Chelsea Football Club was founded in 1905 by English businessman Gus Mears. He had initially purchased the then Stamford Bridge Athletics Stadium with the idea of renting it to an existing football club, but when a deal with nearby Fulham FC fell through, Mears decided to start a new club and Chelsea was born. “The Blues” still play their home games at what is now colloquially referred to as “The Bridge”.
Chelsea were given the nickname “The Pensioners” for most of their history until the mid 1950s because of their association with a local hospital which was home to British war veterans. This connection still lives on today, with eight lucky seniors invited as visitors to every home game at Stamford Bridge. The lucky pensioners are selected via a by-weekly lottery. However, the nickname itself was cast aside under the instructions of Ted Drake, who took over as manager in June 1952. Drake felt that the nickname embarrassed the club and decided to ditch it in favour of “The Blues”.
Chelsea have always been a team of great strikers. The man known as the player they should never have sold, Jimmy Greaves, famously scored 132 goals in 169 appearances over a four year period in the late 1950s. Bobby Tambling was another prolific goalscorer for the club, netting 202 times in 360 games over an 11 year stint with “The Blues”, which included helping them back into the top flight in 1963.
However, the goalscoring didn’t stop 50 years ago. In the modern era, Didier Drogba staked his claim as one of Chelsea’s best ever strikers. Under iconic manager Jose Mourinho, and with the help of club legends John Terry and Frank Lampard, the impervious Ivorian helped the club win several domestic and European honours. He scored 100 goals in 226 games during his first spell at the club, among them some of the most important strikes in their history. Most notably, his late equaliser and subsequent winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League Final at the Allianz Arena in Munich, helped Chelsea defeat the mighty Bayern Munich in their own backyard to become champions of Europe - a moment which will be remembered by football fans worldwide for many a decade to come.
Geographically speaking, Chelsea play local derbies against other West London teams Fulham and Queens Park Rangers. However, due to the gulf in class and achievement over recent decades between them, these games don’t really pump up the faithful as much as the visit of fellow title contenders like Manchester United, Arsenal or Liverpool.
With a squad full of quality young players at his disposal, the pressure is now on Frank Lampard to deliver more trophies to a club which has, in recent memory, captured several Premier League crowns, FA Cups and even European silverware.