Chelsea FC Profile
|Major Honours||Premier League/First Division (6), FA Cup (8), Champions League (2), Europa League (2), Cup Winners' Cup (2), Super Cup (2), Club World Cup (1)|
Chelsea have risen to become one of English football's big-hitters in the last two decades, winning the Premier League and Champions League titles.
Chelsea won the English top flight title in 1954/55 for the first time. That was their only league triumph before the Premier League era began. They have since enjoyed the most successful spell in their history, winning further titles in 2004/05, 2005/06, 2009/10, 2014/15 and 2016/17.
The Blues have had plenty of glory in cup competitions winning the FA Cup eight times in 1970, 1997, 2000, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2018, and the League Cup five times, the first time in 1965.
In 2012, Chelsea became the first London club to win the UEFA Champions League. They beat Bayern Munich on penalties in the final following a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena, incidentally the home ground of their opponents on the night.
In May 2021, Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0 in Porto to claim their second Champions League trophy. German attacking midfielder Kai Havertz scoring the only goal of the game in the 42nd minute.
Chelsea have also won the Europa League twice (2013, 2019), the Cup Winners' Cup (1971, 1998), Super Cup (1998, 2001) and the Club World Cup in 2022.
The Special One
No manager is embedded in the history of Chelsea Football Club quite like Portuguese tactician Jose Mourinho.
When Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003, Claudio Ranieri was the manager. In 2003/04, Chelsea finished second in the Premier League, 11 points behind winners Arsenal. In order to bridge the gap, Abramovich hired Mourinho, who had just led FC Porto to the UEFA Champions League title, to replace Ranieri.
Mourinho announced himself in style in a press conference, famously telling the media: "Please, don’t call me arrogant. Because what I am saying is true, I am European champion so I am not one of the bottle. I think I’m a special one." This led to him being nicknamed 'The Special One,' a tag which has stuck with him ever since.
In 2004/05, Chelsea steamrolled to the Premier League title with Mourinho at the helm. They picked up 95 points and conceded only 15 goals, with captain and centre back John Terry being named PFA Players' Player of the Year.
However, UEFA Champions League success eluded the Blues. They lost 1-0 on aggregate to Liverpool in the semi-finals, going down to Luis Garcia's infamous 'Ghost Goal' which seemingly did not cross the goalline.
Chelsea did beat Liverpool 3-2 in the final of the League Cup, helped in part by a Steven Gerrard own goal.
In 2005/06, Chelsea won the Premier League again with 91 points, securing the title with a 3-0 drubbing of Manchester United - their closest rivals. However, the Blues lost to Barcelona in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Despite high-profile signings such as Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko in 2006, Chelsea lost the 2006/07 Premier League title to Manchester United and were once again eliminated by Liverpool in the semifinals of the Champions League.
Mourinho left the club by mutual consent after a poor start to the 2007/08 season, but would return to the helm in 2013.
The 2012/13 season under Roberto Di Matteo and then Rafael Benitez had seen Chelsea finish third in the Premier League, some distance behind winners Manchester United. It was the second in a row in which Chelsea did not contend for the league title.
Mourinho ensured that Chelsea were back in the running in 2013/14 as they fought until the end for the title. However, despite beating Manchester City and Liverpool home and away, they were edged out by both in the title fight due largely to their poor results against smaller sides.
In 2014, Mourinho added the final pieces to his puzzle, bringing Thibaut Courtois back from his loan and signing Diego Costa, both from Atletico Madrid, alongside the arrival of Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona. Chelsea stormed to the Premier League title once again and also won the League Cup, beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final.
The 2015/16 season got off to a disastrous start and Mourinho was sacked in December with the Blues floundering near the bottom of the table.
Life after Mourinho
After Mourinho's first spell, Avram Grant led them to the 2007/08 Champions League final, where they lost to Manchester United.
The following season started with Luiz Felipe Scolari as manager, but he was replaced by Guus Hiddink, who guided Chelsea to third in the league and the FA Cup title.
In 2009, Carlo Ancelotti was appointed manager. He steered Chelsea to the 2009/10 Premier League title playing an attacking brand of soccer. The Blues scored a record 103 goals en route and doubled up with another FA Cup crown.
In 2010/11, Ancelotti's Chelsea finished second in the Premier League and he was sacked following the completion of the season.
Andre Villas-Boas, who worked under Mourinho previously, was hired as Chelsea manager ahead of the 2011/12 season. However, poor league form saw him sacked in March 2012. Former Blues player Roberto Di Matteo stepped up and led Chelsea to the UEFA Champions League title. However, they finished only sixth in the league.
Di Matteo was sacked early in the 2012/13 season and Rafael Benitez took over, guiding Chelsea to third in the Premier League and the UEFA Europa League title.
Hiddink took over again following Mourinho's second departure. He steadied the ship somewhat, but Chelsea still finished a miserable 10th in the Premier League.
In 2016, Antonio Conte took the reins and started playing with three defenders in his formation. This proved a masterstroke, as Chelsea won the 2016/17 Premier League title.
The following season was not as successful. Chelsea beat Mourinho's Manchester United in the final of the FA Cup, but a fifth-place finish in the league was not impressive enough for Conte to keep his job. He was replaced by Maurizio Sarri.
Sarri led Chelsea to another Europa League title and third place in the Premier League before leaving for Juventus.
Chelsea legend Frank Lampard was named head coach ahead of the 2019/20 season and guided a youthful squad to fourth place in the Premier League in his first season.
However, with the club struggling during the 2020/21 season he was sacked in January and replaced by Thomas Tuchel.
Thomas Tuchel era
The German manager quickly steered Chelsea back on the path to success.
After just four months in charge, he helped the club secure fourth place in the Premier League, and made up for the disappointment of losing the FA Cup final by winning the 2021 Champions League, beating Manchester City 1-0 in the final.
Before the start of the 2021/22 season, Chelsea won the UEFA Super Cup by beating Villarreal 6-5 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
Substitute goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was the hero, saving Raul Albiol's spot-kick at Windsor Park in Belfast. Hakim Ziyech had opened the scoring for Chelsea in the 27th minute, with Villarreal's equaliser coming through Gerard Moreno in the second half.
In February 2022, Chelsea won their first Club World Cup after beating Palmeiras 2-1 in extra-time, making them the second English side after Liverpool to win the international treble - Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup.
With the off-field turmoil surrounding Abramovich's sale of the club due to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, Chelsea's season began to go off the rails.
They were beaten finalists in both the League and FA Cup, went out of the Champions League at the quarter-finals stage and just managed to cling on to third place in the Premier League.
After an inconsistent start to the 2022/23 Premier League season, and a shambolic 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League in early September, Chelsea sacked Tuchel.
A Chelsea statement said: "On behalf of everyone at Chelsea, the club would like to place on record their gratitude to Thomas and his staff for all their efforts during their time with the club. Thomas will rightly have a place in Chelsea's history after winning the Champions League, the Super Cup and Club World Cup in his time here."
Chelsea moved swiftly to find a replacement, announcing the appointment of Brighton manager Graham Potter as their new head coach on a five-year contract, less than 48 hours later.
Roman Abramovich's ownership
Roman Abramovich stepped in at a time of financial trouble for Chelsea, buying the club from Ken Bates for £140million in 2003.
Abramovich oversaw the greatest period of success in Chelsea's history, delivering five of their six top-flight titles and two UEFA Champions League crowns.
The early years of the Abramovich era, in particular, were characterised by regular chopping and changing of managers. However, that has slowed down somewhat since the second coming of Jose Mourinho.
The Russian's ownership tenure in West London has been typified by a stream of high-profile signings, often for big money, alongside an extremely successful model of sending a high number of their contracted players out on loan to clubs around the world.
Abramovich was seen as an engaged, hands-on owner at the Blues, being present at almost all Chelsea matches and offering his support throughout his time at the club.
In March 2022, Abramovich confirmed he was selling the club due to the ongoing situation in Ukraine. His alleged close ties with the Kremlin had seen the UK government place sanctions on him and freeze his assets, and there was a danger of the club going out of business.
The club confirmed that a group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital had purchased the club in a £4.25billion deal in May. The Group also own baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers, the basketball teams LA Lakers and the Los Angeles Sparks.
The Blues' biggest rivalries
Tottenham Hotspur are the club which Chelsea supporters generally love to hate most. Spurs were once the more successful of the two and snapped up legendary striker Jimmy Greaves in 1961 following his spell at Chelsea and a short stint at AC Milan.
However, Chelsea's success under Abramovich is the subject of resentment among Tottenham supporters. Chelsea's 2012 Champions League win denied Tottenham a place in the following season's edition of the competition and they signed winger Willian a year later when he had been destined for a move to Spurs.
There have been several incidents of antisemitism among Chelsea supporters and Tottenham have a strong Jewish support.
Arsenal are also bitter rivals of Chelsea. The rivalry between former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Mourinho exacerbated the animosity between the clubs.
West Ham and Chelsea battle out the so-called 'District Line Derby' due to their former posistions on the London Tube Map, the rivalry isn't helped by notorious large scale fights between hooligan elements at both clubs.
Chelsea also have a fierce rivalry with Leeds United, which intensified in a hot-tempered 1970 FA Cup final, which saw the Blues win the replay.
Their more recent rivalry with Liverpool has strengthened as a result of numerous UEFA Champions League battles and competing against each other in title races.
Chelsea's net worth
As of 2021, Chelsea are the seventh most valuable football club in the world.
Chelsea FC News
- Jan 25, 2023