For the football purist, the supporter, the fan, there is only one event that truly declares that the football season is off in earnest – The FA Community Shield, formerly known as The FA Charity Shield.

This match – before the International Champions Cup, Premier League Asia Trophy and Emirates Cup; in essence a branded friendly tournament, so the elite can satisfy it’s markets and sponsors in Asia, the Americas and other various countries around the globe – was and is the true fixture that saw the season up and running.

It is the first trophy of the season – a chance for supporters to see new summer signings in a club shirt and a competitive line up for the first time; but how much of a barometer is it, win or lose, in predicting if a club goes on to have a successful season come May?Since it was first held in 1908, when Manchester United drew 1-1 with QPR it has been contested 92 times; out of those 92, the winner has gone to be champions 18 times, finish runner up 22 times and third place – now automatic Champions League qualification, 5 times – so it is a competition to set your stall out – it is worth doing well in.

Since it was first held in 1908, when Manchester United drew 1-1 with QPR it has been contested 92 times. Out of those 92, the winner has gone to be champions 18 times, finish runner up 22 times and third place – now automatic Champions League qualification, 5 times – so as a competition to set your stall out – it is worth doing well in.

For Chelsea, it is certainly a mixed bag, having a record of P11 W4 L7 in this fixture. All is not lost, however; in the aftermath of victory or defeat of five Community Shield ties, Chelsea have gone on to have a successful season ending in silverware.

Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United(United win 4-2 on Penalties) Wembley Stadium, 73,636 – 1997

After a comfortable victory over Middlesbrough in the FA Cup Final in May, Chelsea looked to build on victory at Wembley with the summer signings of goalkeeper Ed De Goey from Feyenoord, young Norwegian striker Tore Andre Flo from Brann and midfielder Gus Poyet from Real Zaragoza.

A fairly drab contest, to say the least, goals in the space of six second half minutes from Mark Hughes and United defender Ronny Johnsen meant that the match would be decided by a penalty shoot, with United gaining victory following misses from Frank Sinclair and Roberto Di Matteo.

For the Blues however, Ruud Gullit started the season as manager only to replaced by striker Gianluca Vialli for a player/manager role following disputes around contract talks and wage demands.

Chelsea ended the season winning the League Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup.

Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff – 58,014 – 2005

This curtain raiser was hostile, to say the least, in the weeks leading up to and before kick off, following Chelsea’s let’s say illicit attempts during the summer to lure Ashley Cole to Stamford Bridge.

This fixture also saw the devastation that Didier Drogba would cause Arsenal in the seasons that would follow; scoring two goals in both halves in a performance of power and finesse which Blues fans would come to cherish and that the Gunners would come to fear.

Chelsea would go on to retain the Premier League at a canter with the title realistically wrapped up in March.

Liverpool 2-1 Chelsea, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff – 56,275 – 2006

After a second successive title, Chelsea further strengthened in the transfer market with the additions of Michael Ballack from Bayern Munich, Salomon Kalou, the much-anticipated arrival of Andriy Shevchenko from AC Milan as well as the deadline day signing of long term target Ashley Cole.

In a fairly contested affair, Liverpool took the lead through John Arne Riise, following a run from his own half and hitting a 25-yard shot to beat Carlo Cudicini. Shevchenko equalised just before half time with a finish that had become his trademark during his career in Italy.
Liverpool left it until the 80th minute, following a barrage of Chelsea chances, to win the match after a Peter Crouch header.

Chelsea didn’t win the league for a third successive season but did go on to claim a domestic cup double beating Manchester United in the first FA cup final at the new Wembley and defeating Arsenal – again in the League Cup in Cardiff.

Chelsea 2-2 Manchester United, Wembley Stadium – 85,896 – 2009

A new season and another new manager. Former AC Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti took over the reins at Stamford Bridge, succeeding interim coach Guus Hiddink, who returned to manage the Russian national team after guiding the Blues to victory over Everton in the FA Cup Final.

The Italian started life off at Stamford Bridge with a penalty shoot out victory in the seasons opener. After a brace from Nani in the first 10 minutes for United, Chelsea fired back to 2-1 with strikes from Ricardo Carvalho & Frank Lampard; Wayne Rooney equalised right at the death to take the match to penalties. Misses from Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra handed the Blues their first shootout victory since a League Cup Quarter Final, defeating Ipswich Town in 1998.

Chelsea claimed the club’s first ever League and Cup double in Ancelotti’s debut season.

Chelsea 2-3 Manchester City, Villa Park – 36,394 – 2012

The season kicked off in style between the Premier League winners and European champions in a highly entertaining contest at Villa Park, with the Community Shield being relocated to Birmingham as Wembley hosted the Olympic football final between Brazil and Mexico – the first to be played at a venue other than Wembley or Cardiff since 1973.

Fernando Torres opened the scoring for Chelsea just before half time but this seemed to spark City into life. Three second half goals in 12 minutes after Yaya Toure equalised for City on 53 minutes turned the game into the Manchester sides favour. Summer signing Eden Hazard gave Blues fans a glimpse of things to come with a fine display and Ryan Bertrand – after starring for the Blues in the Champions League Final victory in May – added a second in the 80 minute for Chelsea but there was to be no grandstand finish as City ran out the winners.

Roberto Di Matteo was relieved of his duties following a torrid defence of our European crown. Rafa Benitez, much to Chelsea fans shock and anger took control and guided Chelsea to a respectable 3rd place League finish and led the club to Europa League success, thus becoming only one of three sides to have won all three UEFA European trophies. Manchester United have since become the fourth club after beating Ajax in the Europa League this season.

So as the Blues prepare for a rematch of the FA Cup Final against Arsenal at Wembley, while revenge for Antonio Conte and his troops would be sweet, it is not the be all and end all as history tells us that victory does not necessarily dictate a successful season – nor does defeat ensure domestic failure.

A victory over our London rivals would get the season off and running to the best possible start.

In the Football community, Charity begins at home.