Chelsea 1905 - 1971

Last updated : 30 November 2001 By
Despite attempts by Great Western Railway to buy the site Mears got together with Frederick Parker with the idea of developing a major sporting venue.

Chelsea F.C. was formed in 1905, and after being rejected by the Southern League, gained immediate admission to the Second Division of the Football League.

The ground owned by a well known building contractor Gus Mears. Nine years previously Gus and his brother had bought the Stanford Bridge Athletic ground and an adjoining market garden with the aim of constructing a major football stadium on the site.

The ground was offered to Fulham at £1,500 p.a. rent but Fulham refused it because the rent was too high.
In May 1905 the Chelsea Football and Athletic Company was established. A large squad of players was assembled, including the legendary 22 stone goalkeeper Willie Foulke.

The ground was England's second largest venue after Crystal Palace. These facts alongside some judicious twisting saw Chelsea elected to the Football League. They had previously failed to be elected to the Southern League after objections from Tottenham and Fulham.

The clubs' first league match was away to Stockport County on the 2nd September 1905. The 1906 season saw Chelsea win promotion to the First Division.

In 1928, Chelsea and Arsenal were the first clubs to introduce shirt numbers for a League game.

The clubs' first major honour came in 1955 when they won the League Championship.

In 1957, Chelsea became the first English club to travel to a League match by air - away to Newcastle United. 1965 saw Chelsea winning the League Cup and reach the F. A. Cup Final in 1967 (losing 1-2 to Tottenham H.)

They finally won the Cup in 1970 beating Leeds United in a replay at Old Trafford. 1971 saw them win the European Cup Winners Cup - again after a replay.