Head Coach Dermot Drummy
José Mourinho, the current manager of Chelsea.

Coaching staff

Name Period Trophies
Ted Drake 1952–1961 First Division Championship, Charity Shield
Tommy Docherty 1962–1967 League Cup
Dave Sexton 1967–1974 FA Cup, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
John Neal 1981–1985 Second Division Championship
John Hollins 1985–1988 Full Members Cup
Bobby Campbell 1988–1991 Second Division Championship, Full Members Cup
Ruud Gullit 1996–1998 FA Cup
Gianluca Vialli 1998–2000 FA Cup, League Cup, Charity Shield, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, UEFA Super Cup
José Mourinho 2004–2007
2 Premier Leagues, 2 League Cups, FA Cup, Community Shield
Guus Hiddink 2009[nb 1] FA Cup
Carlo Ancelotti 2009–2011 Premier League, FA Cup, Community Shield
Roberto Di Matteo 2012[nb 2] FA Cup, UEFA Champions League
Rafael Benítez 2012–2013[nb 3] UEFA Europa League
The following managers won at least one trophy when in charge of Chelsea:

Notable managers

Year Winner
1967 Peter Bonetti
1968 Charlie Cooke
1969 David Webb
1970 John Hollins
1971 John Hollins
1972 David Webb
1973 Peter Osgood
1974 Gary Locke
1975 Charlie Cooke
1976 Ray Wilkins
1977 Ray Wilkins
1978 Micky Droy
1979 Tommy Langley
1980 Clive Walker
1981 Petar Borota
1982 Mike Fillery
Year Winner
1983 Joey Jones
1984 Pat Nevin
1985 David Speedie
1986 Eddie Niedzwiecki
1987 Pat Nevin
1988 Tony Dorigo
1989 Graham Roberts
1990 Ken Monkou
1991 Andy Townsend
1992 Paul Elliott
1993 Frank Sinclair
1994 Steve Clarke
1995 Erland Johnsen
1996 Ruud Gullit
1997 Mark Hughes
1998 Dennis Wise
Year Winner
1999 Gianfranco Zola
2000 Dennis Wise
2001 John Terry
2002 Carlo Cudicini
2003 Gianfranco Zola
2004 Frank Lampard
2005 Frank Lampard
2006 John Terry
2007 Michael Essien
2008 Joe Cole
2009 Frank Lampard
2010 Didier Drogba
2011 Petr Čech
2012 Juan Mata
2013 Juan Mata
2014 Eden Hazard
Frank Lampard has been named Chelsea's Player of the Year a record three times


Player of the Year

No. Position Player
MF Marko Marin (on loan to Fiorentina until 30 June 2015)
MF Josh McEachran (on loan to Vitesse until 30 June 2015)
MF Victor Moses (on loan to Stoke City until 30 June 2015)
MF Mario Pašalić (on loan to Elche until 30 June 2015)
MF Lucas Piazon (on loan to Eintracht Frankfurt until 30 June 2015)
MF Oriol Romeu (on loan to VfB Stuttgart until 30 June 2015)
MF Bertrand Traoré (on loan to Vitesse until 30 June 2015)
FW Fernando Torres (on loan to Milan until 30 June 2016)
FW Patrick Bamford (on loan to Middlesbrough until 30 June 2015)
FW Islam Feruz (on loan to OFI Crete until 30 June 2015)
FW Stipe Perica (on loan to NAC Breda until 30 June 2015)
FW Joao Rodríguez (on loan to Bastia until 30 June 2015)
MF Gaël Kakuta (on loan to Rayo Vallecano until 30 June 2015)
No. Position Player
GK Jamal Blackman (on loan to Middlesbrough until 17 January 2015)
GK Matej Delač (on loan to Arles until 30 June 2016)
DF Ryan Bertrand (on loan to Southampton until 30 June 2015)
DF Nathaniel Chalobah (on loan to Burnley until 2 January 2015)
DF Tomáš Kalas (at 1. FC Köln until 30 June 2015)
DF Kenneth Omeruo (on loan to Middlesbrough until 30 June 2015)
DF Wallace (on loan to Vitesse until 30 June 2015)
MF Marco van Ginkel (on loan to Milan until 30 June 2015)
MF Christian Atsu (on loan to Everton until 30 June 2015)
MF Cristián Cuevas (on loan to Universidad de Chile until 30 June 2015)
MF Ulises Dávila (on loan to Tenerife until 30 June 2016)
MF B. Mönchengladbach until 30 June 2015)
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

Out on loan

No. Position Player
35 FW Dominic Solanke
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

Current reserve players with first-team appearances

For recent transfers, see 2014–15 Chelsea F.C. season.

No. Position Player
1 GK Petr Čech (vice-captain)
2 DF Branislav Ivanović
3 DF Filipe Luís
4 MF Cesc Fàbregas
5 DF Kurt Zouma
6 DF Nathan Aké
7 MF Ramires
8 MF Oscar
10 MF Eden Hazard
11 FW Didier Drogba
12 MF John Obi Mikel
13 GK Thibaut Courtois
No. Position Player
14 FW André Schürrle
17 MF Mohamed Salah
18 FW Loïc Rémy
19 FW Diego Costa
21 MF Nemanja Matić
22 MF Willian
23 GK Mark Schwarzer
24 DF Gary Cahill
26 DF John Terry (captain)
28 DF César Azpilicueta
31 DF Andreas Christensen
34 MF Lewis Baker
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
As of 31 August 2014.[149]

First team squad


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.[143] The song has since been adopted as an anthem by a number of other sports teams around the world, including the Vancouver Whitecaps (as "White is the Colour")[144] and the Saskatchewan Roughriders (as "Green is the Colour").[145] In the build-up to the 1997 FA Cup Final, the song "Blue Day", performed by Suggs and members of the Chelsea squad, reached number 22 in the UK charts.[146] Bryan Adams, a fan of Chelsea,[147] dedicated the song "We're Gonna Win" from the album 18 Til I Die to the club.[148]

At the start of every home game, 'The Liquidator' by the Harry J Allstars is heard before kick-off. Chelsea claim to be the first team to have used the song at a football match, in 1969.

[142]."Nero Emperor, Mr Memory claims that Chelsea last won the Cup in 63 BC, "in the presence of the The 39 Steps's 1935 film Alfred Hitchcock In [17] in 1933, ironically titled "On the Day That Chelsea Went and Won the Cup", the lyrics of which describe a series of bizarre and improbable occurrences on the hypothetical day when Chelsea finally won a trophy.comic song It culminated in comedian Norman Long's release of a [141] In 1930, Chelsea featured in one of the earliest football films,

Chelsea parade through the streets of Fulham and Chelsea after winning their league and cup double, May 2010

Popular culture

Chelsea also operate a women's football team, Chelsea Ladies. They have been affiliated to the men's team since 2004,[130] and is part of the club's Community Development programme. They play their home games at Wheatsheaf Park, the home ground of Conference South club Staines Town.[131] The club won the Surrey County Cup in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013[132] and were promoted to the Premier Division for the first time in 2005 as Southern Division champions. In the 2009–10 season, they finished 3rd in the Premier League, equalling their highest ever placing, and in 2010 were one of the eight founder members of the FA Women's Super League.[133] John Terry, the current captain of the Chelsea men's team, is President of Chelsea LFC.[134]

Chelsea Ladies

Chelsea reported their highest ever profit of £18.4 million for the year to June 2014. The club said a new TV broadcasting deal, as well as the sale of players such as Juan Mata, had boosted profits. Chelsea has only once before turned a profit in the 10 years since it was acquired by Abramovich in 2003. In 2012, Chelsea reported a profit of £1.4 million, its first under Abramovich. The club then made a loss in 2013.[129]

Chelsea's kit has been manufactured by Adidas since 2006, which is contracted to supply the club's kit from 2006 to 2018. The partnership was extended in October 2010 in a deal worth £160 million over eight years.[121] This deal was again extended in June 2013 in a deal worth £300 million over another ten years.[122][123] Previously, the kit was manufactured by Umbro (1968–81), Le Coq Sportif (1981–86), The Chelsea Collection (1986–87) and Umbro again (1987–2006). Chelsea's first shirt sponsor was Gulf Air, agreed during the 1983–84 season. The club were then sponsored by Grange Farms, Bai Lin Tea and Simod before a long-term deal was signed with 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 who took over the sponsorship from their mobile division in 2007–08.[124] In 2012, Gazprom became the club's official Global Energy Partner on a three-year sponsorship deal.[125] The club also has a variety of other sponsors and partners, which include Delta Air Lines,[126] Sauber, Audi, Singha, EA Sports, Dolce & Gabbana[127] Barbados Tourism Authority, Atlas, AZIMUT Hotels, BNI, Vietinbank, Nitto Tire, Orico, Guangzhou R&F, Coca Cola, Grand Royal, Digicel, Lucozade Sport, and Viagogo.[128]

The Sauber F1 Team, an official partner of the club, displaying the Chelsea FC crest

Chelsea have been described as a global brand; a 2012 report by Brand Finance ranked Chelsea fifth among football brands and valued the club's brand value at US $398 million – an increase of 27% from the previous year, also valuing them at US $10 million more than the sixth best brand, London rivals Arsenal – and gave the brand a strength rating of AA (very strong).[117][118] In 2012, Forbes magazine ranked Chelsea seventh in their list of the ten most valuable football clubs in the world, valuing the club's brand at £473 million ($761 million).[11][12] Chelsea are currently ranked sixth in the Deloitte Football Money League[119] with an annual commercial revenue of £225.6 million.[120]

Thereafter, Abramovich changed the ownership name to Chelsea FC plc, whose ultimate parent company is Fordstam Limited, which is controlled by him.[110] Chelsea are additionally funded by Abramovich via interest free soft loans channelled through his holding company Fordstam Limited. The loans stood at £709 million in December 2009, when they were all converted to equity by Abramovich, leaving the club themselves debt free,[111][112] although the debt remains with Fordstam.[113] Since 2008 the club have had no external debt.[114] In November 2012, Chelsea announced a profit of £1.4 million for the year ending 30 June 2012, the first time the club have made a profit under Abramovich's ownership.[115][116]

Chelsea Football Club were founded by Gus Mears in 1905. After his death in 1912, his descendents continued to own the club until 1982, when Ken Bates bought the club from Mears' great-nephew Brian Mears for £1. Bates bought a controlling stake in the club and floated Chelsea on the AIM stock exchange in March 1996.[107] In July 2003, Roman Abramovich purchased just over 50% of Chelsea Village plc's share capital, including Bates' 29.5% stake, for £30 million and over the following weeks bought out most of the remaining 12,000 shareholders at 35 pence per share, completing a £140 million takeover. Other shareholders at the time of the takeover included the Matthew Harding estate (21%), BSkyB (9.9%) and various anonymous offshore trusts.[108] After passing the 90% share threshold, Abramovich took the club back into private hands, delisting it from the AIM on 22 August 2003. He also took on responsibility for the club's debt of £80 million, quickly paying most of it.[109]

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

Ownership and finances

Chelsea, along with Arsenal, were the first club to play with shirt numbers, on 25 August 1928 in their match against Swansea Town.[101] They were the first English side to travel by aeroplane to a domestic away match, when they visited Newcastle United on 19 April 1957,[102] and the first First Division side to play a match on a Sunday, when they faced Stoke City 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.[103] In May 2007, Chelsea were 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.[104] They were the first English club to be ranked #1 under UEFA's five-year coefficient system in the 21st century.[105] They were the first team in Premier League history to score at least 100 goals in a single season, reaching the milestone on the final day of the 2009–10 season.[29] Chelsea are the only London club to win the UEFA Champions League, after beating Bayern Munich in the 2012 final.[4][106] Upon winning the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League, Chelsea became the first English club to win all four European trophies.

Chelsea hold the English record for the highest ever points total for a league season (95), the fewest goals conceded during a league season (15), 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),[93] and the most consecutive clean sheets from the start of a league season (6, set during the 2005–06 season).[94] The club's 21–0 aggregate victory over Jeunesse Hautcharage in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1971 remains a record in European competition.[95] 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.[96][97] 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.[98] Their £50 million purchase of Fernando Torres in January 2011 was the record transfer fee paid by a British club[99] for 3 years (2011–2014) until Angel Di María was purchased by Manchester United FC on 26 August 2014 for transfer fee of £59.7 million.[100]

Chelsea signed Fernando Torres for £50 million, then the record for a purchase by a British club

Chelsea's biggest winning scoreline in a competitive match is 13–0, achieved against Jeunesse Hautcharage in the Cup Winners' Cup in 1971.[86] The club's biggest top-flight win was an 8–0 victory against Wigan Athletic in 2010, and matched in 2012 against Aston Villa.[87] Chelsea's biggest loss was an 8–1 reverse against Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1953.[88][89] 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.[90][91] 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 41,837.[2] Every starting player in Chelsea’s 57 games of the 2013–14 season was a full international – a new club record.[92]

Frank Lampard is Chelsea's all-time top goalscorer, with 211 goals in 648 games (2001–2014);[83] he passed Roy Bentley (1948–56), Jimmy Greaves (1957–61), Peter Osgood (1964–74 and 1978–79), Kerry Dixon (1983–92) and Didier Drogba (2004–12). Greaves holds the record for the most goals scored in one season (43 in 1960–61).[85]

Chelsea's highest appearance-maker is ex-captain Ron Harris, who played in 795 competitive games for the club between 1961 and 1980.[83] The record for a Chelsea goalkeeper is held by Harris's contemporary, Peter Bonetti, who made 729 appearances (1959–79). With 103 caps (101 while at the club), Frank Lampard of England is Chelsea's most capped international player.

Frank Lampard is Chelsea's all-time highest goalscorer


Chelsea do not have a traditional rivalry on the scale of the Merseyside derby or the North London derby. Matches against fellow West London sides Fulham and Queens Park Rangers have only taken place intermittently, due to the clubs often being in separate divisions. A 2004 survey by found that Chelsea fans consider their main rivalries to be with (in order): Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.[80] Their rivalry with Tottenham Hotspur 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 dates back to several heated and controversial matches in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly the 1970 FA Cup Final.[81] More recently a rivalry with Liverpool has grown following repeated clashes in cup competitions.[82]


Since the 1990s there has been a marked decline in crowd trouble at matches, as a result of stricter policing, CCTV in grounds and the advent of all-seater stadia.[78] In 2007, the club launched the 'Back to the Shed' campaign to improve the atmosphere at home matches, with notable success. According to Home Office statistics, 126 Chelsea fans were arrested for football-related offences during the 2009–10 season, the third highest in the division, and 27 banning orders were issued, the fifth highest in the division.[79]

During the 1970s and 1980s in particular, Chelsea supporters were associated with football hooliganism. The club's "football firm", originally known as the Chelsea Shed Boys, and subsequently as the Chelsea Headhunters, were nationally notorious for football violence, alongside hooligan firms from other clubs such as West Ham United's Inter City Firm and Millwall's Bushwackers, before, during and after matches.[76] The increase of hooligan incidents in the 1980s led chairman Ken Bates to propose erecting an electric fence to deter them from invading the pitch, a proposal that the Greater London Council rejected.[77]

Mural at a Chelsea pub in Tashkent

At matches, Chelsea fans sing chants such as "Carefree" (to the tune of Lord of the Dance, whose lyrics were probably written by supporter Mick Greenaway[73][74]), "Ten Men Went to Mow", "We All Follow the Chelsea" (to the tune of "Land of Hope and Glory"), "Zigga Zagga", and the celebratory "Celery", with the latter often resulting in fans ritually throwing celery. The vegetable was banned inside Stamford Bridge after an incident involving Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fàbregas at the 2007 League Cup Final.[75]

Chelsea are one of the most widely supported football clubs in the world.[69][70] They have the fifth highest average all-time attendance in English football[8] and regularly attract over 40,000 fans to Stamford Bridge; they were the sixth best-supported Premier League team in the 2012–13 season, with an average gate of 41,462.[9] Chelsea's traditional fanbase comes from all over the Greater London area including working-class parts such as Hammersmith and Battersea, wealthier areas like Chelsea and Kensington, and from the home counties. There are also numerous official supporters clubs in the United Kingdom and all over the world.[71] Between 2007 and 2012 Chelsea were ranked fourth worldwide in annual replica kit sales, with an average of 910,000.[72]

Chelsea fans at a match against Tottenham Hotspur, on 11 March 2006


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 blue and black stripes, inspired by Inter Milan's kit, again at Docherty's behest.[65] Other memorable away kits include a mint green strip in the 1980s, a red and white checked one in the early 90s[66] and a graphite and tangerine edition in the mid-1990s.[67][68]

Chelsea have always worn blue shirts, although they originally used the paler eton blue, which was taken from the racing colours of then club president, Earl Cadogan, and was worn with white shorts and dark blue or black socks.[62] The light blue shirts were replaced by a royal blue version in around 1912.[63] In the 1960s Chelsea manager Tommy Docherty changed the kit again, switching to blue shorts (which have remained ever since) and white socks, believing it made the club's colours more modern and distinctive, since no other major side used that combination; this kit was first worn during the 1964–65 season.[64] Since then Chelsea have always worn white socks with their home kit apart from a short spell from 1985 to 1992, when blue socks were reintroduced.


In 1986, with Ken Bates now owner of the club, Chelsea's crest was changed again as part of another attempt to modernise and to capitalise on new marketing opportunities.[59] The new badge featured a more naturalistic non-heraldic lion, in white and not blue, standing over the C.F.C. initials. It lasted for the next 19 years, with some modifications such as the use of different colours, including red from 1987 to 1995, and yellow from 1995 until 1999, before the white returned.[61] With the new ownership of Roman Abramovich, and the club's centenary approaching, combined with demands from fans for the popular 1950s badge to be restored, it was decided that the crest should be changed again in 2005. The new crest was officially adopted for the start of the 2005–06 season and marked a return to the older design, used from 1953 to 1986, featuring a blue heraldic lion holding a staff. For the centenary season this was accompanied by the words '100 YEARS' and 'CENTENARY 2005–2006' on the top and bottom of the crest respectively.[7]

Since the club's foundation, Chelsea have had four main crests, which all underwent minor variations. In 1905, Chelsea adopted as their first crest the image of a Chelsea pensioner, which 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 to change the club's image and that a new crest be adopted.[59] 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, 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[60] 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. 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.[59]


Crest and colours

The current club ownership have stated that a larger stadium is necessary in order for Chelsea to stay competitive with rival clubs who have significantly larger stadia, such as Arsenal and Manchester United.[49] Owing to its location next to a main road and two railway lines, fans can only enter the ground via the Fulham Road exits, which places constraints on expansion due to health and safety regulations.[50] The club have consistently affirmed their desire to keep Chelsea at their current home,[51][52][53] but Chelsea have nonetheless been linked with a move to various nearby sites, including the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Battersea Power Station and the Chelsea Barracks.[54] On 3 October 2011, Chelsea made a proposal to CPO shareholders to buy back the freehold to the land on which Stamford Bridge sits, stating that "buying back the freehold removes a potential hurdle should a suitable site become available in the future".[55] The proposal was voted down by CPO shareholders.[56] In May 2012, the club made a formal bid to purchase Battersea Power Station, with a view to developing the site into a 60,000 seater stadium,[57] but lost out to a Malaysian consortium.[58]

[48].1997 season team for the American Football London Monarchs It was also the home stadium of the [47].West Indies and the Essex match in the UK, between cricket floodlit In 1980, Stamford Bridge hosted the first international [46] in 1948.Midget car racing from 1933 to 1968, and greyhound racing [45] between 1928 and 1932,dirt track racing The running track was used for [44] and Joe Conn in 1918.Jimmy Wilde champion flyweight match between world boxing It was the venue for a [43].Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants and in 1914 hosted a baseball match between the touring [42] and Middlesex,All Blacks match between the rugby unionIn October 1905 it hosted a
View from the West Stand of Stamford Bridge during a Champions League game, 2008
[41] was played at Stamford Bridge.2013 UEFA Women's Champions League Final The [40] in 1946.Victory International matches, the last in 1932; it was also the venue for an unofficial England international), and three 1970 matches (the last in FA Charity Shield), ten 1978 (most recently in FA Cup semi-finals has held ten [39] from 1920 to 1922,FA Cup FinalStamford Bridge has been used for a variety of other sporting events since 1905. It hosted the

[38] The new training facilities in Cobham were completed in 2007.[37] in 2005.QPR was taken over by Harlington. Chelsea moved to Cobham in 2004. Their previous training ground in Cobham, Surrey is located in training ground Chelsea's [36]

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