The final of the Champions League of 2012 brought Chelsea and Bayern Munich together. Both teams were highly motivated to erase painful memories they had from this occasion. They had lost the final, both, to Manchester United in dramatic makeovers; Bayern in 1999 and Chelsea in 2008. Playing in their home Stadium and leading 1:0, with only 7 minutes left, Bayern were sure the title was not going to slip through their fingers this time, but it did. Didier Drogba equalized the score in the 88th minute and sent the teams to extra time and a penalty shoot out. At the end, it were The Blues who lifted their first Champions League trophy. This was yet another proof of the winning spirit of the club which started to emerge in the late 1990s
FC Chelsea was established in 1905 and Stamford Bridge (now with a 41,837 seats capacity) has served as its home stadium ever since. National success came only fifty years later when in 1955 Chelsea surprisingly won their first championship and first Community Shield. The players that achieved these successes for the club were remembered for many years due to the fact that Chelsea would not win any titles for many years to come.
Manager Ted Drake and players Bill Robertson, Ken Armstrong, John Harris, Roy Bentley, Stan Willemse, Eric Parsons, John McNichol, Les Stubbs, Peter Sillett, Derek Saunders and Frank Blunstone are names that hard core fans of Chelsea still remember to these days.
In the following decades success was scarce and sporadic for the London club, accompanied with relegations to the second league . They won the League Cup in 1965, the FA Cup in 1970, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1971 ( with players Charlie Cooke, Peter Osgood and David Webb) and won twice the Full Members Cup in the late 1980s. (A competition held in England for 7 seasons in the years in which English clubs were banned from the European tournaments after the Heysel Stadium Disaster).
But after the establishment of the Premier League in 1992 which has attracted investors and foreign players, Chelsea started winning titles on a regular basis. An FA Cup win in 1997 in a season in which Ruud Gullit was the manager and a League Cup, UEFA Winners' Cup and a European Super Cup in 1998 were the first titles in an impressive title winning era for the club. Mark Hughes, Dennis Wise, Steve Clarke, Dan Petrescu, Roberto Di Matteo, Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli (who replaced Gullit as a player-manager) were the protagonists of this squad.
When Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich became the owner of the club in 2003, big money started pouring in. He contracted manager Jose Mourinho who had just amazed the football world by winning the Champions League title with Porto and contracted many other great players such as Claude Makélélé, Petr Čech, Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba, Ricardo Carvalho and Michael Essien. Together with English players Frank Lampard, John Terry and Joe Cole and under Mouribho's management between 2004-2007, Chelsea won their 2nd and 3rd back to back championships, 2 League Cups, 1 FA Cup and 1 Community Shield. The winning of titles continued with managers that came after Mourinho: Guus Hidink (FA Cup), Carlo Ancelotti (Championship, FA Cup, Community Shield), Roberto Di Matteo (FA Cup, Champions League) and Rafa Benitez (UEFA Europa League). Chelsea became the most successful English trophy winning team in the decade of 2000 - 2010 and was the first English team to win all European trophies.
Although today Chelsea is consisted mostly of foreign players it also has a legacy of having some of the best British players in history. Many great British players have played for the club along the years among them Jimmy Greaves (1957-1961), Terry Venables (1960-1966), George Graham (1964-1966), Ray Wilkins (1973-1979), Kerry Dixon(1983-1992) and Frank Lampard (2001-2014).
Lampard is the holder of scores record for the club with 211 goals. Ron Harris with 795 appearances (between 1961-1980) holds the record of appearances for the club.
With Jose Mourinho back on lines and with top players such as: John Terry, Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Cesc Fabregas, Thibaut Courtois, Didier Drogba, Petr Čech, Ramires and Ivanovic Chelsea has high hopes to win all possible titles in England and the Champions League as well.
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