The modern Chelsea Football Club was created in this decade, starting with the crucial news that the owners of Stamford Bridge, Cabra Estates, had gone bust. An attritional war for control of the ground ended and its long-overdue regeneration as a temple of football could begin.
The big-name signings of Paul Elliott, Andy Townsend, Dennis Wise and co. only partially helped prepare the club for the revolutions that were about to happen when the top 22 clubs broke away from the Football League and European law handed footballers freedom of contract with the Bosman ruling.
Chelsea were founding members of the new Premier League in 1992/93 and have remained in the top flight ever since – the longest run in our history. That same year UEFA expanded its club competitions, making them far more lucrative.
— Manager: 1988-91
— Manager: 1991-93
— Manager: 1993
— Manager: 1993-96
— Manager: 1996-98
— Manager: 1998-2000
The Blues needed a football philosopher for this era of new possibilities and found it in Glenn Hoddle. In summer 1993 the graceful former England midfielder began implementing a root-and-branch revolution that would radically reshape everything from players’ diet to the training ground.
His most important change was in the mindset of the club and supporters and 1994 brought the first FA Cup final for 24 years, followed by a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup campaign.
Thus convinced, at a hotel meeting in May 1995 the board decided on a daring investment to lure star names back to the Bridge, playing attractive football, in front of big crowds watching European matches on a regular basis.
— Player: 1996-2003
— Player: 1990-2001
Roberto Di Matteo
— Player: 1996-2002
— Player: 1996-2001
The result was the stunning arrivals of Ruud Gullit, Mark Hughes, Gianluca Vialli, Frank Leboeuf, Gianfranco Zola, Marcel Desailly and others as the old Chelsea regained its glamour. Under Gullit, then Vialli, the Blues eradicated decades of underachievement by winning the FA Cup, League Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup and Super Cup.
The stellar continentals dominated the story lines – and on Boxing Day 1999 Vialli fielded the first all-overseas XI — yet homegrowns including Frank Sinclair and Eddie Newton and Brits such as Steve Clarke and Wise had been equally vital to each triumph. The success, though, would come at a price…
Spirit Of The Age
Earth becomes a global village with the arrival of the World Wide Web. (Whatever happened to Netscape Navigator? Must Google that… )
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