Chelsea Football Club have had several successes over the years, and challenge for the Premier League title every year. They were brought into existence in 1905 in West London, and have been crowned six-time Premier League winners and six-time FA Cup winners. The Blues have some of the best players in the world on show, contributing in them being a dominant force in English football. They have played at their home ground, Stamford Bridge, ever since they formed. Since the Roman Abramovich takeover in 2003, they re-joined the leagues elites as Manchester United and Arsenal dominated the division. Chelsea have been in and around the top four ever since and have won every major competition under Abramovich’s ownership. They also went on a breath-taking 86 home league game unbeaten run between 2004-2008. A trip to Stamford Bridge is definitely one you do not want to miss out on.
Chelsea joined the Football League shortly after forming and were quickly promoted to the top flight in their second season. Their early years saw them bounce between the first and second divisions. They came third in the top flight in 1920 which was their best finish up to that point.
The Blues signed some big names and attracted large crowds, but failed to win any major honours until the 1950s. in the 1954-55 season, Chelsea finally won the First Division title, which usually meant they would have entered the inaugural European Champions Cup, however, the Football League and FA objected and persuaded Chelsea to withdraw before the event started. The club was unable to build on the success of this run spending the rest of the mid 50s floating around the middle of the table.
Chelsea got their hands on the FA Cup in 1970, under the guidance of Dave Sexton, and the following season won their first European honour, defeating Real Madrid in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. Chelsea’s fortunes changed in the late ‘70s through the 1980s, as an ambitious plan to re-develop Stamford Bridge deeply threatened the financial situation. Several star players were sold and the club were relegated, and were close to being relegated to the third division before a change of mentality helped them to the top of the second division and gain promotion back up to the top flight. However, the yo-yo effect continued soon after as they were relegated again in 1988, but bounced back and won promotion the following year.
Once the FA Premier League had been formed and Chelsea were members, their overall status was still not convincing and wasn’t until 1996 when Ruud Gullit became player-manager and added several top international players to the side such as fan favourite Gianfranco Zola and future manager Roberto di Matteo. This led Chelsea to winning the 1997 FA Cup and they were establishing themselves as a top team within the top flight. Chelsea in the early 2000s were claiming more major titles than ever before, winning the FA Cup twice in 2000 and 2002. It was after that when in June 2003 Ken Bates sold the Blues to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for £140m who remains as owner today – helping the club achieve endless success.
Claudio Ranieri was the manager at the time but was promptly offloaded by Abramovich for a lack of trophies and in came ‘The Special One’, José Mourinho after stunning the world and winning the Champions League with Porto. The Portuguese brought six honours back to the Bridge, including first back-to-back Premier League titles since the Second World War in 2005 and 2006. He also showed a taste for domestic cup competitions winning the League Cup-FA Cup double in 2007, but left for Inter Milan in the following close season.
Avram Grant then became the manager and led the team to their first UEFA Champions League final in his first season, however, suffered heartbreak on penalties against Manchester United. It was after that where Chelsea’s owner started chopping and changing managers when he saw fit to do so, with both Luiz Felipe Scolari and Guus Hiddink only lasting for brief periods at the club. Carlo Ancelotti was in the hot seat from 2009 and led the club to their first league-FA Cup double in the 2009-10 campaign, and also became the first team ever to score more than 100 goals in a single season.
When Ancelotti left, former player Roberto di Matteo became caretaker manager and turned into one of the greatest caretakers of all time, winning the FA Cup and a first Champions League in the eight months he was in charge for with a historic penalty shoot-out win against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Despite his success, Di Matteo was still replaced by Rafael Benítez, however, Chelsea enjoyed similar joy under the former Liverpool manager and became the first ever team to simultaneously hold both the Champions League and Europa League titles – albeit for a week.
Mourinho returned in the summer of 2013 and guided the team to a fifth league title in 2015, where they stormed the division in emphatic fashion with stars such as Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, and Diego Costa. Mourinho was sacked in the following season after a poor start to the season, with the Blues ended up finishing in a measly 10th place. Italian mastermind Antonio Conte was brought in and gave the fans a real boost, bringing with him a good reputation, and fed off that by guiding Chelsea their sixth Premier League triumph in the 2016-17 season. He emphasised the use of the three at the back formation in the Premier League, which now many of the other top English clubs have adopted to in hope of replicating Chelsea’s success. Despite losing star striker, Diego Costa to Atletico Madrid, Conte spent big in the 2017/18 summer transfer window on his replacement, Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid for a club record fee of £75m. Alongside the likes of Eden Hazard and Willian, Chelsea hold some real talent going forward.