Chelsea had a chance birth. Two brothers named Gus and Joseph Mears bought an athletic stadium, Stamford Bridge, to offer it to Fulham, whose foundation dated back to 1979. But Fulham were not interested, so the Mears brothers decided to create their own team, in the spirit of making pay the neighbor his disdain. After several doubts they opted for the name Chelsea, the adjoining district.
To dispute the roots in the area with Fulham they relied on the Royal Hospital, based in the area, which welcomed the army pensioners for two centuries. As a motif for their shield they chose a head with a white beard, a military cap and a coat with medals. A pensioner. It was not a good idea. Chelsea was known to rivals as The Pensioners and also suffered jokes for having the cemetery next to it. A comic legend was created for him. It was an elevator team, with frequent back and forth between First and Second.
In 1952 he hired Ted Drake, legend of Arsenal and the national team, as manager, who first thing he did was change the shield of the pensioner and after a brief passage through a format with the letters FCC established the current one, round and with the British lion as the central motif. With the lion on his chest he won the first League in its history in 54-55, just when the European Cup was in preparation, an idea promoted by L’Equipe.
Among the first to be enthusiastic about and collaborate with the idea was Santiago Bernabéu, who to give the initiative an institutional patina suggested that the vice president of the French Federation, Ernest Bédrignans, be appointed secretary general of the organizing committee.
UEFA had just been created in 1954. FIFA already had confederations on the other continents, but it had been commissioning it from Europe and it was still de facto at that time. He opposed the European Cup and devised and opposed the idea of a Cities Cup in Fair, which would have the backing of the municipalities. He dismissed the initiative of L’Equipe and he forbade it to be called the European Cup, a name that was reserved for a future championship between national teams (the Eurocup, which would begin in 1959). The one of L ‘Equip was born as European Champion Clubs Cup.
Bédrignans, the man whom Bernabéu had recommended for the general secretariat, knew how to involve the newborn UEFA, which had its first gesture of autonomy before FIFA by adopting the competition before it started. The founding committee was dissolved and created entirely appointed by UEFA, which established the condition that all participants had to be authorized by their national federation to attend.
That killed Chelsea. The English isolationist vocation led its football authorities to look haughtily at that idea born in Paris. Chelsea was crushed. In the second edition, given the success of the first and the problems of the Fairs Cup (which London attended with a combined eleven teams), England already allowed the new champion, Manchester United, to attend.
For Chelsea a great opportunity had disappeared. They made him miss a train that would have earned him respect. In London it suffered contempt as a team from the South and in the rest of England it always had the image of an irregular team conducive to ridicule, of poor with posh pretensions. Not even the great milestone of the Recopa final won in Athens against Real Madrid allowed him to gain respect.
It had a hard time, it even touched the Third, until in 1982 it was bought by a hotelier named Ken Bates for a pound. With it came a slow recovery. In 1998 he won another Recopa. But the big leap was made in 2003 with the arrival of Abramovich, who paid Bates 59 million pounds and took over a debt of 114.7. It performed well for Bates’ starting pound. Abramovich inaugurated the stage of the great foreign magnates in English clubs. This particularity was very badly regarded and more so when he was the first to go out to a league game with eleven not english, to top it off in a Boxing day. But he won the 2004-05 League, just half a century after the first, he repeated the following year and reached heaven by winning the 2011-12 Champions League.
As more foreign tycoons acquired English clubs, Chelsea was no longer seen as an anomaly. Today it is no longer the club chufla with pretensions of posh, but a member of the Big six, one of the conspirators for the adventure of the Super League.
And this time those who have opposed it have been their own fans, who on the day of cars blocked the arrival of the bus at Stamford Bridge.