The Chelsea Museum is open and now in its 15th year. To celebrate its birthday, here are 10 of our favourite items on display in the museum at Stamford Bridge.
The museum hosts a wide range of exhibits, covering some of the most important moments in our history, trophies from our greatest triumphs and personal items belonging to the biggest Blues heroes ever to pull on the Chelsea shirt.
In no particular order, here are some of our favourite things you can see on a trip to the Chelsea Museum. If you want to get a closer look at them and the many other pieces of Blues history you can find there, as well as the chance to see behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge, book yourself a Stadium Tour and Museum visit.
1905 founders’ document
It might seem strange to start this list on what is essentially a piece of paper, but this might be the most important exhibit in the whole museum. Without this document, there quite literally would be no Chelsea. This is contract that was signed by all of our founders in a room above the pub opposite Stamford Bridge – then known as the Rising Sun but now called the Butcher’s Hook – on 10 March 1905, agreeing to create a new football club to play at the stadium named Chelsea FC. Six months later the newly formed team were playing their first competitive match, soon followed by a first win on our debut at the Bridge. One hundred and fifteen years of history and all the success that came with it started with this one piece of paper.
Peter Osgood’s 1970 FA Cup final shirt
Chelsea’s 1970 vintage is still one of the most popular sides we have ever produced, combining style and success on the pitch with plenty of charm and personality off it, especially on the King’s Road near Stamford Bridge, which was the heart of the fashionable west London social scene at the time. Peter Osgood was the star man and symbolic figurehead of that team, oozing cool on and off the pitch, and there are few moments in Chelsea’s history as iconic as his diving header in the 1970 FA Cup final replay that helped us win that trophy for the first time. His shirt from the first game of that historic final against Leeds United at Wembley is now proudly on display in the museum.
Kerry Dixon’s Golden Boots
Only two people have scored more than Kerry Dixon’s 193 for Chelsea and he remains our all-time top scorer in the League Cup. The centre-forward provided the goals that propelled us from a precarious position near the bottom of Division Two back to the upper reaches of the top flight, setting records as he went. He remains the only person to have been the top scorer in three different English divisions in consecutive seasons, having done so with Reading in 1982/83, and then topped the charts again with Chelsea in our promotion campaign and first year in Division One. All three of the Golden Boot awards he received for those feats are on display in the museum, as well as a collection of Dixon’s England shirts and caps from his international career.
Gianfranco Zola’s boot
There has arguably never been a player as popular at Stamford Bridge as Gianfranco Zola. He possessed an abundance of skill and flair that made him a joy to watch, not to mention always having time for the fans, which when combined with the fact he was the nicest man most of them had ever met resulted in outright adoration. He even crossed that difficult line to be appreciated by our opponents, except maybe for Jamie Carragher, who is still probably dizzy from the way he was tormented by Zola on the Italian’s last appearance for the Blues against Liverpool. There was a lot of talent squeezed into those size five boots, and one he wore in his 300th game for Chelsea, against Blackburn Rovers in February 2003, is now in the museum.
John Terry’s 2004/05 captain's armbands
Chelsea won the Premier League for the first time in 2004/05 and no-one will forget the part our captain, leader, legend John Terry played in that historic victory – our first title of the Roman Abramovich era, signalling our rise to be one of the world’s biggest clubs. Earlier this year, Terry auctioned all the captain’s armbands and shirts he wore in the Premier League during that momentous campaign to raise funds for the NHS and Make-a-Wish Foundation, and 34 of them returned home to Stamford Bridge in the museum.
Frank Lampard’s boots from Bolton
That 2004/05 title triumph was famously sealed away at Bolton Wanderers, when two goals from Frank Lampard gave us a 2-0 win and ensured no-one could catch us at the top of the Premier League table with three games remaining. The very boots Lampard was wearing when he struck the ball into the net for two of the most important goals in Chelsea history, and two of the record 211 he scored during his Blues career, at the Reebok Stadium on 30 April 2005 are now given the prominence they deserve among the other items of historical significance in our museum.
Dennis Wise’s vest
Dennis Wise was undoubtedly one of Chelsea’s greatest captains of all time, using his combination of passion and cheeky humour to integrate an influx of foreign talent into a side of promising young locals in west London. The team spirit and united dressing room of that incredibly exciting Blues side is testament to the success of his unique approach the captaincy, which was demonstrated perfectly in our 1997 FA Cup semi-final against Wimbledon. At the end of the 3-0 victory he took off his shirt to reveal a vest with the words ‘Cheer up Luca we love you’ – a message to striker Gianluca Vialli who had been increasingly down about the amount of time he was spending on the substitutes' bench that season. That vest with its homemade message became part of Chelsea folklore and eventually found its way to the club museum. The fact we went on to win the FA Cup for the first time since 1970 that year makes the memories even sweeter.
1955 league title medal
Chelsea’s first moment of glory at the top level came in 1955, when we were crowned champions of England on the 50th anniversary of the club’s founding. That legendary side managed by Ted Drake and led by captain and powerhouse centre-forward Roy Bentley proved we were a club capable of winning the biggest prizes in football by claiming our first major trophy. The family of winger Eric Parsons loaned his winner’s medal from that title triumph to the club and it is now one of the museum’s most prized exhibits.
George Hilsdon’s England cap
It may not be a name too familiar to many fans but George Hilsdon was one of the greatest strikers in the history of Chelsea and English football. His bullet-like shots and prolific scoring earned him the nickname ‘Gatling Gun’ and he put that finishing to good use by becoming the first person to 100 goals for the Blues, or the Pensioners as were referred to in those days, and he netted 14 times in just eight appearances for England. It is the cap awarded to him for one of those international appearances, in a time when the players still actually wore them, that is proudly displayed in the museum, remembering the man who remains our ninth-highest scorer of all time.
UEFA Champions League trophy
Stamford Bridge is the only place in London you can see a Champions League trophy! Possibly the greatest moment in Chelsea history came on 19 May 2012, when we defeated Bayern Munich to lift the trophy and become champions of Europe for the first time – and the first team from the capital to achieve that feat. The Chelsea Museum has a dedicated display featuring a host of items from that incredible night in Munich, including shirts, boots, programmes, video footage and medals.