ICC: Focus on Chelsea
OL are set to play their seventh and final match of the preseason Tuesday night against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It will also be their farewell in the International Champions Cup, after debuting with a 3-2 win at Benfica, followed by a 1-0 defeat against Inter Milan in Lecce. A final tune-up ahead of the 2018-19 season against a first-rate opponent.
Founded on March 10, 1905 at The Rising Sun pub, now The Butcher's Hook, in the Fulham district of London, Chelsea Football Club came along later than the pioneering English clubs. The West London team, one of the youngest in the Premier League, almost never saw the light of day. In fact, it owes its creation to an old rival. In 1896, Gus Mears, an English businessman, decided to buy Stamford Bridge Stadium and wanted to have the district’s other club, Fulham FC, play there. But the Cottagers refused and pushed Mears to create his own team: Chelsea FC.
Chelsea's controversial formation and reputation as a club "made by and for money" don’t sit too well with some local fans. Despite winning trophies won along the way, including a league title in the mid-1950s, Chelsea lacked the same level of prestige given to other English clubs, such as Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool. True respect remained hard to come by despite the addition of more silverware: FA Cup (1970 and 1997), League Cup (1965 and 1998), Charity Shield (1955) and even in European, with the Cup Winners’ Cup (1971 and 1998) and UEFA Supercup (1998).
The Abramovich era
The dawn of the 21st century took Chelsea into another dimension. In 2003, the club was bought by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. The beginning of a new era. Since then, Chelsea, whose financial windfall was increased tenfold, attracted the best players on the continent. This was soon followed by the arrival of Jose Mourinho, then at the peak of his powers. This led to an unprecedented era of success for the Blues, who have since won six championship titles, six FA Cups, three League Cups and two Community Shields. European glory has also followed, with Chelsea winning the Champions League in 2012 and the Europa League the next year. Enough to put an end to a half century of rejection and launch Chelsea into the pantheon of British football.
XXI Century and beyond
Chelsea and OL have both turned a corner in the 21st century. It was with the arrival of the 2000s that the two clubs claimed a bigger stake in world football, enough to become points of reference in their respective countries and in Europe - thanks to the work of their presidents, Chelsea’s Abramovich and Jean-Michel Aulas of Lyon. During this century, the English club has won 18 of its 28 major titles, while OL has racked up 17 trophies. Both clubs have also written the most beautiful pages of their respective European histories during this period as well. And no doubt they’ll continue to do so with each passing year.