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Chelsea FC

When Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich invested in Chelsea football club in 2003 its turn around from the wrong end of the Premiership was swift. By 2004 Chelsea came in at an impressive second in the league, beating bitter rivals Arsenal and Manchester United and revisited its former glory days in 2005 by winning the Premiership title and the League Cup. The winning streak continued in the 2005/06 season when they were again crowned Premiership champions.

Three times FA Cup Winner Chelsea FC has a rich history that has seen it survive World War II and loyal fans have experienced life from the top and bottom of the premiership.

Chelsea’s home is the Stamford Bridge stadium [map]. Stamford Bridge officially opened on 28 April 1877. 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 for football at all. In 1904 the ownership of the ground changed hands when Mr H A (Gus) Mears and his brother, Mr J T Mears, obtained the deeds, having previously acquired additional land (formerly a large market garden) with the aim of establishing a football team there on the now 12.5 acre site.

Stamford Bridge was designed by Archibald Leitch and initially included a 120 yard long stand on the East side which could hold 5,000 spectators. The other sides were all open in a vast bowl with thousands of tons of material excavated from the building of the underground railway provided high terracing on the West side.

Initially the stadium was offered to Fulham FC to play there, they turned down the chance and so instead a new side, Chelsea FC, was born in 1905 and moved into the new Stamford Bridge stadium.

If you want to visit Stamford Bridge there are three types of tour available. Choose from the main Stadium Tour, the special occasional Legends Tour (with a Chelsea star of the past) and Stamford Tours (for the kids with the Chelsea mascot, Stamford the Lion).

Stadium Tours run most days of the year (except match days and other special events) and last 75 minutes. Advance booking is essential to avoid disappointment. “Legend” and “Stamford” tours only take place on specially advertised dates.

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