Roman Abramovich's Chelsea Era In Pictures
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The Stamford Bridge outfit has come a long way from being a mid-table and struggling club into a multi-millionaire club.
The club's previous owner Ken Bates had bought the club for a mere £1 in 1982. At that time the West London outfit was in rags and neck-deep in financial troubles. Bates developed the team's financial conditions and he sold the club for a record £140 million to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
After the takeover in 2003 the Blues' have emerged from the rags and developed into a top club of world football. They are regarded as one of the richest clubs in the world and is the club of dreams of numerous promising and older stars. Various players have arrived at Stamford Bridge and earned fame and glory for themselves as well as the club.
In this slideshow we will take a picturesque view of the club's journey since the takeover by new owner Roman Abramovich.
Roman Abramovich Arrives
Abramovich Watches His First Match as Chelsea Owner with Ken Bates
Chelsea's previous owner Ken Bates had bought the club with a nominal sum and developed it. The club was facing a severe financial crunch, and was on the verge of losing its stadium. Bates helped the club keep its stadium, and brought financial stability.
Though the club fared well in the next few years yet they failed to win any trophies for their owner. Numerous managers came and went but none were able to win top honors for the club except two FA Cups and an UEFA Super Cup.
In July 2003, Ken Bates sold the club to Russian oil magnate Roman Abramovich for a then record-breaking 140 million pounds, the highest ever paid to purchase an English club.
The Russian billionaire made a quiet entry, but started investing massively soon after and has been doing so. In his seven years reigning at Stamford Bridge he has developed the once cash-strapped club into a footballing behemoth with a host of talented players.
Though there has been talks of him losing interest in the club, the owner on his part has maintained silence and showed his love for the club by recently turning all his debts into equity, which underlined his plans of a long-term future with the club.
Jose " The Special One" Marks His Arrival
The self-proclaimed Special One arrives at Stamford Bridge
"Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I am a special one."
These were the words that the arrogant and often inhibiting but hugely successful Portuguese tactician Jose Mourinho said on his arrival at Stamford Bridge in June 2004.
When he left the club after three long years he had indeed sealed his place in the heart of the Blues' faithful as the "Special One."
Perhaps the most successful Chelsea manager of all-time, Mourinho transformed the mid-table struggling Chelsea into a superpower of club football. He made huge signings and some pretty expensive ones, but delivered what was expected.
Chelsea enjoyed its best seasons under his able hands as the Portuguese guided the West Londoner's to their first English Premier League title in successive seasons along with two League Cups and a FA Cup.
Youngster John Terry Emerges As Chelsea's Captain Fantastic
A Young Terry With His Club's Reward
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John Terry joined Chelsea from West Ham as a mere 14-year-old. He initially started as a midfielder, but was eventually made to take the role of centre-back due to lack of defenders. He started out playing for the Stamford Bridge outfit's reserve team, and earned recognition for his defensive qualities and impressive instincts.
After three years playing for the reserves, Terry made his debut for the first team in October 1998 coming on as a substitute in Chelsea's League Cup face-off with Aston Villa. He thereafter spent some time on loan at Nottingham Forest to earn experience.
On his return from the loan spell, Terry started establishing himself in Chelsea's backline and was voted the club's player of the year in 2000-01. His impressive exploits on the field earned him a regular spot, and he started learning his trade alongside Chelsea legend Marcel Desailly. In 2001, the first time he wore the captain's band and after Desailly's retirement Mourinho handed Terry the captaincy permanently.
From that day, he has been the club's most successful captain to date and is still captain nine years running. He has been with the club during its ups and downs, and has led from the front always. He displayed his love for the Blues' when he rejected numerous multi-million dollar moves to stay with his boyhood club.
He has been through a lot of personal problems recently, but has not ever let his private troubles affect his game for the club. He is the club's most-loved captain in history.
Chelsea Lifts Its First English Premier League Title
Since their glorious 70s' the Pensioners had struggled to be in the top flight of English football. They faced financial troubles and were in tatters until British businessman Ken Bates bought them for a mere £1. He slowly and steadily improved the team's condition but the Blues failed to win any major titles during his tenure.
After the arrival of Roman Abramovich and spending of millions on signing star players, the Blues failed to win any trophies. Then arrived Jose Mourinho and Chelsea triumphed in style to its first Premier League title in the 2004-05 season, and its first division title since 1954-55.
The 2004-05 season was Chelsea's all-time greatest Premier League season, as they created records on its way to the title. They still hold the record for the highest ever points tally in a league season (95), the highest number of cleansheets in a league season (26), the maximum number of wins in the Premier League (29), and the least number of goals conceded (15) in a league season.
In that two season, the Blues' changed the face of modern club football as they thumped top clubs to humility by sheer class and skills.
Chelsea's Most Successful Manager Leaves
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The blissful period was not here to stay for much longer as ego-problems started erupting between Mourinho and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
Mourinho was against signing the then in-form Andriy Shevchenko, but Abramovich used his power to sign the Ukrainian wizard for a massive 30 million pounds. After a poor debut season for Chelsea Mourinho dropped his multi-million dollar signing on the bench, and that led to further friction between him and the Chelsea hierarchy as Abramovich insisted on giving the Ukrainian more playing time, which Mourinho refused.
The appointment of Avram Grant, who would later on succeed him as the club's manager, was the final point of conflict between the arrogant manager and Chelsea owner.
The "Special One" left the Stamford Bridge outfit unexpectedly on September 2007 by mutual consent. It was a moment of pain for the players as well as the fans. Several players expressed their disappointment on their much-loved manager leaving although a few were pretty happy.
Chelsea's Special story with the "Special One" came to an end. The Portuguese manager left Stamford Bridge as its most successful manager with six trophies during his three years in charge. During his three-year tenure he was undefeated in all his home league games.
Chelsea Goes Closest To Being Crowned European Champions and Fumbles
Chelsea's John Terry Misses the Penalty in the Champions League 2008 Final
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The picture above will be haunting the Chelsea players, owner, and the Blues' faithful 'til the day the Stamford Bridge outfit are crowned European champions. This is the moment that robbed Chelsea of its debut Champions League title.
After the departure of Mourinho, Chelsea appointed Avram Grant as the caretaker manager of Chelsea. The team was on a roll, and they went all the way to the final at Moscow overcoming Olympiacos, Fenerbahce, and Liverpool.
In the final they faced Manchester United, making it the first all-English final in the history of European Cups. The stage was set for Chelsea to win its maiden Champions League title, and be crowned European champions. They had been very impressive in the whole campaign and also played superbly in the final.
They came back from being a goal down early in the first half. Chelsea commanded the game, but then a free-for-all ensued among players from both sides in the middle of the second-half. The fracas resulted in Chelsea's striker Didier Drogba being sent-off for slapping United defender Nemanja Vidic.
The match ended 1-1 at full time and went into penalties. Chelsea looked all set to be crowned European champions for the first time in its history after goalie Petr Cech had saved a shot from Cristiano Ronaldo. Chelsea's captain fantastic John Terry stepped in to take the shot. But Chelsea's dream remained unfulfilled as the players and fans watched in horror as Terry slipped and his shot hit the post.
Anelka, who took the final penalty, saw his shot saved by United goalie Van der Sar after United legend Ryan Giggs had netted from the spot. Chelsea missed its dreams by a whisker, and saw its wishes remain unfulfilled to date.
That was the closest Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's dreams were to fulfillment. Thereafter Chelsea has come close, but not as been close as the final at Moscow. Winning the Champions League remains the main priority for the West Londoner's even in the new season.
Scolari Arrives, Fumbles and Gets Sacked
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The widely-respected World Cup winning Brazilian manager arrived in Chelsea on July 2008 amid much expectations. With the departure of Mourinho, Avram Grant was appointed as the temporary manager of the Blues'.
But Grant's failure to guide the team to any trophies led to his sacking, and the eventual appointment of the hugely successful Scolari, known as the "Big Phil." Chelsea had been a season without any trophies, and it was widely expected that he would help them change the fortunes.
Scolari started his tenure in style with Chelsea, registering convincing wins at the start of the season. He brought some fresh faces along with him. Deco was his first signing.
After a few early games the team's performance started deteriorating drastically. There were news of feud between the players and the manager. Scolari had changed the way Chelsea played, and that led to protests from several key players. Chelsea performed poorly over the next few months amid the unrest, and looked to lose the Premier League title to Manchester United, which they eventually did.
Scolari was arrogant in his attitude, and refused to succumb to player demands. The string of poor performances led to his sacking on February 2009 after just a mere seven months in the job.
Nobody will ever know what went wrong during those last few months but one thing was sure, Chelsea ended the season without any major titles.
He was succeeded by the wily Guus Hiddink after Chelsea's owner personally asked him to take the job. The able Dutchman guided the team to the FA Cup, but failed in delivering the Champions' League.
The No-Nonsense Italian Tactician Arrives
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After Chelsea sacked the hugely successful Brazilian tactician Scolari in the middle of the season, they appointed Russia national team coach Guus Hiddink as caretaker manager for the rest of the season.
Hiddink did his part and helped Chelsea win the FA Cup that season. Ending his part-time duties he left for his Russian national team job, refusing a lucrative offer to coach the Blues'. The hunt for a new coach started and AC Milan's most successful manager Carlo Ancelotti was chosen as the ideal candidate to be appointed manager.
The former Rossoneri player arrived at Stamford Bridge on a lucrative three-year contract, which made him the highest paid manager in the world. After having a hugely successful managerial career at Milan, he had high hopes to fulfill on his arrival at Chelsea.
The wily old Italian, who has 26 international cups under his name, did what was expected of him and delivered a historic Premier League and FA Cup Double to the West Londoner's. With the wins the 51-year-old manager became the only the second non-Brit manager to win a double, the other being Frenchman Arsene Wenger.
Though Ancelotti failed to deliver Chelsea the much-desired Champions League crown, yet he had a very successful debut season and will be hoping to fulfill their dreams of European champions this season. Chelsea started its new season in style with back-to-back 6-0 wins, and are presently leading the League.
Ancelotti in a recent interview has stated his wish to be Chelsea manager for at least another 10 years.
Chelsea Wins First "Double" in Club History
Chelsea squad With their Double
With the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti, expectations were high that he would help the club end Manchester United's Premier League winning streak.
Expectations were running high at West London as the players and fans alike waited for a major trophy in three years. Their wishes were fulfilled as the hugely successful Italian not only fulfilled expectations, but did it in style.
Chelsea recovered from a mid-season off, and overcame captain John Terry and defender Ashley Cole's scandals to win a historic Premier League and FA Cup Double.
The club also became the first club in Premier League history to record more than 100 goals in a single season. The club's disappointment to make it to the later rounds of the Champions League were somewhat reduced by its historic Double.
Chelsea registered four massive wins where they scored seven goals or more, and its players were in peak form. The Pensioner's talismanic striker Didier Drogba won the Golden Boot as he scored his way past Red Devils' Rooney to become the highest goalscorer of the season.
Ancelotti started his Chelsea managerial career in style and brought cheers back to the Stamford Bridge. His Blues' have started the defense of their EPL title in style, scoring 14 goals in their first three fixtures and are presently leading the table.