Chelsea Football Club were founded 102 years ago in 1905, however their main successes have come in the past 2-3 years. Chelsea used to be a top ten team that occasionally challenged for Europe; after Abramovich bought out the club in a massive £140 million swoop their fans have seen them win the league twice, as well as have some of the best players in the world playing for them. The club has been known as 'the Blues' because of their dark blue kit; while in recent years kit sales have increased tremendously because of their success.
Chelsea are currently one of the best supported clubs in England, with more than four million fans residing in the United Kingdom and millions more living worldwide. After the arrival of Abramovich and the star players they brought in, the amount of fans they had as well as the amount of trophies in the cupboard increased tremendously. Chelsea have been one of the most successful clubs in England in this millennium, and have seen a number of changes happen- both on and off the pitch.
For their home kit, Chelsea have generally stuck to blue, although they did use a lighter blue kit (similar to Manchester City's current one) when they first started out. The light blue kit was replaced by a darker one in 1912 and those colours have been retained till today. While they started off with white shorts, in 1960 then-manager Tommy Docherty changed the colour of the shorts to dark blue (same as the top) and the colour of the socks to white. The club is now sponsored by electronic giants Samsung; before that however they had been sponsored by a variety of companies ranging from computer manufacturer Commodore International to Coors beer. Before their change to Samsung, they were sponsored by Emirates, the airline which now sponsors neighbours Arsenal.
Chelsea's away kit has typically consisted of yellow or white shirts; however they have had a few gems in the past as well. The club had a red and white checkered shirt during the early 1990s and had also worn a style similar to Inter Milan's current home shirt (blue and black strips) during the 1960s. This season, they decided to use an 'electric yellow' shirt that glows in the dark; a very similar look to what Barcelona wore two seasons ago. For 2007/08 the club decided to use a newer third kit; an all white strip with blue trim- this will be used during Champions League away games, as well as in the unlikely event where both their home and away kits clash with an opponent.
In the last few years, some of Chelsea's most popular players have been striker Didier Drogba and midfielder Frank Lampard, as well as captain John Terry. These three alone have been responsible for thousands of shirt sales; while wannabe goalkeepers also model themselves after Chelsea's Petr Cech. While Chelsea are currently in turmoil after the departure of Portuguese manager Jose Mouinho and the likes of Drogba hinting at a possible transfer to another club, owner Roman Abramovich's millions will mean that as long as he is around, the crowd will be able to watch those amongst the best in the world playing at Stamford Bridge- with a move for Valencia's David Villa being mooted.
Chelsea Football Club are growing in stature- board member Peter Kenyon spoke about how the club were aiming to become the biggest in the world by 2015, while they have also hinted at trying to become self sufficient by 2010. If Chelsea keep up the level of success they have had in the past few years, and if a few of the players they have been linked with join them (Ronaldinho, Kaka and Villa are amongst the most frequent names) then that feat may well be possible.