The club quickly gained popularity among fans, but could not win a single trophy in the first 50 years of its existence. By the very first success of Chelsea came in the FA Cup, he took second place in 1915 and was defeated in the semi-finals in 1911, 1920, 1932, 1950 and 1952.
A series of failures was finally destroyed by coach Ted Drake, who made a number of changes to the club structure and led Chelsea to the first championship in the 1954/55 season. He eradicated the last signs of amateurism at Chelsea, declaring:
“Too many people come to Stamford Bridge to watch a football match, instead of supporting Chelsea.” In previous years, players must have finally got tired of the popularity of entertainers. People should eat, sleep and drink at Chelsea
Drake removed the “Chelsea Pensioner” from the club emblem and expelled the nickname “pensioners”, which stuck to the club shortly after its founding. Chelsea also received the right to participate in the first European Cup, but the Football League rejected Chelsea’s request to participate in the rally, referring to the busy schedule of the English championship.
In the 1960s, young talented footballers under the guidance of coach Tommy Docherty appeared in Chelsea. For a decade, they claimed various titles, but suffered defeats in the finals. They were on the verge of winning the Football League Cup and other awards in the 1964/65 season, but failed [. In three seasons in a row, they were defeated in three important semi-final meetings and flew out of the cup. In 1970, Chelsea won the FA Cup, beating Leeds United in the final. The following year, the team won its first European trophy, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, this time beating Real Madrid in Athens.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a very turbulent period for Chelsea. Ambitious plans for the reconstruction of “Stamford Bridge” jeopardized the financial stability of the club, the club decided to rebuild the stadium so that it could accommodate 60,000 spectators. With the new eastern stand – “East Stand” – many problems arose, and its construction was completed a year later. The cost of work was higher than originally estimated, and 1.3 million pounds exceeded the budget. Debts have become a new dangerous opponent of the club. Star players were sold and rented, and the team flew into the Second Division. Further problems were associated with the notorious hooligan elements among fans who had been a problem throughout the decade. In 1982, the position of the club became critical when players were left without a salary, and the bank refused to cash the checks of the club. The businessman Ken Bates, who had previously worked with small clubs in the north, was invited to the club. Bates bought the club for a nominal amount – one pound sterling. When the club went bankrupt, the owners decided to sell Stamford Bridge to a construction company in order to pay off their debts. This decision led to the fact that the team lost the stadium and was forced to train with Fulham and Queens Park Rangers, and shops or apartment buildings were to appear on the site of the stadium.
The 1982/83 season was not successful for the Blues – they almost flew into the Third Division, which could be a fatal consequence for the club. A draw in the last home game allowed Chelsea to stay in Division Two. But in 1983, coach John Neal assembled a good line-up at minimal cost. Chelsea won the Second Division in the 1983/84 season and retired to the First Division, where it remained until re-departure in 1988. The club returned to the elite a year later, winning the champion title of the Second Division in the 1988/89 season.
The heavy and costly struggle of club president Ken Bates with a construction company to return the team to their own stadium lasted 10 years and was crowned with success in 1992. Ironically, it was the construction company that went bankrupt from the stock market crash, and the club returned to its home stadium.
In 1993, Glenn Hoddle took the coaching chair. The level of the club immediately began to rise, and the quality of the Chelsea game was improving, little by little, at such a pace that at the end of the first season, under the leadership of Hoddle, the team reached the 1993/94 English Cup final. Having issued a bright start, Chelsea lost 4-0. Since the future of Stamford Bridge was now safe, additional tools became available. To “lead” the team, a player with the best reputation was required, and Hoddle became the main factor by which Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit decided to bargain for Italy for West London. In just one season, Gullit was named the best Chelsea player of all time, and when Hoddle left the club to become England coach in the summer of 1996, Gullit became a playing coach.
Using his knowledge and connections in European football, Gullit brought the famous Italian striker Gianluca Vialli to the team, followed by Italy’s midfielder Roberto Di Matteo and French libero Frank LeBeuf. Gianfranco Zola, another star of Serie A, was acquired a few months later. For the 1997 FA Cup final, Chelsea was ready. In the final, Middlesbrough was beaten 2-0. The 26-year-long waiting for the trophies was over, and at the end of the match, the longest celebration in its history began at the famous old stadium. The following season became historical again, although Gullit did not hold out as a coach. After the new contract reached an impasse in early 1998, he was replaced by Gianluca Vialli, who led the team to victories in the Football League Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1998, the FA Cup in 2000 and to third place in the championship that secured qualifications for the 1999/00 UEFA Champions League. However, inside the club, everything was not perfect. The contradictions between Vialli and the increasing number of his players grew, and some of his transfer costs did not justify themselves. The team was old, and in need of an inevitable large-scale upgrade, the club decided to look for someone else to accomplish this task. The new coach of Chelsea was Italian Claudio Ranieri, who had previously worked successfully with Fiorentina and Valencia. In its first season, Chelsea won the right to participate in the UEFA Cup. The lost FA Cup final followed this in 2002. The 2003/04 season Chelsea finished second in the Premier League and again won the right to participate in the UEFA Champions League. Despite these achievements, Claudio Ranieri was fired at the end of his fourth season.
On July 2, 2003, Ken Bates sold Chelsea to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for £ 140 million, which became the world’s largest sale of English football club. More than £ 100 million was spent on new players, but Ranieri could not provide any trophies, so Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho replaced him. Under the leadership of Mourinho, Chelsea became the fifth English club since World War II to defend his title in the 2005/06 season . Then England Cup (2007) and two Football League Cups (2005 and 2007) were won. On September 20, 2007, Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho decided to separate by consensus. On the eve of September 18, the match between Chelsea and Norwegian Rosenborg ended with a draw 1: 1. José Mourinho talked more than once about his experiences with the unsuccessful performances of the team.
On July 2, 2003, Ken Bates sold Chelsea to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for £ 140 million, which became the world’s largest sale of English football club. More than £ 100 million was spent on new players, but Ranieri could not provide any trophies, so Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho replaced him. Under the leadership of Mourinho, Chelsea became the fifth English club since World War II to defend his title in the 2005/06 season. Then England Cup (2007) and two Football League Cups (2005 and 2007) were won. On September 20, 2007, Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho decided to separate by consensus. On the eve of September 18, the match between Chelsea and Norwegian Rosenborg ended with a draw 1: 1. José Mourinho talked more than once about his experiences with the unsuccessful performances of the team.
On June 22, 2011, Portuguese specialist Andre Villas-Boas was appointed Chelsea head coach, who had previously coached Porto. The contract was for three years. Chelsea management paid the Portuguese club € 15 million in compensation for early termination of the contract with the head coach. Under his leadership, Chelsea was unstable, the situation in the team was aggravated by a mature generational change and the coach’s conflict with the old-timers of the team and, as a result, the Portuguese were fired. Until the end of the season, Italian Assistant Villas Boas, Roberto Di Matteo, who had previously played for the team, was appointed acting head coach. With him, Chelsea managed to win the FA Cup and for the first time in the club’s history, the UEFA Champions League, having managed to beat Bayern in the penalty shootout in the final. At the same time, to reach the final match, held in Munich on the evening of May 19, 2012, the Chelsea players had to beat Barcelona, considered to be the undisputed favourite, and before that they had to “save” the 1/8 final duel against Napoli, in the first match losing 1: 3. Only a goal from Branislav Ivanovic in extra time allowed the Blue to reach the quarterfinals.
In the final, everything turned out to be just as difficult as on the way to him: seven minutes before the end of regular time, Thomas Muller brought Bavaria ahead, but in the 88th minute Didier Drogba equalized, allowing Chelsea to continue to fight for the championship. In additional time, the goalkeeper of the London club Peter Cech repelled a penalty kick by Arjen Robben, who appointed the Portuguese referee Pedro Proensa for a foul on Drogba in the penalty area. At the beginning of the penalty shootout, everything was in favour of the German club: Juan Mata failed to beat Manuel Neuer, but the last two strikes by the Munich players were not accurate. Petr Cech parried Ivica Olic’s kick, and Bastian Schweinsteiger hit the post, while the Blue goalkeeper guessed all the other shots in the penalty shootout. At the same time, all subsequent blows of Chelsea footballers after Mata’s slip proved to be accurate, and they won the Champions Cup. UEFA recognized Didier Drogba the best player of the match in Munich.
However, as early as next season after a major defeat by Juventus, Chelsea’s exit to the playoffs of the UEFA Champions League was in doubt, and on November 21, 2012, Di Matteo was dismissed from his post as Chelsea head coach because of unsatisfactory results. By the end of the season, Rafael Benitez was appointed trainer of the Blues, who managed to brighten up the failure in the Champions League victory in the Europa League, which became the first in the history of the club. On June 3, 2013, José Mourinho, who signed a four-year contract with the club, was again appointed head coach of Chelsea, following the results of his second season after returning, having achieved the championship in the 2014/15 season. On December 17, 2015, after 16 games in the Premier League, Chelsea was in 16th place, Chelsea and José Mourinho ended their cooperation by mutual agreement. Guus Hiddink again became acting head coach until the end of the 2015/16 season; however, he failed to significantly improve the results, the team took only 10th place in the English Championship, which was the worst result in the era of Abramovich.
On April 4, 2016, Antonio Conte, who started his duties immediately after the end of Euro 2016, was appointed head coach. Chelsea under the leadership of Conte was able to repeat the club record set in September 2009, scoring 11th consecutive victories in the Premier League. After winning the home match on December 31, 2016, Stoke City Chelsea scored the 13th victory in a row in the English Championship, setting a club record. In May 2017, Chelsea won the next 6th league title under the leadership of Antonio Conte. At the same time, the team led by the Italian coach set the next record of the Premier League – 30 victories of the season, which the Arsene Wenger team and the team of Alex Ferguson could not do before.
The season 2017/18 for Chelsea turned out to be extremely unstable: a weak transfer policy, a conflict between the coach and some players, the sale of key players without the coach’s knowledge were the main reasons for the extremely unstable and occasionally uncertain game. Chelsea took only 5th place in the English championship, which did not allow the club to participate in the Champions League, but pragmatic play and fighting spirit helped Chelsea to win the England Cup, beating Manchester United in the final with a score of 1: 0. Antonio Conte was dismissed, and his compatriot Maurizio Sarri was appointed as the new head coach of Chelsea.