Although Jimmy Greaves became better known for his later career at TottenhamHotspur, he started playing soccer at Chelsea, scoring in his debut game (afeat he repeated with every team he subsequently played for). In 1960, aged20, Greaves became the youngest player ever to score 100 English leaguegoals, and his1960-61 tally of 41 league goals remains a record at Chelsea to this veryday.Turning PointThe 1990s saw Chelsea slowly but surely establish themselves as a majorforce in English and European soccer as Ken Bates funded the purchase ofseveral world-class players including Dutch superstar Ruud Gullit (fromSampdoria) and goal-scoring supremo Mark Hughes (from Manchester United).With Gullit in his first season as player-manager, Chelsea won their firsttrophy for 26 years when they beat Middlesborough to win the FA Cup in 1997.The shock departure of Gullit in 1998 led to the appointment of anotherplayer-manager, the Italian striker Gianluca Vialli, and the development ofthe squad continued to bring some success with an FA Cup win in 2000,shortly followed by Vialli's dismissal. Consequently, his successor, ClaudioRanieri, was in charge of a squad that many commentators felt was of goodquality and depth, but under performing, when the turning point in Chelsea'sfortunes occurred.The new dawn for Chelsea broke when the club was purchased by Russianbillionaire Roman Abramovich in 2003. He immediately opened his sizeablecheck book to the club management, who spent over $150 million on aninjection of new talent including Claude Makélélé, Glen Johnson, Joe Coleand Damien Duff.Unfortunately, the investment produced no trophies, and new manager JoséMourinho was drafted in from Portugal for the 2004 season. Mourinho made animmediate impression, not only on the Chelsea team but on English soccer ingeneral, and his drive and ambition combined with Ambramovich's fortune havetransformed the fortunes of Chelsea.Chelsea TodayToday, Chelsea boasts an amazing array of top players: Echoing the earlypopularity of Peter Bonetti, goalkeeper Petr Cech is rated by many as the #1'keeper in the Premiership and one of the best in the world. Still aged only23, he made his debut in his native Czech Republic when he was only 19.Captain John Terry is respected as one of the most tenacious defenders inthe Premiership and his dedication and consistency earned him the PFA(Professional Footballers' Association) Player of the Year award. At only24, Chelsea hopes he will be around to carry on the good work for a fewyears yet.
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