Chelsea FC have had an exciting history full of legendary matches, statistics and fun facts. As a U.S. supporter, how much do you know about Chelsea? Brush up on your knowledge, and share these impressive facts with fellow Blues fans.
1. The iconic lion on the Chelsea logo has multiple sources of inspiration.
Chelsea’s crest has had a total of five major redesigns in its history. The original lion appeared in the club crest in 1953. It was based on the civic coat of arms for what was the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea in London. It also included elements inspired by the arms of Earl Cadogan, who was club president at the time, as well as the Abbots of Westminster, former Lords of the Manor of Chelsea.
From 1986 to 2005, the rampart lion was replaced with a standing lion. After several variations, Chelsea returned to the original lion in 2005. Chelsea’s crest today features the original lion surrounded by a blue ring with two roses, which symbolize the country, and two balls, which honor the game of football.
2. Chelsea, along with Arsenal, were the first clubs to play with numbered kits.
The Blues first wore shirts with numbers during our match against Swansea City in August 1928. At the time, it was a news-worthy innovation for the game. It allowed spectators to give credit to individual players’ performances more easily, especially the young and relatively unknown players on the squad. However, kits with numbers didn’t become a standard in England until almost a decade later in 1939.
3. Stamford Bridge is owned by the fans.
The freehold of the ground and the naming rights of Stamford Bridge stadium are owned by Chelsea Pitch Owners PLC (CPO), a unique organization with more than 21,000 shares owned by the fans. Established in 1992 by then club chairman Ken Bates, its primary mission is to ensure that Chelsea supporters can continue to watch football at Stamford Bridge. CPO leases the stadium to us, and the club runs the stadium and everything to do with it.
4. David Calderhead has the longest tenure as a Chelsea manager.
Scottish footballer David Calderhead managed Chelsea for 26 years from 1907 to 1933, where he oversaw 966 matches. For comparison, the top modern-day Premier League managers that competed with a similar tenure are Sir Alex Ferguson, who managed Manchester United for 27 years (1986– 2013) and Arsene Wenger, who managed Arsenal for 22 years (1996–2018).
5. Chelsea appointed three player-managers in a row.
While Chelsea’s manager list spans more than 30 interim and permanent managers, four served as player-managers, splitting their time playing on the pitch and managing on the sideline. John Tait Robertson was the first-ever player-manager at the club’s inception. The other three, Glenn Hoddle, Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli, were appointed consecutively.
Gianluca Vialli was the last full-time player-manager in all of the Premier League, retiring in 1999. However, some players have taken the manager position for short-term stints since then.
6. Chelsea is a part of the UEFA “clean sweep” club.
The Blues were one of five clubs to have a full set of winners' medals from the top four UEFA competitions – the Champions League, Europa League, Cup Winners’ Cup and Super Cup. And Chelsea were the first from England! We also were the first club ever to hold both the Champions League and Europa League at the same time, albeit for 10 days, following our successes in 2012 and 2013.
7. Frank Lampard is the Premier League’s top-scoring midfielder of all time.
Current Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is the only midfielder to have scored 150 or more goals in the Premier League with 177 goals in 609 appearances. He also is fourth in all-time assists with 102.