In 1896, Henry Augustus "Gus" Mears, football enthusiast and businessman, along with his brother, Joseph Mears, purchased the Stamford Bridge Athletics Ground in Fulham, West London, with the intention of staging first-class football matches there, though they had to wait until 1904 to buy the freehold, when the previous owner died. They failed to persuade Fulham Football Club to adopt the ground as their home after a dispute over the rent, so Mears considered selling to the Great Western Railway Company, who wanted to use the land as a coal-dumping yard. Mears' colleague Fred Parker was trying unsuccessfully to dissuade him. Parker later recounted what happened next: “Feeling sad that the old ground would be no more, I walked slowly by his [Mears'] side when his dog, coming up from behind unobserved, bit me so severely through my cycling stockings as to draw blood freely. On telling the owner "Your damned dog has bitten me, look!" and showing him the blood, instead of expressing concern he casually observed, "Scotch terrier; always bites before he speaks." The utter absurdity of the remark struck me as so genuinely funny that although hopping about on one foot and feeling blood trickling down, I had to laugh heartily and tell him he was the "coolest fish" I'd ever met. A minute later he surprised me by slapping me on the shoulder and saying, "You took that bite damned well, most men would have kicked up hell about it. Look here, I'll stand on you; never mind the others. Go to the chemists and get that bite seen to and meet me here at nine tomorrow morning and we'll get busy".” Thus on a whim, Mears changed his mind and decided to take Parker's advice to instead found his own football club to occupy Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea Football Club were founded on 10 March 1905 at The Rising Sun pub, (now The Butcher's Hook) opposite today's main entrance to the ground on the Fulham Road. Since there was already a team named Fulham in the borough, the name of the adjacent borough, the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea, was settled on after London FC, Kensington FC and Stamford Bridge FC had been rejected. Blue shirts were adopted by Mears, after the racing colors of Lord Chelsea, along with white shorts and dark blue socks. Chelsea initially considering joining the Southern League, but were rejected following objections from Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur, so they instead applied for admission to the Football League. Their candidacy was endorsed at the Football League AGM on 29 May 1905; a speech by Parker was particularly important, emphasising the new club's financial stability, its impressive new stadium and marquee players such as William "Fatty" Foulke, the 22 stone goalkeeper who had won a league title and two FA Cups with Sheffield United.
Chelsea have had four main crests, which all underwent minor variations. The first, adopted when the club was founded, was the image of a Chelsea pensioner, the army veterans who reside at the nearby Royal Hospital Chelsea. This contributed to the club's original "pensioner" nickname, and remained for the next half-century, though it never appeared on the shirts. In 1953, the club crest was changed to an upright blue lion looking backwards and holding a staff. It was based on elements in the coat of arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea with the "lion rampant regardant" taken from the arms of then club president Viscount Chelsea and the staff from the Abbots of Westminster, former Lords of the Manor of Chelsea. It also featured three red roses, to represent England, and two footballs. This was the first Chelsea crest to appear on the shirts, in the early 1960s. In 1986, with Ken Bates now owner of the club, Chelsea's crest was changed again as part of another attempt to modernise and because the old rampant lion badge could not be trademarked. The new badge featured a more naturalistic non-heraldic lion, in white and not blue, standing over the C.F.C. initials. This lasted for the next 19 years, with some modifications combined with demands from fans for the popular 1950s badge to be restored, it was decided that the crest should be changed again in 2005.
Chelsea have only had one home ground, Stamford Bridge, where they have played since the team's foundation. It was officially opened on 28 April 1877 and for the first 28 years of its existence it was used almost exclusively by the London Athletic Club as an arena for athletics meetings and not at all for football. In 1904 the ground was acquired by businessman Gus Mears and his brother Joseph, who had also purchased nearby land (formerly a large market garden) with the aim of staging football matches on the now 12.5 acre (51,000 m²) site. Stamford Bridge was designed for the Mears family by the noted football architect Archibald Leitch, who had also designed Ibrox, Craven Cottage and Hampden Park. Most football clubs were founded first, and then sought grounds in which to play, but Chelsea were founded for Stamford Bridge. Starting with an open bowl-like design and one covered terrace, Stamford Bridge had an original capacity of around 100,000. The early 1930s saw the construction of a terrace on the southern part of the ground with a roof that covered around one fifth of the stand. It eventually became known as the "Shed End", the home of Chelsea's most loyal and vocal supporters, particularly during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The exact origins of the name are unclear, but the fact that the roof looked like a corrugated iron shed roof played a part. In the early 1970s, the club's owners announced a modernisation of Stamford Bridge with plans for a state-of-the-art 50,000 all-seater stadium. Work began on the East Stand in 1972 but the project was beset with problems and was never completed; the cost brought the club close to bankruptcy, culminating in the freehold being sold to property developers. Following a long legal battle, it was not until the mid-1990s that Chelsea's future at the stadium was secured and renovation work resumed. The north, west and southern parts of the ground were converted into all-seater stands and moved closer to the pitch, a process completed by 2001.
When Stamford Bridge was redeveloped in the Bates era many additional features were added to the complex including two hotels, apartments, bars, restaurants, the Chelsea Megastore, and an interactive visitor attraction called Chelsea World of Sport. The intention was that these facilities would provide extra revenue to support the football side of the business, but they were less successful than hoped and before the Abramovich takeover in 2003 the debt taken on to finance them was a major burden on the club. Soon after the takeover a decision was taken to drop the "Chelsea Village" brand and refocus on Chelsea as a football club. However, the stadium is sometimes still referred to as part of "Chelsea Village" or "The Village". There is a Chelsea Disabled Supporters Association (CDSA). West Stand: accessible access is via Speedie or Spackman entrances, there is signage to these indicated accessible entrances. These two entrances are both level access with a ticket reader situated just inside the door, Stewards will also assist if required. West Stand Millennium Entrance: accessible access for hospitality areas is via double doors with level tiled floor access. Entrance is via ticket reader which are situated within the reception area, along with two lifts access. East stand (Family Stand): The accessible access is via the photographers and groundsman tunnel off the East stand road. There is a tarmac surface with a slope gradient of between four degrees and a maximum of seven degrees along the East Stand Road.
Matthew Harding Platform: The accessible access is via an entrance at the North East Corner. Entry is via presenting your ticket to a ticket reader outside. This is a steward controlled area with lift access. Personal assistance (PA) tickets are allocated next the wheelchair users. South Stand Away Visitors (Dickies Deck) Accessible access is via a block pavement slope (4 degrees). Spaces are on a raised platform and Personal assistance (PA) tickets are allocated in row directly in front of the raised platform for non- ambulant (wheelchair users). For ambulant supporters their personal assistant ticket is next to them. An additional allocation of non-ambulant Supporter tickets are situated on the back row of the Shed Lower, this allocation is not on an elevated position and the seats are located directly behind the away supporters. Seats directly in front of the additional allocation are netted off and Personal assistant (PA) seats are allocated next to the non-ambulant Supporter tickets. Visiting Wheelchair users and ambulant supporters tickets are all located with their own team’s supporters.
For Blind and partially sighted supporters they offer a complimentary ear piece for matchday commentary, which uses the Chelsea TV radio commentary feed. These are available from the ticket office window number 7, main reception Shed End (South Stand) or you can email email@example.com with your name , details of match you are attending and your seat details and we can have a steward deliver an eye piece to you on matchday. Click here for a full access guide to Stamford Bridge. There are Stadium Tours available. The fully guided one hour tour will take you behind the scenes at one of the world’s greatest football clubs, giving you access to areas normally reserved for players and officials. Along the way you will visit various stands in the stadium, the press room, home and away dressing rooms, the tunnel and dug-out areas. All tours include entry to the Museum, giving you the chance to see how Chelsea has evolved on and off the pitch to become one of the greatest football clubs in the world. They pride themselves on having guides who are both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the club and they believe it's their passion that makes the tours a truly memorable experience. The Museum is situated on the second floor with lift access. There are tour guides to assist once inside and audio guides are available. The Stadium Tour route is accessible with ramps provided and seating at regular intervals. Carers and Under 5's are Free.
Location : Chelsea Football Club, Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, London SW6 1HS
Transport: Fulham Broadway (District) 4 minute walk. River Boat : R86 to Chelsea Harbour. Bus Routes: 14, 211 and 414 stop at the stadium.
Capacity : 41,663.
Stadium Tours: Daily 09:30 to 16:30 (excluding matchdays)
Museum : Daily 09:30 to 17:00 (excluding matchdays)
Tickets Stadium Tour: Adults £19.00; Concessions £14.00; Children £13.00
Tickets Stadium Tour + Lunch: Adults £31.50; Concessions £26.50; Children £21.50
Tickets Legends Tour: Participant £70.00
Tickets Museum: Adults £11.00; Concessions £10.00; Children £9.00
Tel: 0871 402 2325