HALF A DECADE OF SUCCESS

Posted on: Mon 25 Jan 2010

Today (Tuesday, July 1st 2008) marks five years since the club was bought by Roman Abramovich - a period filled with successes both on and off the pitch.

On July 1, 2003 the Russian, relatively unknown in the UK at the time, saved the club from an uncertain future and possible bankruptcy, and provided the platform from which we have grown into one of the world's largest clubs.

In that time he has overseen the signing of some of the world's best players and enjoyed the most successful spell in Chelsea history, with no fewer than five major trophies, and most recently our first ever Champions League Final, in his home country.

But to focus solely on the on-pitch achievements is to ignore the bigger picture, in which the club has forged closer links with its fan base, community and former players in the form of the Past Players Trust.

The Chelsea Old Boys have been brought under the banner of the club, and take part in regular fixtures to raise money, while the Chelsea Ladies team is now a competitive force, underlining their intent with the capture of US World Cup winner Lorrie Fair in 2007.

Commitment to the community has been highlighted with one of the most extensive CSR programmes in sport, increases in coaching courses and the introduction of a regular fans' forum, where Chelsea's growing fan base can share their views with the club.

A first Premier League title arrived in May 2005, the first time the club had claimed a league championship in half a century. With it came Carling Cup success, the first trophy of the Abramovich and José Mourinho eras.

The Centenary year of the club was also marked in 2005, and with it came 12 months of celebrations, capped off with a second successive title, making us one of only two sides to have retained the trophy since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.

The 2006/7 campaign added two more trophies - a second Carling Cup and the FA Cup, in the first club game at the new Wembley Stadium.

Led by Avram Grant, the team reached its first Champions League Final in 2007/8, a season which also marked the opening of our state-of-the-art training facilities at Cobham, which cater not just for the senior team but also the Academy setup, which has also experienced major investment.

Abramovich's involvement has also revitalised an ailing transfer market, and while he was not the first, he paved the way for a proliferation of foreign owners in the Premier League.

With the long-term future of the club now secure, we can look forward to a continuing period of growth that has seen us become the world's fourth-largest club in terms of turnover.

We hope that the next five years with Roman Abramovich are as successful as the first.