Chelsea FC: The Stamford Bridge Story In Photos
CHELSEA have played at Stamford Bridge ever since 1905, the year after “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”.
Chelsea director HA ‘Gus’ Mears
Right, you’re in goal. ‘Fatty’.
Chelsea team group in the goal at Stamford Bridge. Left to right; James Watson, Bobby McRoberts, George Key, Jimmy Windridge, Mackie, goalkeeper William “Fatty” Foulke (Captain), David Copeland, Jack Robertson, Bob McEwan, Martin Moran and Jack Kirwan.
Football League Division Two – Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion
General view of Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea, during the match
Before the football club moved in, The Bridge had ever since its birth on April 28 1877 been the home of the London Athletic Club.
The Bridge continued to stage athletics events for years.
John Rinkel of Britain passes the baton to teammate Roger Leigh-Wood while American Taylor passes the baton to Raymond Barbuti during a meet between the U.S. and British Olympic relay teams at Stamford Bridge, England August 20, 1928. The U.S. team won the relay, setting the one-mile mark of 3 minutes, 13 2/5 seconds.
Archibald Leitch’s ground has one stand, a 120 yard long stand on the East side which could hold 5000 spectators. The rest was open. After the 100,000 capacity Crystal Palace ground, it was the second largest stadium in London.
FA Charity Shield Replay – Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers – Stamford Bridge
Manchester United on the attack. Date: 29/08/1908
Initially the stadium was offered to Fulham FC to play there, they turned down the chance and so instead a new side, Chelsea Football Club, was born in 1905 and moved into the new Stamford Bridge stadium.
The Brigde became an international venue.
Home International Championship – England v Scotland – Stamford Bridge
A general view of the huge crowd at Stamford Bridge for the England v Scotland Home International match. England won 1-0, with Harry Hampton the scorer. Date: 05/04/1913
Many foreign champions competed in the British Games at Stamford Bridge, London, when a great triangular match was staged between the famous Achilles Club of London; the Berliner and Deutscher Sports Club of Germany; and the Stade Francais of France
It was good backdrop for the toffs.
British Royal Family – Prince Albert – 1920
Prince Albert attends the Civil Service Annual Athletic Sports at Stamford Bridge. The Prince poses for his photograph on the athletics field at Stamford Bridge. Date: 19/06/1920
It was fun for all the family.
League Division One – Chelsea v Newcastle United – Stamford Bridge
A young girl presents singer Gracie Fields with a bouquet of flowers at Stamford Bridge before the start of the match.Date: 24/09/1932
Soccer – Football League Division One – Chelsea v Arsenal
A section of the huge 82,000 crowd at Stamford Bridge
The way in.
After the war, there was hunger for football.
The start of the Football season in 1946. League football started for the first time in seven years, and it attracted large crowds. Here spectators are gathered outside Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground where Bolton Wanderers are the visitors in the First Division.
Soccer – Football League Division One – Chelsea v Arsenal – Stamford Bridge
A young fan is passed over the heads of the crowd to a better viewing position at the front of the terrace
Inside the tactics room.
Chelsea manager Billy Birrell gives a tactical talk to some of his players
Members of the Chelsea team stretch while holding a 125lbs tree log during training.
Players practice heading the ball
That hunger waned.
Charlton Athletic V Chelsea – Stamford Bridge
Part of the ‘crowd’ watching the match at Stamford Bridge. Date: 22/02/1956
But The Bridge remained a venue of choice for England.
Soccer – International Friendly – England v Spain – England Practice Session – Bridge
Tom Finney, left, with Nat Lofthouse at Stamford Bridge during an England training session.
Soccer – Home International Championship – England v Scotland – England Practice – Stamford Bridge
England, who will be playing before a crowd of 100,000 people, had just three small boys watching them train.Date: 07/04/1959
Try and get on the pitch today. Dare you.
Soccer – Football League Division One – Chelsea v Nottingham Forest – Stamford Bridge
Chelsea’s Jimmy Greaves is chaired off the pitch by fans after scoring four goals on his last appearance for the club
When you were stood on the huge earth bank, when it rained, you got wet.
Soccer – League Division One – Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur – Stamford Bridge. A section of the Chelsea crowd
Tottenham won 3-0Date: 21/09/1963
Soccer – Friendly – England v Belgium – England Training – Stamford Bridge
England’s Terry Venables practises his splits in preparation for the game against Belgium.
Jack (left) and Bobby Charlton (right), England, take a break in training at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea.
Soccer – England Players Jack (left) and Bobby Charlton
That track kept the action at a distance.
Soccer – Football League Division One – Chelsea
(L-R) New Chelsea manager Dave Sexton stands on the Stamford Bridge terraces with Chairman Charles Pratt
Soccer – FA Cup – Sixth Round – Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion – Stamford Bridge
Alan Birchenall, Chelsea
Plans were afoot. The ground was no longer fit for purpose.
(L-R) Roger Bannister, Chelsea chairman Brian Mears, Chelsea manager Dave Sexton and architect John Darbourne examine a model of the proposed new developments at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge home, whilst demolition of the old stands continues in the background
It would be magnificent.
An architect’s model of the proposed development of Stamford Bridge
Were the changing rooms that bad?
Soccer – League Cup – Semi Final – 1st Leg – Chelsea v Norwich City – Stamford Bridge
Chelsea manager Dave Sexton gives his players a half-time pep talk on the pitch sidelines, with team captain Eddie McCreadie, extreme right, listening intently. Despite their endeavors, Chelsea lost 2-0 to Norwich City in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final.
Soccer – Football League Division One – Chelsea v Leeds United – Stamford Bridge
(L-R) Chelsea’s Eddie McCreadie, Peter Bonetti, Peter Osgood, Charlie Cooke and Alan Hudson walk out for the opening match of the season Date: 12/08/1972
Chelsea’s new East Stand begins to take shape
Soccer – Football League Division One – Chelsea v Carlisle United – Stamford Bridge
General view of the East Stand at Stamford Bridge. Date: 17/08/1974
And yet the other sides were open to the elements – some challenging ones.
Manager of Crystal Palace Football Club Malcolm Allison wearing a hat, indicates his team’s three goals to the fans at Stamford Bridge, London on Feb 15, 1976. Palace beat Chelsea 3-2 in the FA Cup match. (AP Photo/Peter Kemp) Date: 15/02/1976
The Shed end remained in situ.
Chelsea’s £3m East Stand sits somewhat incongruously next to The Shed
Before Henry and the banking crowd moved in, it was rough in there.
Fighting spectators before the start of Chelsea’s League Division Two promotion battle against Millwall at Stamford Bridge.
The place was a mess.
General view of Stamford Bridge, home to Chelsea
There was fisticuffs.
Rioting Tottenham Hotspur fans tear down a section of iron railings in a bid to reach the Chelsea supporters before a Division One game at London’s Stamford Bridge ground.
Anything was better than the football.
Cricket – Essex v West Indies – Day-Night Floodlit Match – Stamford Bridge
Desmond Haynes (l) and Gordon Greenidge (r) of the West Indies walk out to the crease. The floodlit cricket match at Chelsea Football Club’s ground, Stamford Bridge, was the first in England, as pioneered by the Packer Circus in Australia. The batsmen wear dark pads and gloves and the bowlers use a white ball.
Ref #: PA.4836613
The fans were caged.
Soccer – Barclay’s League Division One – Promotion/Relegation Play Offs – Final Second Leg – Chelsea v Middlesbrough – Stamford Bridge Chelsea fans hurl abuse at police officers after seeing their side relegated to Division Two. Date: 28/05/1988
It got better. It had to.
Chelsea chairman, Ken Bates, indicating the controversial anti-hooligan 12-volt electric wire on top of the 12ft high fence screening spectators from the pitch at Stamford Bridge football ground when it went on public show for the first time.
In 1997, the once fearsome Shed looked like any other number of stands. It was now all seater.
Money was spent on making a ‘Village’.
The Chelsea Village Hotel, part of the Chelsea Village Complex at Stamford Bridge.Date: 17/09/1998
And then it went family friendly again.
Valentine’s Day came early for a Chelsea-mad football fan whose girlfriend marked his first ever visit to Stamford Bridge by proposing to him in front of 30,000 fans. Amanda Kirk, 22, popped the question on the club’s giant scoreboard. * 30-year-old Michael Evans said Yes as soon as he had got over the shock. For design engineer Mr Evans it was a triply special day. It was his first ever match at the home of the Blues, despite being a lifelong fan.Then came Amanda’s half time proposal. And to top it all, his beloved team ran out 3-1 winners over London rivals Wimbledon. Mr Evans and Miss Kirk travelled to London with his daughter Leanne from their parents’ homes in South Wales.
And then the really big money arrived.