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Chelsea Football Club - The Story of the Blues

Chelsea Football Club - The Story of the Blues



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Published by Sarah JT

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Sarah JT on Aug 08, 2008
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Chelsea Football Club - The Story Of The Blues
Author: Nilesh PeshawariaArticle:Stamford BridgeMost soccer teams have an emotional link to their home stadium, but thehistory of few teams and stadiums are as intertwined as that of Chelsea FCand Stamford Bridge, their London home. Built in 1877, Stamford Bridge wasan athletics track until 1905 when two brothers (HA and JT Mears) purchasedit with the intention of attracting an existing team to play there. Whenthis plan failed, they decided to take the bull by the horns and createtheir own team - Chelsea FC.And so began 100 years of soccer history with many ups and downs along theway.The Story Of The BluesChelsea Football Club was officially formed on March 14 1905 in The RisingSun public house opposite the main entrance to the current stadium. A fewweeks later, the team joined the Second Division of the growing SoccerLeague, and they played their first game (against Stockport County) on May29, 1905.A long, uneventful period followed and it was not until 1955 that Chelseawon their first league title. Initially nicknamed "The Pensioners" after thenearby Royal Hospital (home of army pensioners), an early manager thought itgave the wrong impression - and ever since, Chelsea have been known as "TheBlues". The swinging 60s made Chelsea the fashionable heart of London, but thesuccess of the surrounding area was not duplicated on the field at StamfordBridge. The team did become known off the pitch for their fashionableclothes, accessories, and celebrity lifestyles and the club enjoyed acertain celebrity in the media during this period. The trophy cabinethowever remained largely empty, and although Chelsea came close with an FACup final loss in 1967, the only major success of the decade was winningtheir first League Cup in 1965. Things Can Only Get BetterMatters did not improve during the 1970s and 80s, with the team dipping inand out of the Second Division and serious financial difficulties leading tothe sale of star players. At the club's lowest financial point, the Mearsfamily were forced to sell the club to new owner Ken Bates for a price of $2USD (yes two dollars!). The passionate supporters of Chelsea stayed loyalhowever, and some of the players from this troubled era ranked among thebest in England. Notable among the players of this period are the team'sfamous goalkeeper Peter Bonetti, who played for the team 729 times between1959 and 1979, and striker Peter Osgood who scored 150 goals in 380appearances between1964 and 1979.
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Although Jimmy Greaves became better known for his later career at TottenhamHotspur, he started playing soccer at Chelsea, scoring in his debut game (afeat he repeated with every team he subsequently played for). In 1960, aged20, Greaves became the youngest player ever to score 100 English leaguegoals, and his1960-61 tally of 41 league goals remains a record at Chelsea to this veryday.Turning PointThe 1990s saw Chelsea slowly but surely establish themselves as a majorforce in English and European soccer as Ken Bates funded the purchase ofseveral world-class players including Dutch superstar Ruud Gullit (fromSampdoria) and goal-scoring supremo Mark Hughes (from Manchester United).With Gullit in his first season as player-manager, Chelsea won their firsttrophy 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 anotherplayer-manager, the Italian striker Gianluca Vialli, and the development ofthe squad continued to bring some success with an FA Cup win in 2000,shortly followed by Vialli's dismissal. Consequently, his successor, ClaudioRanieri, was in charge of a squad that many commentators felt was of goodquality and depth, but under performing, when the turning point in Chelsea'sfortunes occurred.The new dawn for Chelsea broke when the club was purchased by Russianbillionaire Roman Abramovich in 2003. He immediately opened his sizeablecheck book to the club management, who spent over $150 million on aninjection of new talent including Claude Makélélé, Glen Johnson, Joe Coleand Damien Duff.Unfortunately, the investment produced no trophies, and new manager JoséMourinho was drafted in from Portugal for the 2004 season. Mourinho made animmediate impression, not only on the Chelsea team but on English soccer ingeneral, and his drive and ambition combined with Ambramovich's fortune havetransformed the fortunes of Chelsea.Chelsea TodayToday, Chelsea boasts an amazing array of top players: Echoing the earlypopularity 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 only23, 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 inthe Premiership and his dedication and consistency earned him the PFA(Professional Footballers' Association) Player of the Year award. At only24, Chelsea hopes he will be around to carry on the good work for a fewyears yet. 
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In the midfield, Frank Lampard is a massive favourite with the fans. Atireless midfielder of great stamina, Lampard plays 90 minutes of end-to-endsoccer every game and opposition teams know he can pop up anywhere on thepitch at any time, moving the ball up field from defence one moment, thenscoring goals - 13 of them last season - the next. Although Lampard has beenwith Chelsea since 2001, it is only in the last two seasons that he hasreally developed into a world-class player - a change that manager JoséMourinho can take credit for. While vice-captain Lampard narrowly missed outon the PFA Player of the Year award, he has had the satisfaction of beingChelsea's own Player of the Year for 2004 and 2005.A Record Breaking SeasonHardly surprising then that 2005 saw Chelsea win only their second-everLeague title, a mere 50 years after winning their first! But this was justone element of what was the most successful year in Chelsea's history, withthem also winning the League Cup and breaking a number of records for a 38game season:Highest points total for a Premiership season (95)Most wins (29)Fewest goals against (15)Most games with no goals against (25)While it will be very difficult for Chelsea - or any other team- to produce a season that can rival 2004-5 in terms of trophy wins andrecords, there can be no mistaking the intention of the club's owners,management team and players to stay at the very top of the EnglishPremiership for as long as possible, and they have started this year withthe kind of passion and success that is likely to lead to another greatseason for fans of "The Blues".A Force To Be Reckoned WithNo matter how unsuccessful the team has been in the past, Chelsea has alwaysenjoyed the loyal support of local fans, but the recent success of the teammeans that today Chelsea is an internationally recognized soccer team and amajor business with many facets.The Chelsea FC online megastore now ships Chelsea-related soccer apparel,leisurewear, souvenirs, books and videos around the world. Theirmulti-lingual ordering hotline is just one indication of how internationallysuccessful the Chelsea "brand"has become.The club's sponsorship deal with Samsung is even bigger than ManchesterUnited's Vodaphone deal, bringing additional income to a club that isalready generously funded by its owner and benefactor. Indeed, somecommentators are now expressing concern that perhaps the Chelsea squad istoo dominant, that perhaps the team is too well funded. But after so many
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