Chelsea Football Club has recently endured one of the most enervating and controversial periods on record since the London side formed 110 years ago. With Jose Mourinho now out of the picture, the Stamford Bridge faithful hold a faint optimism regarding the Blues’ potential to rebuild their season under Guus Hiddink.
The 2015-16 campaign has so far proved to be one of the most disastrous in the club’s entire history, let alone when measured up against the colossal expectations set by the investment of Roman Abramovich over the last 12 years.
In the wake of the Blues’ domestic and European heroics throughout the past decade or so, this season has given many supporters an unfriendly reminder of the agony that comes with supporting a struggling side. Indeed, younger Chelsea fans may have only ever known the club as a superpower of European football.
Chelsea and its supporters are riding out a seemingly endless wait for the manager and players to right the wrongs of this catastrophic season. However, even if the Londoners do salvage anything worthwhile from this campaign, there are plenty of other moments that will haunt the history books at Stamford Bridge for a long time yet. Here are the top 20 most embarrassing moments in Chelsea history.
20. John Terry Full Kit Celebrations
Despite a suspension rendering him ineligible to take the field in the 2012 Champions League final, John Terry simply couldn’t resist acting out the resulting celebrations as if he had played the entire 90 minutes. The prideful Chelsea skipper sat on the edge of his seat, waiting for the final whistle to swap his suit and tie for the full club kit — shin pads and all — just to lift the trophy alongside his exhausted, sweaty colleagues. Whether or not you agree that a man who’s given so much to his beloved club can celebrate however he sees fit, his antics in Munich are still worth a chuckle.
19. Diego Costa Returns From Preseason Overweight
One would think pocketing hundreds of thousands in weekly earnings would be enough to deter a player from surrendering peak physical condition during the off season. In the always curious case of Diego Costa, the Chelsea striker returned for the 2015-16 season looking out of sorts both in front of goal and the mirror. With only two goals in all competitions to his name by early October, Costa blamed his misfiring start to the campaign on a few extra kilos he added during the Blues’ post-season celebrations.
18. John Terry Private Cobham Tours
On paper, it sounds like a dream come true for Chelsea supporters, but John Terry offering private tours around the Blues’ state-of-the-art training facilities is a news story the former England captain will want you to forget. In December 2009, Terry allegedly accepted a cash sum of close to £10,000 as payment to escort a trio of undercover reporters on a behind-the-scenes tour of Cobham. Although the incident is reportedly caught on video, the defender has been cleared of any wrongdoing by both then manager Carlo Ancelotti and the London club.
17. Eva Carneiro and John Fearn Incident
Eva Carneiro must be one of the most famous medics ever to grace a football pitch, albeit for all the wrong reasons. In August 2015, the ex-Chelsea team doctor and physio John Fearn rushed on to the pitch to treat Eden Hazard during the Blues’ Premier League curtain raiser against Swansea City at Stamford Bridge. Then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was enraged by his medical team’s decision, which saw the home side temporarily reduced to nine men after Thibaut Courtois was dismissed earlier in the second half. The Portuguese reportedly unleashed a barrage of criticism at Carneiro, who failed to reappear on the touchline before she parted ways with the club in September 2015.
16. Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea
The first of many tumultuous weeks Jose Mourinho faced as Chelsea manager this season ended with a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Manchester City last August. Tasked with a trip to the Etihad while struggling to provide an explanation for his fallout with team doctor Eva Carneiro, the Special One found himself under the kind of pressure he would endure for the entirety of the 2015-16. He would’ve been hoping to steal three points from City and lift some of the weight on his shoulders, but it certainly didn’t go as planned. The Blues were overrun to the point of embarrassment, more so because of their own lack of desire than City producing a brilliant performance.
15. Chelsea 1-3 Southampton
Chelsea’s 1-3 loss to Southampton at Stamford Bridge not only marked a fourth league defeat in the opening eight games, but indicated the Blues were in for a seriously turbulent ride throughout the remainder of the 2015-16 season. Many expected a furious reaction from Jose Mourinho in his post-match interview and he certainly delivered — and then some. The Portuguese embarked on a seven-and-a-half minute tirade, which included an invitation for Roman Abramovich to sack him and an in-depth explanation of his conspiracy theory concerning referees not awarding penalties. It was a stunning performance, even for a man who often finds himself embroiled in controversy, but it’s hard not to feel the Chelsea boss could’ve taken the defeat more graciously.
14. Tottenham 5-3 Chelsea
Chelsea hadn’t lost to Tottenham Hotspur in 10 previous meetings between the two clubs, so it came as a nasty surprise when they succumbed to a 5-3 defeat at White Hart Lane on New Year’s Day in 2015. The Blues opened the scoring through Diego Costa after 18 minutes only to be met with a ferocious Spurs comeback that saw the home side snatch three goals in the last 15 minutes of the first half. Chelsea managed to sneak two consolation goals during the second period, but the result was already beyond doubt largely thanks to an in-form Harry Kane, who ended picking up two goals to take his tally for the season to 17.
13. Chelsea 2-4 Bradford City
Despite daring to make nine changes to his starting eleven, Jose Mourinho declared it would be a “disgrace” if his rotated Chelsea side allowed themselves to be knocked out of the FA Cup by lowly Bradford City. The Blues looked on course for a routine victory after going 2-0 up inside 38 minutes, but the Bantams responded just shy of the half-time whistle to keep the tie alive. It would prove to be the catalyst for a textbook cup upset as Bradford went on to fire another three goals past a shaken Chelsea team and run out 2-4 winners at Stamford Bridge.
12. Chelsea 1-2 Sunderland
A series of bizarre circumstances led to Jose Mourinho’s first-ever Premier League defeat at Stamford Bridge. While Connor Wickham cancelled out an early opener from Samuel Eto’o, it was an ex-Chelsea player, Fabio Borini, who tucked home the winning penalty in the 82nd minute to secure an epic result for the Black Cats. The dubious penalty decision sparked a seething reaction from Chelsea assistant Rui Faria, who had to be restrained by his colleagues as he attempted to approach referee Mike Dean.
11. Carlo Ancelotti Sacking
Chelsea fans don’t need reminding of the ruthless decisions their club owner is often criticised for making. Carlo Ancelotti’s dismissal in May 2011 was a particularly brutal parting of ways, even by Roman Abramovich’s standards. The Italian, who guided the Londoners to a Premier League and FA Cup double during the 2009-10 campaign, was given his marching orders outside the Goodison Park media suite shortly after the Blues’ final game of the season despite securing a second-place league finish and a spot in the last eight of the UEFA Champions League.
10. Chelsea Fans Sing Racist Song In Paris
It’s never fair to condemn an entire club due to the actions of a minority, but Chelsea certainly bore the brunt of some serious criticism in the wake of the Blues’ Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain in February of 2015. A group of Chelsea supporters were caught on video preventing a black man from boarding the Paris Métro while chanting the line: “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it” while en route to the Parc des Princes in the French capital. Even though Chelsea acted swiftly by issuing lifetime bans to those involved, the incident remains a nasty blight on the club’s recent history.
9. 2012-13 Champions League Title Defence
Even though Chelsea will be always be the first London club to win the UEFA Champions League, they will also forever be the first title holders to exit the tournament at the group stage the following season. It provides little consolation for such an embarrassing attempt to defend their 2012 title, but the Blues went on to become the only club in history to hold both the Champions League and Europa Leagues titles at once. Most Blues supporters are likely to argue the events of May 19th, 2012, will remain the most important in the club’s history, unless the Londoners manage to secure back-to-back titles in Europe’s premier competition in the coming years.
8. John Terry and Anton Ferdinand Incident
As the entires of this article have made abundantly clear, John Terry is no stranger to landing himself in hot water. However, it’s difficult to think of a more stressful period in his career than the aftermath of an altercation between himself and Anton Ferdinand, which allegedly involved a racial slur, during a match between the Blues and Queens Park Rangers in October 2011. Although he was absolved of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand by the Westminster magistrates’ court in July 2012, the Chelsea captain was slapped with a £220,000 fine and four-game ban by the Football Association — not to mention a severely damaged reputation.
7. John Terry and Wayne Bridge Feud
John Terry’s affair with Vanessa Perroncel, former girlfriend of Wayne Bridge, is unquestionably one of the more tasteless misdemeanours he’s committed during his otherwise illustrious on-field career. Terry and Perroncel reportedly began seeing each other soon after the French model split from Bridge and it’s believed she fell pregnant to the married Chelsea defender before undergoing a termination just months into the relationship. Terry, who was stripped of the England armband in the wake of the scandal, is now an easy target for opposition fans looking to cheer against Chelsea.
6. Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace
Having clinched their first Premier League win of the 2015-16 campaign the previous weekend, the Blues looked capable of honouring Jose Mourinho’s 100th game in charge of Chelsea with a win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and the Eagles claimed a shock victory thanks to an 81st minute winner from Joel Ward, just two minutes after Radamel Falcao equalized for the home side. Not only did the defeat spoil Mourinho’s milestone fixture, it condemned him to just the second home loss of his Chelsea career.
5. Chelsea 0-1 Bournemouth
Just when Chelsea looked as if they were stringing together a decent run of results following their disastrous title defence, Bournemouth came to Stamford Bridge and dealt a serious blow to the security of Jose Mourinho’s position. The 1-0 defeat was the Blues’ first at the hands of a promoted top-flight club in 43 home fixtures, adding yet another scarring record to their horrid 2015-16 season. The result also condemned to Mourinho to a loss in his last Premier League fixture in charge at the Bridge.
4. Chelsea Fans Ruin Hillsborough Anniversary
Any individual with half a brain recognises the Hillsborough disaster as one of the most sombre occasions acknowledged in world football. A minute’s silence is the least one can do to commemorate the lives of those lost during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest and yet some imbeciles somehow fail to pay their respects. In 2012, a group of Chelsea fans chanted “murderers” and booed and jeered to interrupt the planned moment’s silence prior to the Blues’ FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham at Wembley Stadium. The tasteless incident led to widespread condemnation from the entire football community, adding insult to injury for the mortified Blues.
3. John Terry’s Penalty Slip
With Manchester United on the ropes in a penalty shootout and John Terry stepping up to slot home the deciding kick, the 2008 Champions League final had all the makings of the perfect fairytale ending in the minds of Chelsea fans. When a consummate finish accompanied by resounding roar from the crowd failed to transpire, what came next instead left the Blues faithful with a horrific memory that would take years to heal. As Terry executed his run-up to what would’ve been the winner, he lost his footing on the slippery turf and saw his wild effort clip the right-hand post on its way wide. United would go on to emerge victorious, leaving the Chelsea skipper in tears and haunted by nightmares supposedly to this day.
2. Leicester City 2-1 Chelsea
A 2-1 defeat to table-topping Leicester City at the King Power Stadium would prove to be the last match Jose Mourinho would take charge in his second spell at Chelsea. The Blues produced a performance befitting of their miserable 2015-16 season: lethargic, tentative, apathetic, and outclassed all over the pitch, prompting Mourinho to accuse his players of “betraying” him. Just seven months prior to this fixture, Chelsea were crowned Premier League champions and it seemed unthinkable they could suffer nine defeats less than halfway through the following campaign. Mourinho’s role in the Blues’ downfall divides opinion among the Stamford Bridge faithful, but this fixture will forever mark the day Roman Abramovich deemed he was incapable of guiding the club forward.
1. Jose Mourinho Sacking
Only time will tell whether or not the Chelsea board has made the right decision by parting ways with Jose Mourinho for the second time in eight years. Although the Portuguese was the manager in charge of the Blues’ worst start to a league season in 37 years, many sections of the Stamford Bridge faithful have been crying out for stability on the touchline.
Mourinho lives and breathes Chelsea Football Club and the club owes a lot to him for all he has given over the course of his two spells in London. With a top four league finish all but out of reach, winning this season’s Champions League is the Blues’ most achievable route towards European qualification and if any manager can do it against the odds, it’s Mourinho.
Although there was a clear rift between him and certain members of the squad, the 52-year-old seems to have fallen victim to the club’s decision to opt for the more convenient solution of mercilessly firing one manager as opposed to selling off multiple players. There’s no telling how Chelsea fans will react should Mourinho join Manchester United and reclaim his place in the upper echelons of football management.
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