Chelsea Football Club
London, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom
The Blues, The Pensioners
10 March 1905; 111 years ago (1905-03-10)
Manchester United F.C., Liverpool F.C., Arsenal F.C.
Chelsea Football Club (/ˈtʃɛlsiː/) is an English professional football club based in Fulham, London, that competes in the Premier League. Founded in 1905, the club's home ground since then has been Stamford Bridge.
- Ownership and finances
- Popular culture
- Chelsea Ladies
- First team squad
- Other players under contract
- Out on loan
- Reserves and Academy
- Player of the Year
- Notable managers
- Management team
- Club personnel
- Minor Cups
Chelsea had their first major success in 1955, when they won the league championship. They then won various cup competitions between 1965 and 1996. The club's greatest period of success has come during the last two decades; winning 21 trophies since 1997. Chelsea have won five national league titles, seven FA Cups, five League Cups and four FA Community Shields, one UEFA Champions League, two UEFA Cup Winners' Cups, one UEFA Europa League and one UEFA Super Cup. Chelsea are the only London club to win the UEFA Champions League, and one of four clubs, and the only British club, to have won all three main UEFA club competitions.
Chelsea's regular kit colours are royal blue shirts and shorts with white socks. The club's crest has been changed several times in attempts to re-brand the club and modernise its image. The current crest, featuring a ceremonial lion rampant regardant holding a staff, is a modification of the one introduced in the early 1950s. The club have the sixth-highest average all-time attendance in English football. Their average home gate for the 2015–16 season was 41,500, the seventh highest in the Premier League. Since 2003, Chelsea have been owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. In 2016, they were ranked by Forbes magazine as the seventh most valuable football club in the world, at £1.15 billion ($1.66 billion).
In 1904, Gus Mears acquired the Stamford Bridge athletics stadium with the aim of turning it into a football ground. An offer to lease it to nearby Fulham was turned down, so Mears opted to found his own club to use the stadium. As there was already a team named Fulham in the borough, the name of the adjacent borough of Chelsea was chosen for the new club; names like Kensington FC, Stamford Bridge FC and London FC were also considered. Chelsea were founded on 10 March 1905 at The Rising Sun pub (now The Butcher's Hook), opposite the present-day main entrance to the ground on Fulham Road, and were elected to the Football League shortly afterwards.
The club won promotion to the First Division in their second season, and yo-yoed between the First and Second Divisions in their early years. They reached the 1915 FA Cup Final, where they lost to Sheffield United at Old Trafford, and finished third in the First Division in 1920, the club's best league campaign to that point. Chelsea attracted large crowds and had a reputation for signing big-name players, but success continued to elude the club in the inter-war years.
Former Arsenal and England centre-forward Ted Drake became manager in 1952 and proceeded to modernise the club. He removed the club's Chelsea pensioner crest, improved the youth set-up and training regime, rebuilt the side with shrewd signings from the lower divisions and amateur leagues, and led Chelsea to their first major trophy success – the League championship – in 1954–55. The following season saw UEFA create the European Champions' Cup, but after objections from The Football League and the FA Chelsea were persuaded to withdraw from the competition before it started. Chelsea failed to build on this success, and spent the remainder of the 1950s in mid-table. Drake was dismissed in 1961 and replaced by player-coach Tommy Docherty.
Docherty built a new team around the group of talented young players emerging from the club's youth set-up and Chelsea challenged for honours throughout the 1960s, enduring several near-misses. They were on course for a treble of League, FA Cup and League Cup going into the final stages of the 1964–65 season, winning the League Cup but faltering late on in the other two. In three seasons the side were beaten in three major semi-finals and were FA Cup runners-up. Under Docherty's successor, Dave Sexton, Chelsea won the FA Cup in 1970, beating Leeds United 2–1 in a final replay. Chelsea took their first European honour, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup triumph, the following year, with another replayed win, this time over Real Madrid in Athens.
The late 1970s through to the '80s was a turbulent period for Chelsea. An ambitious redevelopment of Stamford Bridge threatened the financial stability of the club, star players were sold and the team were relegated. Further problems were caused by a notorious hooligan element among the support, which was to plague the club throughout the decade. In 1982, Chelsea were, at the nadir of their fortunes, acquired by Ken Bates for the nominal sum of £1, although by now the Stamford Bridge freehold had been sold to property developers, meaning the club faced losing their home. On the pitch, the team had fared little better, coming close to relegation to the Third Division for the first time, but in 1983 manager John Neal put together an impressive new team for minimal outlay. Chelsea won the Second Division title in 1983–84 and established themselves in the top division, before being relegated again in 1988. The club bounced back immediately by winning the Second Division championship in 1988–89.
After a long-running legal battle, Bates reunited the stadium freehold with the club in 1992 by doing a deal with the banks of the property developers, who had been bankrupted by a market crash. Chelsea's form in the new Premier League was unconvincing, although they did reach the 1994 FA Cup Final with Glenn Hoddle. It was not until the appointment of Ruud Gullit as player-manager in 1996 that their fortunes changed. He added several top international players to the side, as the club won the FA Cup in 1997 and established themselves as one of England's top sides again. Gullit was replaced by Gianluca Vialli, who led the team to victory in the League Cup Final, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final and the UEFA Super Cup in 1998, the FA Cup in 2000 and their first appearance in the UEFA Champions League. Vialli was sacked in favour of Claudio Ranieri, who guided Chelsea to the 2002 FA Cup Final and Champions League qualification in 2002–03.
In June 2003, Bates sold Chelsea to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for £140 million. Over £100 million was spent on new players, but Ranieri was unable to deliver any trophies, and was replaced by José Mourinho. Under Mourinho, Chelsea became the fifth English team to win back-to-back league championships since the Second World War (2004–05 and 2005–06), in addition to winning an FA Cup (2007) and two League Cups (2005 and 2007). Mourinho was replaced by Avram Grant, who led the club to their first UEFA Champions League final, which they lost on penalties to Manchester United.
In 2009, Guus Hiddink guided Chelsea to another FA Cup success. In 2009–10, his successor Carlo Ancelotti led them to their first Premier League and FA Cup "Double", and becoming the first English top-flight club to score 100 league goals in a season since 1963. In 2012, caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo led Chelsea to their seventh FA Cup, and their first UEFA Champions League title, beating Bayern Munich 4–3 on penalties, the first London club to win the trophy. In 2013, interim manager Rafael Benítez guided Chelsea to win the UEFA Europa League against Benfica, becoming the first club to hold two major European titles simultaneously and one of four clubs, and the only British club, to have won all three of UEFA's major club competitions. In the summer of 2013, Mourinho returned as manager, leading Chelsea to League Cup success in March 2015, and their fifth league title two months later.
Off the pitch, on 29 November 2016, Chelsea became implicated in the UK football sexual abuse scandal after announcing it was investigating allegations of historical sexual abuse in the 1970s, including a secret payment to a former player who had accused the club's ex-chief scout Eddie Heath of child sexual abuse. On 2 December, the former player was named as Gary Johnson, who said he was paid £50,000 not to go public with allegations that he was sexually abused by Heath; the following day, Chelsea apologised "profusely" to Johnson, who later demanded further financial compensation from the club. Also on 3 December, The Independent reported a Chelsea youth player's allegation that Dario Gradi, then Chelsea's assistant manager, visited the player's family's home to "smooth over" a complaint of sexual assault against Heath in 1974; Gradi was among the first to be targeted by the FA's enquiry, and, in connection with these allegations, Gradi was suspended by the FA on 11 December 2016. Meanwhile, former Chelsea youth goalkeeper Derek Richardson also alleged abuse by Heath.
Chelsea have only had one home ground, Stamford Bridge, where they have played since the team's foundation. It was officially opened on 28 April 1877 and for the first 28 years of its existence it was used almost exclusively by the London Athletic Club as an arena for athletics meetings and not at all for football. In 1904 the ground was acquired by businessman Gus Mears and his brother Joseph, who had also purchased nearby land (formerly a large market garden) with the aim of staging football matches on the now 12.5 acre (51,000 m²) site. Stamford Bridge was designed for the Mears family by the noted football architect Archibald Leitch, who had also designed Ibrox, Craven Cottage and Hampden Park. Most football clubs were founded first, and then sought grounds in which to play, but Chelsea were founded for Stamford Bridge.
Starting with an open bowl-like design and one covered terrace, Stamford Bridge had an original capacity of around 100,000. The early 1930s saw the construction of a terrace on the southern part of the ground with a roof that covered around one fifth of the stand. It eventually became known as the "Shed End", the home of Chelsea's most loyal and vocal supporters, particularly during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The exact origins of the name are unclear, but the fact that the roof looked like a corrugated iron shed roof played a part.
In the early 1970s, the club's owners announced a modernisation of Stamford Bridge with plans for a state-of-the-art 50,000 all-seater stadium. Work began on the East Stand in 1972 but the project was beset with problems and was never completed; the cost brought the club close to bankruptcy, culminating in the freehold being sold to property developers. Following a long legal battle, it was not until the mid-1990s that Chelsea's future at the stadium was secured and renovation work resumed. The north, west and southern parts of the ground were converted into all-seater stands and moved closer to the pitch, a process completed by 2001.
When Stamford Bridge was redeveloped in the Bates era many additional features were added to the complex including two hotels, apartments, bars, restaurants, the Chelsea Megastore, and an interactive visitor attraction called Chelsea World of Sport. The intention was that these facilities would provide extra revenue to support the football side of the business, but they were less successful than hoped and before the Abramovich takeover in 2003 the debt taken on to finance them was a major burden on the club. Soon after the takeover a decision was taken to drop the "Chelsea Village" brand and refocus on Chelsea as a football club. However, the stadium is sometimes still referred to as part of "Chelsea Village" or "The Village".
The Stamford Bridge freehold, the pitch, the turnstiles and Chelsea's naming rights are now owned by Chelsea Pitch Owners, a non-profit organisation in which fans are the shareholders. The CPO was created to ensure the stadium could never again be sold to developers. As a condition for using the Chelsea FC name, the club has to play its first team matches at Stamford Bridge, which means that if the club moves to a new stadium, they may have to change their name. Chelsea's training ground is located in Cobham, Surrey. Chelsea moved to Cobham in 2004. Their previous training ground in Harlington was taken over by QPR in 2005. The new training facilities in Cobham were completed in 2007.
Stamford Bridge has been used for a variety of other sporting events since 1905. It hosted the FA Cup Final from 1920 to 1922, has held ten FA Cup Semi-finals (most recently in 1978), ten FA Charity Shield matches (the last in 1970), and three England international matches, the last in 1932; it was also the venue for an unofficial Victory International in 1946. The 2013 UEFA Women's Champions League Final was played at Stamford Bridge.
In October 1905 it hosted a rugby union match between the All Blacks and Middlesex, and in 1914 hosted a baseball match between the touring New York Giants and the Chicago White Sox. It was the venue for a boxing match between world flyweight champion Jimmy Wilde and Joe Conn in 1918. The running track was used for dirt track racing between 1928 and 1932, greyhound racing from 1933 to 1968, and Midget car racing in 1948. In 1980, Stamford Bridge hosted the first international floodlit cricket match in the UK, between Essex and the West Indies. It was also the home stadium of the London Monarchs American Football team for the 1997 season.
The current club ownership have stated that a larger stadium is necessary in order for Chelsea to stay competitive with rival clubs who have significantly larger stadia, such as Arsenal and Manchester United. Owing to its location next to a main road and two railway lines, fans can only enter the ground via the Fulham Road exits, which places constraints on expansion due to health and safety regulations. The club have consistently affirmed their desire to keep Chelsea at their current home, but have nonetheless been linked with a move to various nearby sites, including the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Battersea Power Station and the Chelsea Barracks. In October 2011, a proposal from the club to buy back the freehold to the land on which Stamford Bridge sits was voted down by Chelsea Pitch Owners shareholders. In May 2012, the club made a formal bid to purchase Battersea Power Station, with a view to developing the site into a new stadium, but lost out to a Malaysian consortium. The club subsequently announced plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge into a 60,000-seater stadium. On 11 January 2017 it was announced that the stadium was given the go ahead from Hammersmith and Fulham council for the new 60,000 stadium to be built.
Chelsea have had four main crests, which all underwent minor variations. The first, adopted when the club was founded, was the image of a Chelsea pensioner, the army veterans who reside at the nearby Royal Hospital Chelsea. This contributed to the club's original "pensioner" nickname, and remained for the next half-century, though it never appeared on the shirts. When Ted Drake became Chelsea manager in 1952, he began to modernise the club. Believing the Chelsea pensioner crest to be old-fashioned, he insisted that it be replaced. A stop-gap badge which comprised the initials C.F.C. was adopted for a year. In 1953, the club crest was changed to an upright blue lion looking backwards and holding a staff. It was based on elements in the coat of arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea with the "lion rampant regardant" taken from the arms of then club president Viscount Chelsea and the staff from the Abbots of Westminster, former Lords of the Manor of Chelsea. It also featured three red roses, to represent England, and two footballs. This was the first Chelsea crest to appear on the shirts, in the early 1960s.
In 1986, with Ken Bates now owner of the club, Chelsea's crest was changed again as part of another attempt to modernise and because the old rampant lion badge could not be trademarked. The new badge featured a more naturalistic non-heraldic lion, in white and not blue, standing over the C.F.C. initials. This lasted for the next 19 years, with some modifications such as the use of different colours, including red from 1987 to 1995, and yellow from 1995 until 1999, before the white returned. With the new ownership of Roman Abramovich, and the club's centenary approaching, combined with demands from fans for the popular 1950s badge to be restored, it was decided that the crest should be changed again in 2005. The new crest was officially adopted for the start of the 2005–06 season and marked a return to the older design, used from 1953 to 1986, featuring a blue heraldic lion holding a staff. For the centenary season this was accompanied by the words '100 YEARS' and 'CENTENARY 2005–2006' on the top and bottom of the crest respectively.
Chelsea have always worn blue shirts, although they originally used the paler eton blue, which was taken from the racing colours of then club president, Earl Cadogan, and was worn with white shorts and dark blue or black socks. The light blue shirts were replaced by a royal blue version in around 1912. In the 1960s Chelsea manager Tommy Docherty changed the kit again, switching to blue shorts (which have remained ever since) and white socks, believing it made the club's colours more modern and distinctive, since no other major side used that combination; this kit was first worn during the 1964–65 season. Since then Chelsea have always worn white socks with their home kit apart from a short spell from 1985 to 1992, when blue socks were reintroduced.
Chelsea's away colours are usually all yellow or all white with blue trim. More recently, the club have had a number of black or dark blue away kits. As with most teams, they have also had some more unusual ones. At Docherty's behest, in the 1966 FA Cup semi-final they wore blue and black stripes, based on Inter Milan's kit. In the mid-1970s, the away strip was a red, white and green kit inspired by the Hungarian national side of the 1950s. Other memorable away kits include an all jade strip worn from 1986–89, red and white diamonds from 1990–92, graphite and tangerine from 1994–96, and luminous yellow from 2007–08. The graphite and tangerine strip often appears in lists of the worst football kits ever.
Chelsea are among the most widely supported football clubs in the world. They have the sixth highest average all-time attendance in English football and regularly attract over 40,000 fans to Stamford Bridge; they were the seventh best-supported Premier League team in the 2013–14 season, with an average gate of 41,572. Chelsea's traditional fanbase comes from all over the Greater London area including working-class parts such as Hammersmith and Battersea, wealthier areas like Chelsea and Kensington, and from the home counties. There are also numerous official supporters clubs in the United Kingdom and all over the world. Between 2007 and 2012, Chelsea were ranked fourth worldwide in annual replica kit sales, with an average of 910,000. Chelsea's official Twitter account has 6.29 million followers, the fifth highest among football clubs.
At matches, Chelsea fans sing chants such as "Carefree" (to the tune of "Lord of the Dance", whose lyrics were probably written by supporter Mick Greenaway), "Ten Men Went to Mow", "We All Follow the Chelsea" (to the tune of "Land of Hope and Glory"), "Zigga Zagga", and the celebratory "Celery", with the latter often resulting in fans ritually throwing celery. The vegetable was banned inside Stamford Bridge after an incident involving Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fàbregas at the 2007 League Cup Final.
During the 1970s and 1980s in particular, Chelsea supporters were associated with football hooliganism. The club's "football firm", originally known as the Chelsea Shed Boys, and subsequently as the Chelsea Headhunters, were nationally notorious for football violence, alongside hooligan firms from other clubs such as West Ham United's Inter City Firm and Millwall's Bushwackers, before, during and after matches. The increase of hooligan incidents in the 1980s led chairman Ken Bates to propose erecting an electric fence to deter them from invading the pitch, a proposal that the Greater London Council rejected.
Since the 1990s, there has been a marked decline in crowd trouble at matches, as a result of stricter policing, CCTV in grounds and the advent of all-seater stadia. In 2007, the club launched the 'Back to the Shed' campaign to improve the atmosphere at home matches, with notable success. According to Home Office statistics, 126 Chelsea fans were arrested for football-related offences during the 2009–10 season, the third highest in the division, and 27 banning orders were issued, the fifth-highest in the division.
Chelsea have long-standing rivalries with North London clubs Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. A strong rivalry with Leeds United dates back to several heated and controversial matches in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly the 1970 FA Cup Final. More recently a rivalry with Liverpool has grown following repeated clashes in cup competitions. Chelsea's fellow West London sides Brentford, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers are generally not considered major rivals, as matches have only taken place intermittently due to the clubs often being in separate divisions. A 2004 survey by Planetfootball.com found that Chelsea fans consider their main rivalries to be with (in order): Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. In the same survey, fans of six clubs (Arsenal, Fulham, Leeds United, QPR, Tottenham and West Ham United) named Chelsea as one of their three main rivals. In a 2008 poll conducted by the Football Fans Census, Chelsea fans named Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United as their most disliked clubs. However, a new 2012 survey has shown that Chelsea fans consider Tottenham to be their main rival, above Arsenal and Manchester United.
Chelsea's highest appearance-maker is ex-captain Ron Harris, who played in 795 competitive games for the club between 1961 and 1980. The record for a Chelsea goalkeeper is held by Harris's contemporary, Peter Bonetti, who made 729 appearances (1959–79). With 103 caps (101 while at the club), Frank Lampard of England is Chelsea's most capped international player.
Frank Lampard is Chelsea's all-time top goalscorer, with 211 goals in 648 games (2001–2014); he passed Bobby Tambling's longstanding record of 202 in May 2013. Seven other players have also scored over 100 goals for Chelsea: George Hilsdon (1906–12), George Mills (1929–39), Roy Bentley (1948–56), Jimmy Greaves (1957–61), Peter Osgood (1964–74 and 1978–79), Kerry Dixon (1983–92) and Didier Drogba (2004–12 and 2014–2015). Greaves holds the record for the most goals scored in one season (43 in 1960–61).
Chelsea's biggest winning scoreline in a competitive match is 13–0, achieved against Jeunesse Hautcharage in the Cup Winners' Cup in 1971. The club's biggest top-flight win was an 8–0 victory against Wigan Athletic in 2010, which was matched in 2012 against Aston Villa. Chelsea's biggest loss was an 8–1 reverse against Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1953. Officially, Chelsea's highest home attendance is 82,905 for a First Division match against Arsenal on 12 October 1935. However, an estimated crowd of over 100,000 attended a friendly match against Soviet team Dynamo Moscow on 13 November 1945. The modernisation of Stamford Bridge during the 1990s and the introduction of all-seater stands mean that neither record will be broken for the foreseeable future. The current legal capacity of Stamford Bridge is 41,837. Every starting player in Chelsea's 57 games of the 2013–14 season was a full international – a new club record.
Chelsea hold the English record for the highest ever points total for a league season (95), the fewest goals conceded during a league season (15), the highest number of Premier League victories in a season (29), the highest number of clean sheets overall in a Premier League season (25) (all set during the 2004–05 season), and the most consecutive clean sheets from the start of a league season (6, set during the 2005–06 season). The club's 21–0 aggregate victory over Jeunesse Hautcharage in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1971 remains a record in European competition. Chelsea hold the record for the longest streak of unbeaten matches at home in the English top flight, which lasted 86 matches from 20 March 2004 to 26 October 2008. They secured the record on 12 August 2007, beating the previous record of 63 matches unbeaten set by Liverpool between 1978 and 1980. Chelsea's streak of eleven consecutive away league wins, set between 5 April 2008 and 6 December 2008, is also a record for the English top flight. Their £50 million purchase of Fernando Torres from Liverpool in January 2011 was the record transfer fee paid by a British club until Ángel Di María signed for Manchester United in August 2014 for £59.7 million.
Chelsea, along with Arsenal, were the first club to play with shirt numbers, on 25 August 1928 in their match against Swansea Town. They were the first English side to travel by aeroplane to a domestic away match, when they visited Newcastle United on 19 April 1957, and the first First Division side to play a match on a Sunday, when they faced Stoke City on 27 January 1974. On 26 December 1999, Chelsea became the first British side to field an entirely foreign starting line-up (no British or Irish players) in a Premier League match against Southampton.
In May 2007, Chelsea were the first team to win the FA Cup at the new Wembley Stadium, having also been the last to win it at the old Wembley. They were the first English club to be ranked No. 1 under UEFA's five-year coefficient system in the 21st century. They were the first team in Premier League history to score at least 100 goals in a single season, reaching the milestone on the final day of the 2009–10 season. Chelsea are the only London club to win the UEFA Champions League, after beating Bayern Munich in the 2012 final. Upon winning the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League, Chelsea became the first English club to win all four European trophies and the only club to hold the Champions League and the Europa League at the same time.
Ownership and finances
Chelsea Football Club were founded by Gus Mears in 1905. After his death in 1912, his descendents continued to own the club until 1982, when Ken Bates bought the club from Mears' great-nephew Brian Mears for £1. Bates bought a controlling stake in the club and floated Chelsea on the AIM stock exchange in March 1996. In July 2003, Roman Abramovich purchased just over 50% of Chelsea Village plc's share capital, including Bates' 29.5% stake, for £30 million and over the following weeks bought out most of the remaining 12,000 shareholders at 35 pence per share, completing a £140 million takeover. Other shareholders at the time of the takeover included the Matthew Harding estate (21%), BSkyB (9.9%) and various anonymous offshore trusts. After passing the 90% share threshold, Abramovich took the club back into private hands, delisting it from the AIM on 22 August 2003. He also took on responsibility for the club's debt of £80 million, quickly paying most of it.
Thereafter, Abramovich changed the ownership name to Chelsea FC plc, whose ultimate parent company is Fordstam Limited, which is controlled by him. Chelsea are additionally funded by Abramovich via interest free soft loans channelled through his holding company Fordstam Limited. The loans stood at £709 million in December 2009, when they were all converted to equity by Abramovich, leaving the club themselves debt free, although the debt remains with Fordstam. Since 2008 the club have had no external debt.
Chelsea did not turn a profit in the first nine years of Abramovich's ownership, and made record losses of £140m in June 2005. In November 2012, Chelsea announced a profit of £1.4 million for the year ending 30 June 2012, the first time the club had made a profit under Abramovich's ownership. This was followed by a loss in 2013 and then their highest ever profit of £18.4 million for the year to June 2014.
Chelsea have been described as a global brand; a 2012 report by Brand Finance ranked Chelsea fifth among football brands and valued the club's brand value at US$398 million – an increase of 27% from the previous year, also valuing them at US$10 million more than the sixth best brand, London rivals Arsenal – and gave the brand a strength rating of AA (very strong). In 2016, Forbes magazine ranked Chelsea the seventh most valuable football club in the world, at £1.15 billion ($1.66 billion). As of 2016, Chelsea are ranked eighth in the Deloitte Football Money League with an annual commercial revenue of £322.59 million.
Chelsea's kit has been manufactured by Adidas since 2006, which was originally contracted to supply the club's kit from 2006 to 2018. The partnership was extended in October 2010 in a deal worth £160 million over eight years. This deal was again extended in June 2013 in a deal worth £300 million over another ten years. In May 2016, Adidas announced that by mutual agreement, the kit sponsorship would end 6 years early on 30 June 2017. Chelsea had to pay £40m in compensation to Adidas. In October 2016, Nike was announced as the new kit sponsor, in a deal worth £900m over 15 years, until 2032. Previously, the kit was manufactured by Umbro (1975–81), Le Coq Sportif (1981–86), The Chelsea Collection (1986–87) and Umbro again (1987–2006).
Chelsea's first shirt sponsor was Gulf Air, agreed during the 1983–84 season. The club were then sponsored by Grange Farms, Bai Lin Tea and Simod before a long-term deal was signed with Commodore International in 1989; Amiga, an offshoot of Commodore, also appeared on the shirts. Chelsea were subsequently sponsored by Coors beer (1994–97), Autoglass (1997–2001), Emirates (2001–05), Samsung Mobile (2005–08) and Samsung (2008–15). Chelsea's current shirt sponsor is the Yokohama Rubber Company. Worth £40 million-per-year, the deal is second in English football to Chevrolet's £50 million-per-year sponsorship of Manchester United.
The club has a variety of other sponsors and official partners, which include Gazprom, Delta Air Lines, Sauber, Audi, Singha, EA Sports, Dolce & Gabbana, Barbados Tourism Authority, Atlas, AZIMUT Hotels, BNI, Indosat, Vietinbank, Nitto Tire, Orico, Guangzhou R&F, Coca-Cola, Grand Royal, Digicel, Lucozade Sport, and Viagogo.
In 1930, Chelsea featured in one of the earliest football films, The Great Game. One-time Chelsea centre forward, Jack Cock, who by then was playing for Millwall, was the star of the film and several scenes were shot at Stamford Bridge, including the pitch, the boardroom, and the dressing rooms. It included guest appearances by then-Chelsea players Andrew Wilson, George Mills, and Sam Millington. Owing to the notoriety of the Chelsea Headhunters, a football firm associated with the club, Chelsea have also featured in films about football hooliganism, including 2004's The Football Factory. Chelsea also appear in the Hindi film Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. In April 2011, Montenegrin comedy series Nijesmo mi od juče made an episode in which Chelsea play against FK Sutjeska Nikšić for qualification of the UEFA Champions League.
Up until the 1950s, the club had a long-running association with the music halls; their underachievement often provided material for comedians such as George Robey. It culminated in comedian Norman Long's release of a comic song in 1933, ironically titled "On the Day That Chelsea Went and Won the Cup", the lyrics of which describe a series of bizarre and improbable occurrences on the hypothetical day when Chelsea finally won a trophy. In Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 film The 39 Steps, Mr Memory claims that Chelsea last won the Cup in 63 BC, "in the presence of the Emperor Nero." Scenes in a 1980 episode of Minder were filmed during a real match at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Preston North End with Terry McCann (played by Dennis Waterman) standing on the terraces.
The song "Blue is the Colour" was released as a single in the build-up to the 1972 League Cup Final, with all members of Chelsea's first team squad singing; it reached number five in the UK Singles Chart. The song has since been adopted as an anthem by a number of other sports teams around the world, including the Vancouver Whitecaps (as "White is the Colour") and the Saskatchewan Roughriders (as "Green is the Colour"). In the build-up to the 1997 FA Cup Final, the song "Blue Day", performed by Suggs and members of the Chelsea squad, reached number 22 in the UK charts. Bryan Adams, a fan of Chelsea, dedicated the song "We're Gonna Win" from the album 18 Til I Die to the club.
Chelsea also operate a women's football team, Chelsea Ladies. They have been affiliated to the men's team since 2004 and are part of the club's Community Development programme. They play their home games at Wheatsheaf Park, the home ground of Conference South club Staines Town. The club were promoted to the Premier Division for the first time in 2005 as Southern Division champions and won the Surrey County Cup in 2003–04, 2006–10, 2012, and 2013. In 2010 Chelsea Ladies were one of the eight founder members of the FA Women's Super League. In 2015, Chelsea Ladies won the FA Women's Cup for the first time, beating Notts County Ladies at Wembley Stadium, and a month later clinched their first FA WSL title to complete a league and cup double. John Terry, the current captain of the Chelsea men's team, is the President of Chelsea Ladies.
First team squadAs of 21 February 2017.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
For recent transfers, see 2016–17 Chelsea F.C. season.
Other players under contract
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Reserves and Academy
For further information: Chelsea F.C. Reserves and Academy
Player of the Year
Source: Chelsea F.C.
The following managers won at least one trophy when in charge of Chelsea:
Source: Chelsea F.C.
Chelsea FC plc is the company which owns Chelsea Football Club. The ultimate parent company of Chelsea FC plc is Fordstam Limited and the ultimate controlling party of Fordstam Limited is Roman Abramovich.
On 22 October 2014, Chelsea announced that Ron Gourlay, after ten successful years at the club including five as Chief Executive, is leaving Chelsea to pursue new business opportunities. On 27 October 2014, Chelsea announced that Christian Purslow is joining the club to run global commercial activities and the club do not expect to announce any other senior appointments in the near future having chairman Bruce Buck and Director Marina Granovskaia assumed the executive responsibilities.
Chelsea Ltd.Owner: Roman Abramovich
Chelsea F.C. plc BoardChairman: Bruce Buck Directors: Eugene Tenenbaum and Marina Granovskaia
Executive BoardClub Secretary: David Barnard Chairman: Bruce Buck Directors: Eugene Tenenbaum and Marina Granovskaia Head of Global Commercial Activities: Christian Purslow
Life PresidentLord Attenborough (1923–2014)
Vice-PresidentsPeter Digby Sir Peter Harrison Joe Hemani John Leigh Anthony Reeves Alan Spence
Source: Chelsea F.C.
Upon winning the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League, Chelsea became the fourth club in history to have won the "European Treble" of European Cup/UEFA Champions League, European Cup Winners' Cup/UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League after Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich. Chelsea are the first English club to have won all three major UEFA trophies.
Source: Chelsea F.C.