Chelsea Football Club is an English football club based in Fulham, London. Founded in 1905, they play in the Premier League and have spent most of their history in the top tier of English football. Their home is the 41,837-seat Stamford Bridge stadium, where they have played since their establishment. Since 2003 they have been owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Chelsea had their first major success in 1955, when they won the league championship, and won several cup competitions during the 1960s, 1970s, 1990s and 2000s. The past decade has been the most successful period in Chelsea’s history, capped by winning their first league and FA Cup “Double” in 2010 and their first UEFA Champions League in 2012. Overall, Chelsea have been English champions four times, FA Cup winners seven times, League Cup winners four times, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup winners twice and UEFA Champions League winners once.
Chelsea’s regular kit colours are royal blue shirts and shorts with white socks. The club’s crest was changed several times in the first half-century, in attempts to re-brand the club and modernise its image. The current crest, featuring a ceremonial lion rampant regardant holding a staff, is a modification of the one introduced in the early 1950s. The club has sustained the fifth highest average all-time attendance in English football. Their average home gate for the 2010–11 season was 41,435, the sixth highest in the Premier League.
Chelsea have the fifth highest average all-time attendance in English football and regularly attract over 40,000 fans to Stamford Bridge; they were the fifth best-supported Premier League team in the 2009–10 season, with an average gate of 41,472. Chelsea’s traditional fanbase comes from all over the Greater London area including working-class parts such as Hammersmith and Battersea, wealthier areas like Chelsea and Kensington, and from the home counties. There are also numerous official supporters clubs in the United Kingdom and all over the world. At matches, Chelsea fans sing chants such as “Carefree” (to the tune of Lord of the Dance, whose lyrics were probably written by supporter Mick Greenaway), “Ten Men Went to Mow”, “We All Follow the Chelsea” (to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory), “Zigga Zagga”, and the celebratory “Celery”, with the latter often resulting in fans ritually throwing celery. The vegetable was banned inside Stamford Bridge after an incident involving Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fàbregas at the 2007 League Cup Final.
During the 1970s and 1980s in particular, Chelsea supporters were associated with football hooliganism. The club’s “football firm”, originally known as the Chelsea Shed Boys, and subsequently as the Chelsea Headhunters, were nationally notorious for violent acts involving hooligans from other teams, such as West Ham United’s Inter City Firm and Millwall’s Bushwackers, before, during and after matches. The increase of hooligan incidednts in the 1980s led chairman Ken Bates to propose erecting an electric fence to deter them from invading the pitch, a proposal that was rejected by the GLC. Since the 1990s there has been a marked decline in crowd trouble at matches, as a result of stricter policing, CCTV in grounds and the advent of all-seater stadia. According to Home Office statistics, 126 Chelsea fans were arrested for football-related offences during the 2009–10 season, the third highest in the division, and 27 banning orders were issued, the fifth highest in the division.
Chelsea do not have a traditional rivalry on the scale of the Merseyside derby or the North London derby, as their West London derby with Fulham or Queens Park Rangers has not been as prominent over the years with due to the clubs often spending time in separate divisions. A 2004 survey by Planetfootball.com found that Chelsea fans consider their main rivalries to be with (in order): Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. Their rivalry with Tottenham Hotspur is said to have developed following the 1967 FA Cup Final, the first cup final held between two London clubs. Additionally, a strong rivalry with Leeds United dates back to several heated and controversial matches in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly the 1970 FA Cup Final. A rivalry with Liverpool has grown through the years following repeated clashes in cup competitions.