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Man Utd rue failure to land Kompany

Manchester derby 2 hours ago
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Jul 5, 2012

A brief history of Chelsea

Formed: 1905
Admitted to Football League: 1905
European Cup Winners' Cup: 1970-1, 1997-8
UEFA Super Cup: 1997-8
First Division/Premier League 4
Second Division 2
FA Cup: 6
League Cup: 4

Chelsea are the nouveau superpower of English football. They won 12 major trophies between 1997 and 2010, three times as many as they claimed in the 92 years before that. Most of those successes came after the club was purchased by the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in 2003, a move that kickstarted the wave of foreign ownership in the Premier League.

Having been founded in 1905, they are one of the younger Premier League sides. They had a couple of short spells in the top flight either side of the First World War, and lost the FA Cup final to Sheffield United in 1915, but they did not really establish themselves until the Thirties: promotion in 1930 began a run of 31 consecutive years in Division One.

During that time, under the management of Ted Drake, they won their first league title in 1955. It was a remarkable triumph that came out of nothing: Chelsea had finished in the bottom half of the table in eight of the previous nine seasons and would finish 16th the following year.

As champions, Chelsea should have been England's first representatives in the European Cup, yet they were persuaded not to enter by the FA. The club were relegated in 1962 but returned at the first attempt and, this time, challenged consistently for honours. They finished in the top half of the table for nine seasons in a row and endured a number of near misses, most notably in 1965 they were on course for a domestic Treble at the end of March, but ended up with only the League Cup.

A team full of personalities like Peter Osgood, Ron 'Chopper' Harris and Charlie Cooke were a perfect encapsulation of the swinging Sixties in west London. After losing another FA Cup final in 1967, this time to Spurs, Chelsea finally claimed the trophy for the first time in 1970. They beat Leeds 2-1 in a replay that is often cited as the dirtiest game in English football history.

In the following season Chelsea broke more new territory, winning their first European trophy: they beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the Cup Winners' Cup final replay.

After such a glorious period, a comedown was inevitable. Chelsea were relegated in 1975, and the rebuilding of Stamford Bridge's East Stand led to significant financial difficulties. Chelsea eventually had to sell the Stamford Bridge freehold and were almost evicted.

The club jumped back and forth between the top two divisions for the next 15 years, with only consecutive sixth-placed finishes in 1985 and 1986 to really dwell on. Promotion in 1989 ended their yo-yo period, and the Nineties - often forgotten because of subsequent success - were vital in re-establishing Chelsea as one of the major teams in the country.

They won the FA Cup in 1997, the Cup Winners' Cup in 1998, and also became glamorous again, thanks mainly to the acquisition of players like Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli (both of whom would go on to manage the club), and particularly Gianfranco Zola, who was bought by Gullit in 1996 and very quickly became a Chelsea legend.

Another FA Cup followed in 2000, and Chelsea finished between third and sixth in every season from 1996 and 2003. That was the summer in which their identity changed forever: Abramovich bought the club and an almost unprecedented investment in players followed.

Claudio Ranieri's failure to win a trophy in 2003-04 led to his replacement by Jose Mourinho. It was a match made in heaven: in his first season Mourinho won the League Cup and the title - Chelsea's first for 50 years - with a record points total of 95; he added a second championship the following season. Although Mourinho failed marginally to make it three in a row, Chelsea did win both domestic cups in 2007. But a declining relationship with Abramovich led to him being leaving the club early in the 2007-08 season.

Chelsea lost the Champions League final on penalties to Manchester United that season, the continuation of a cursed run in that competition.

They underachieved for much of 2008-09 before a late run under the temporary manager Guus Hiddink ended with another FA Cup win and the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti led to a sharpening of focus. Chelsea won the Double in his first season but, while the Champions League continued to elude them, nobody's job was safe and Ancelotti was sacked to usher in the 'new Mourinho' - FC Porto boss Andre Villas-Boas ahead of the 2011-12 season.

The appointment was a disaster. Chelsea were unable to push for the league and Villas-Boas was out by March, to be replaced by assistant Roberto Di Matteo. From one extreme to the other, Di Matteo could not seal a top four spot but managed to win the FA Cup and delivered Roman's primary prize, the Champions League, with a penalty shoot-out win over Bayern Munich. That was enough to get him the job on a permanent basis.

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