By Hammad Manzoor Shah
Founded in 1905, Chelsea Football Club gained quick reputation by signing famous footballers. Unfortunately the big names did not pay off and Chelsea failed to win a major tournament for nearly half a century. The initial thirty out of forty seasons resulted in failures, in which the club was always ranked in the bottom of the table or finishing in mid table. The closest Chelsea came to success was in the FA Cup; they were runners-up in 1915 and lost semi-finals in 1911, 1920, 1932, 1950 and 1952. Manager Ted Drake who introduced several changes in the club was finally able to break the duck and led Chelsea to the league Championship in 1955.
Chelsea finally started being looked up as a strong rival, and the tenure from 1963-72 witnessed the club challenging for honors. They won League Cup and FA Cup in 1965 and in 1970 respectively. They also emerged as a winner in UEFA Championship in 1971.This was one of the golden era of Chelsea. Unfortunately, the next decade brought several problems for the club and the debt burden caused due to an ambitious attempt to redevelop and expand the Stamford Bridge, brought the club to a stage where it was near to extinct but John Neal in mid 80’s revived the club and re-established the club in top flight.
Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli managers of Chelsea F.C from 1996-2000 made further changes and due to this Chelsea once again vied as a strong contender. The winning of FA Cup in the year 1997 and 2000, the League Cup and UEFA Winners’ Cup in 1998 and eventually getting qualified for Champions League for the first time, is a testimony to their efforts.
The club successes appeased a Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who eventually bought it in 2003. He invested in the club and made Jose Mourinho as the manager of the team. Mourinho led them to two league titles, an FA Cup and two league Cups in three seasons. The club added a further FA Cup in 2009, and then their first League and FA Cup “Double” in 2010 and finally the 7th FA Cup in 2012. Currently the team is being managed by Rafael Benítez and lead by John Terry.