THE SUCCESS STORY OF CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB
November 19, 2020, by Rakesh Naik
Chelsea Football Club naturally comes to a football fan’s mind as a club filled with trophies and recent success.
The club boasts a total of 5 Premier League titles second only to Manchester United.
After its financial takeover in 2003 by Roman Abramovich, the club immediately went on to the next level winning trophies both domestically as well as Internationally.
Chelsea Football Club is a football club that naturally comes to a football fan’s mind as a club filled with trophies and recent success. The club from London, United Kingdom, boasts a total of 5 Premier League titles second only to Manchester United since the inception of England’s top-flight league. The London club also has a rich pedigree of winning trophies in the European competitions as well having won one UEFA Champions League and 2 UEFA Europa League titles. Chelsea FC is arguably the most successful club in London overcoming the likes of top clubs like Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs. Chelsea FC has been a force to reckon with in English football during all its years in the league. However, after the financial takeover of the club in 2003 by Russian Businessman and Billionaire Roman Abramovich, the club immediately went to the next level winning trophies both domestically as well as Internationally.
PRE ROMAN ABRAMOVICH ERA
The Blues were formed as a club in the year 1905 by English businessman Gus Mears. The Blues were known for attracting top players from around the world and attracting large crowds due to the favorable location of the stadium being in West London as well as due to their early success. The club won its first league title or first division championship in the 1954-55 season. However, the success was short-lived as the club went on to struggle and dropped into the mid-table during the following. Chelsea’s first taste of proper European football came in 1971 and they went on to win the Cup winners cup up against Real Madrid in Athens. In the previous year, Chelsea also won the FA Cup winning by 2 goals to 1 up against fierce rivals Leeds United. The 1980s is regarded as the most turbulent time in the club’s rich history as they went on to get relegated to the second division twice during the period. The club also faced several legal battles that questioned the club’s financial capacity.
The 1990s however, was a different picture for the club altogether after the club made great efforts to make their way right up to the top. The appointment of Rudd Gullit as player-manager was the first sign of revival for the club. The Dutch player-manager with his immense experience led the club to win the FA Cup title in 1996. Italian player-manager Gianluca Vialli replaced Rudd Gullit and made great amends by leading the club to win the League Cup, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Super Cup in 1998, and the FA Cup in 2000. Under his management, it was the first time the club made its UEFA Champions League debut after a strong title challenge in 1998–99, finishing four points behind champions Manchester United. Vialli was sacked in 2001 after failing to secure UEFA Champions League football. Claudio Ranieri was appointed as Vialli’s replacement and had a wonderful couple of seasons with the club winning the FA Cup and leading the club to a UEFA Champions League finish.
FINANCIAL TAKEOVER IN 2003
In July 2003, Roman Abramovich purchased just over 50% of Chelsea Village plc’s share capital, including Ken 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. Roman Abramovich is an Israeli-Russian billionaire businessman who owns private investment company Millhouse LLC and also Oil and Iron industries around Europe and in the Americas.
Immediately after the takeover, the Russian Oligarch invested heavy sums into the club allowing the management to sign a number of top players. With the change in ownership, there was also a change in the management of the club with Jose Mourinho taking over from the hands of Claudio Ranieri after a failure to challenge for the title in his third season. Immediately after Joses’s arrival at the club, over 100 million pounds was invested in signing top players most notably Didier Drogba and Petr Cech which ultimately made them Premier League Champions in 2004-05 and also in the following year 2005-06. They also won a FA Cup and two league cups as well. Following a poor start to the 2007–2008 season, 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. Chelsea have had a fair number of top managers managing the club during the Roman Era. However, the process of sacking and appointing new managers has been a rapid success for the club. The club has won 1 UEFA Champions League, 5 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 2 UEFA Europa Leagues, and 2 FA Community Shield titles under the helm of Roman Abramovich.
The following are some of the notable seasons, Chelsea have had under the helm of their Russian owner-
After a season of huge investment and comparatively lesser success under Claudio Ranieri, The managerial job at Chelsea was destined to be Jose Mourinho’s. The Portuguese signed some top young prospects as the club went on to lift their first-ever Premier League title and their first league title in 50 years. Some of the top performers that season were Petr Cech, John Terry, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, and Arjen Robben. Chelsea’s season under the special one was even more special because, in that season, they conceded a total of just 15 goals in 38 games making that team the best defensive team in the history of the Premier League. The success was transmitted all across the pitch as all players made a huge impact in Chelsea’s title run that season.
After a disappointing end to Avram Grant’s regime, with the loss in the UEFA Champions League final, Carlo Ancelotti was appointed to take Chelsea back to the top of the English League. The two-time Premier League Champions then started off in the perfect fashion winning the FA Community Shield at the beginning of the season. Chelsea had a relatively quiet summer from the transfer point of view however, it did not affect Ancelotti’s and his player’s motivation to strive and attain success. Chelsea ended the season winning the Premier League ahead of Manchester United and also won the FA Cup beating relegated Portsmouth FC in the final of the competition. Many of the Chelsea players like Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Michael Essien, and John Terry excelled in their game under the Italian manager in what was a season to remember for the West London Blues.
After Roman Abramovich’s takeover of the club, Chelsea had transformed themselves into a European powerhouse however, the only thing missing from their trophy cabinet was a European trophy. The 2011-12 season was a very poor season from all respects as Chelsea went on to finish just 6th in the league table. However, their form was completely opposite in Europe. They defied all odds and lifted the UEFA Champions League crown that season. On the way to the final, Chelsea defeated the likes of Napoli, Benfica, and most importantly FC Barcelona who had one of the best teams in Europe at that time. In the final, in Munich, Chelsea were the underdogs as they faced a strong Bayern side who played at their home stadium in the final itself. Chelsea was missing some of their top players through injury and suspension in the final but that did not dishearten their feelings as they put up a bold fearless performance in Bavaria and went on to win their first-ever UEFA Champions League title.
The end of the 2013 campaign marked the departure of long-serving club legend and leading goal scorer Frank Lampard from the club. Jose Mourinho came back to the club for his second stint in charge of the club and immediately signed top superstars in the form of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas. The season started with a commanding 3-1 victory at Burnley and from then there was no slowing down as the Blues cruised to win yet another Premier League title. The Londoners lost just three games across the entire league campaign and racked up a total of 87 points on the tally making them the deserving Premier League Champions. The remarkable campaign also ensured the Blues a League Cup trophy after they defeated fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspurs in the final of the cup. Diego Costa finished his debut season in England racking up 21 goals across all competitions while Eden Hazard also scored 19 important goals during the title-winning season. Cesc Fabregas also had a breakthrough season as he racked up an impressive 16 assist season along with 5 goals marking an end to his prolific season in London Blue.
After a dismal 2015-16 season for Chelsea, where they finished just 10th in the League table, Italian tactician Antonio Conte was appointed to manage the club. Former Italy and Juventus manager came into the side as a replacement to Jose Mourinho and made huge changes aside from a tactical point of view. Chelsea for the first time ever switched to a back five consisting of wing-backs in the form of Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso. The defense consisted of David Luiz and John Terry for most of the games. The start of the season was a bit slow but when the players slowly got into the groove and started playing by the tactics, Chelsea transformed themselves into a winning side. In the end, Chelsea won 30 out of the 38 matches finishing on a total of 93 points and comfortably lifting the title. Chelsea also made it to the FA Cup final only to lose to Arsenal 2-1.
Other notable seasons include the UEFA Europa League triumphs of the 2012-13 season and also another UEFA Europa League title under Maurizio Sarri during the 2018-19 season.
Chelsea is a club on the rise once again under Frank Lampard. After heavily investing in young and talented players, the club has responded really well to the raised demands from both the hierarchy as well as the fans. Chelsea has made a bright start to the 2020-21 season sitting third in the table after 8 games one point behind table-toppers Liverpool. Frank Lampard’s side is starting to gel in and perform brilliantly both in Europe as well as in the League and it would not take long for them to win their next piece of Silverware if they continue in this fashion under Frank Lampard.