In 1904, a man called Gus Mears attempted to make the Stamford Bridge athletics stadium into a soccer ground. It was supposed to be for nearby club Fulham, however they turned it down. So Gus Mears decided to establish his own soccer club to play in the stadium.
Since there was already a team called Fulham, Gus Mears decided to call his new team Chelsea. He also considered naming the club Kensington FC, London FC and Stamford Bridge FC. Chelsea were then established on 10 march 1905 at The Rising Sun Pub (which is now called the butchers Hook). Shortly after, they were elected to play in the Soccer League.
In their second season, they managed to win promotion to the First Division, and were constantly contesting in the First and Second Division in their early years. In 1915, they got to the FA Cup Final where they lost against Sheffield United at Manchester United’s stadium Old Trafford.
In 1920, they finished 3rd in the First Division, the clubs best ever league campaign at that point. Chelsea had attracted large crowds to their matches, but success eluded the club in the inter-war years.
In 1961, manager at the time Ted Drake was replaced by Tommy Docherty. Docherty however had other ideas of success and he built a whole new squad of young talented players who had come from the youth team, and during the 1960’s they challenged a treble of League, FA Cup and League Cup but only managed to win the League, whilst being knocked out in the late stages of the FA Cup and League Cup.
In three consecutive seasons the club was knocked out in the late stages of major competitions and in one of those three seasons they reached the FA Cup Final, England’s oldest competition, where they lost and were runners up.
Chelsea finally won the FA Cup in 1970 against Leeds United 2-1 in a Cup final replay. The following year, in 1971, Chelsea Football Club won the UEFA Winners’ Cup, this time against a lot tougher opposition Real Madrid CF.
However, Chelsea’s soccer quality had a major dip as star players left and the team were relegated. When they had climbed back up to Division 1, now known as the Premier League, their first season in the Premier League was average, even though they did get to the FA Cup final with Glen Hoddle as manager.
When Ruud Gullit was announced player-manager in 1996 their confidence completely changed. They won the 1997 FA Cup and were finally established as one of England’s best teams. Ruud Gullit was then replaced by Gianluca Vialli who led the team to win the League Cup, UEFA Winners Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.
In 2002, Vialli was sacked and Claudia Ranieri, ‘The Tinker Man’ was appointed. In 2002-03, Ranieri led the club to FA Cup Final and Champions League qualification. At the end of the 2002-03 season, club owner Ken Bates sold Chelsea Football Club to Russian Roman Abramovic at what was thought to be just a meal together in London. Over £100 million was spent on new players but Ranieri didn’t deliver.
He was then replaced by Jose Mourinho. Under Mourinho, Chelsea became the fifth English team to win back-to-back league championships since World War Two.
In 2007, Mourinho was replaced by Avram Grant who led them to their first ever Champions League Final in 2008 against Manchester United. Cristiano Ronaldo put Manchester United 1-0 up mid way the first half, however it was cancelled out by Frank Lampard’s goal for Chelsea in added time in the first half. The match finished 1-1 and went to extra time. Chelsea star Didier Drogba got sent off in extra time for a slap on Captain Nemanja Vidic’s face and it finished goalless.
The match had to be decided by a penalty shootout. The Chelsea captain John Terry had a chance to win it for Chelsea but he slipped and his penalty hit the post. Then Anderson scored his penalty for Man United which put them back on the brink of European glory, but was cancelled out by a nerveless penalty from Salomon Kalou.
Ryan Giggs then stepped up for Man United and converted his penalty, however this time Nicholas Anelka for Chelsea couldn’t equalise and Manchester United had won the Champions League Final. Following this, Avram Grant was sacked.
Guss Hiddink was named manager and guided Chelsea to another FA Cup Final victory. The next season, his successor, Carlo Ancelotti led the team to their first double winning the Premier League and the FA Cup, which they also became the first ever team to score 100 goals in a season since 1963.
In 2012, when the club were managed by caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo, they finished 5th in the Premier League and reached the Champions League Final for the second time in four seasons after beating Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate in the Semi-final.
They were against Bayern Munich and was completely coincidental that the match was being played at the Allianz Arena which is Bayern Munich’s home stadium. Munich dominated the whole of the first half but couldn’t find a goal to show for it. Chelsea did improve in the second half but neither team managed to find a goal until the 82nd minute when Thomas Muller’s headed goal sent the majority of the stadium going crazy.
However, in the 88th minute with only two minutes add injury time remaining, Chelsea won their first corner of the game. It was a perfect delivery in from Juan Mata and was headed in by Didier Drogba. The match eventually went to penalties again. Bastian Schweinsteiger’s penalty hit the post which handed Chelsea the chance to win. Up stepped Didier Drogba who expertly tucked his penalty low into the bottom left corner of the net.
In 2013, Rafael Benitez guided Chelsea to win the UEFA Europa League 2-1 against Benfica, becoming the only British club to have won all of UEFA’s major competitions.
In 2013, Jose Mourinho returned as manager and lead the club to win the Premier League in 2015. However, the season after, Mourinho got sacked and the club finished 10th in the league, their worst season in 20 years.
The 2016-17 season saw Italian Antonio Conte get appointed as manager and the club again finished 1st and were the only ever club to win over 30 matches in the Premier League.In the summer of 2017, Chelsea broke their record signing buying Alvaro Morata for £58 million.