Chelsea’s club history stretches back to April 1905 and is filled with ups and downs as one of England’s most successful football clubs. The Blues have also won many European trophies.
The name Chelsea Football Club dates back to 1904 when Henry Augustus ‘Gus’ Mears and his brother, Joseph Theophilus, obtained the deeds for Stamford Bridge. They initially sought to lease the venue but Fulham rejected their offer. So, the pair founded a team of their own.
Alongside Tom Lewin Kinton and John Henry Maltby, the Mears brothers founded Chelsea on April 20, 1905. The group would also decide to name their club after the adjacent borough of Chelsea. But they also considered using Stamford Bridge FC, London FC and Kensington FC.
Chelsea have used their fair share of badges throughout the club’s history with their current design the Blues’ 11th permanent crest. The Stamford Bridge outfit also used a special crest for the 2005/06 season. Their 100th-anniversary design also formed their badge as it is now.
Additionally, Chelsea’s badge for the 2005/06 term marked a return to the club’s crest from 1953 to 1964 in most. The Blues modernised their former badge and have continued to use the crest without the centenary branding since. It also saw the lion return to a central area.
The first badge in the club’s history featured a portrait of a Chelsea Pensioner at the core of a circle. But the Blues adopted a shield with the letters ‘CFC’ superimposed onto each other in the 1950s. Ted Drake had sought to disassociate the club with their Pensioners nickname.
Yet the shield only lasted the 1952/53 season before Chelsea returned to a circular badge. It was also their first badge to feature a lion holding a staff underneath five red roses. But Ken Bates’ arrival saw the west London outfit adopt only the letters ‘CFC’ as their badge in 1964.
Their simple lettered design remained Chelsea’s badge until 1967 when the club moved to a lion standing over ‘CFC’. The Blues would continue with it until 1986 when they introduced the first design to feature a lion straddling the two Cs that make up their abbreviated name.
Chelsea introduced and removed the circular outline of the badge off and on until 2005/06. The club also altered the colours used with the lion appearing in red, yellow and white. The Stamford Bridge natives also rotated between various shades of blue when using the circle.
Only the first year in Chelsea’s history as a football club has seen the west Londoners play in anything but a blue kit. The club first adopted green jerseys with white shorts but embraced their now traditional colours in 1906. They would also embrace blue for their shorts in 1964.
Chelsea have only ever played in the top two tiers of the English football league pyramid in their history. The Blues first entered a division for the 1905/06 season after entering the EFL straight after their formation. Yet it would only take two seasons to secure a top-flight berth.
Promotion into Division One brought three campaigns as a top-flight team and Chelsea have often remained in the top tier. Only from 1910-12, 1924-30, 1962-63, 1975-77, 1979-84 and 1988-89 have Chelsea played outside the top-flight since their first two terms in existence.
Thus Chelsea are also one of the ever-present sides in the Premier League having joined the breakaway division for its inaugural season in 1992/93. The Blues have since become one of the dominant outfits with five Premier League titles alongside their sole Division One crown.
Chelsea had only lifted one top-flight trophy in the club’s history during the Division One era before entering the Premier League. The Blues triumphed in 1954/55 with 52 points from 42 games following just 20 wins. Three teams ended the term with 48 points as the runners-up.
Yet the Stamford Bridge natives have won the Premier League title five times, most recently in 2016/17. Jose Mourinho oversaw their maiden crown in 2004/05 following the vast sums of cash that Roman Abramovich invested. They would also defend their title during 2005/06.
Carlo Ancelotti later took the Premier League title back to west London in 2009/10 as part of a domestic double with the FA Cup. While Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge brought the title home again in 2014/15. Antonio Conte would then oversee their latest title in 2016/17.
Only under Ancelotti in 2009/10 have Chelsea won the domestic double so far. But the Blues have won the FA Cup eight times and the EFL Cup five times to date. Roberto Di Matteo and Thomas Tuchel have also both added a Champions League title to Chelsea’s trophy history.
Players and managers
Mourinho, Ancelotti, Di Matteo and Tuchel cemented their names in Chelsea’s club history over their triumphant tenures. Their spells at the Stamford Bridge helm also helped to form a vast number of Chelsea legends including Frank Lampard and John Terry to Eden Hazard.
Terry spent 19 years in west London and became Chelsea’s most successful captain through his 717 appearances. The centre-back won five Premier League titles, the FA Cup five times and the Champions League once. He also skippered the Blues to one Europa League trophy.
Lampard, meanwhile, established himself among the greatest midfielders to ever grace the Premier League whilst at Stamford Bridge. His box-to-box brilliance over 13 years at Chelsea further saw the West Ham United product become the Blues’ record scorer with 211 goals.