The club's story starts with Gus Mears. In 1904, he purchased the Stamford Bridge ground in Fulham which was, to that point, the home of the London Athletics Club. Mears planned to redevelop the ground into a state-of-the art football facility, with the intent of hosting the area's existing local team, Fulham FC. But Fulham were not interested, so Mears decided to start his own club instead. Meeting at the pub across from the grounds entrance, he chose the name Chelsea after the neighboring borough.
The new club joined the Football League's Second Division that first year, then went on to win their first promotion two years later. They took their first major honor in 1955, winning the league. They added several other trophies through the latter part of the 20th century, including three FA Cups (1970, 1997, 2000), two League Cups (1965, 1998) and two Cup Winners' Cups (1971, 1998).
But their most successful period to date started with 2003-04 season after their acquisition by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. Since then, they have finished as league champions three times (2005, 2006, 2010) and runners-up four times (2004, 2007, 2008, 2011), with the only exception being a third-place finish in 2009. They've also won three more FA Cups (2007, 2009, 2010), two more League Cups (2005, 2007), and reached the Champions League final (2008).