Thirty years of Chelsea Women: Titles, cups and caps
Thirty years of Chelsea Women: Titles, Cups, and Caps, we finish our look back at the early years as silverware and success arrived…
We told the story of a Chelsea Ladies team forming for the 1992/93 season, promotion in the early years, a Wembley showcase, and the push to make the national league structure in parts one and two. Now we’ll continue the story…
Significantly, the women’s team won their first piece of silverware since the 1970s in the 1998/99 season. We won the County Cup 2-1 over Reading Royals of the National League. Another sign of progress was Casey Stoney’s selection for England Under-18s, the team’s first ever England recognition.
However, the story remained the same when she was quickly taken by Arsenal.
Chelsea Ladies left the local leagues in 1999/00 to join a regional league, which now feeds directly into the top National League. It was an unprecedented season for the team, as they retained the County Cup, won the League Cup, and won the league title.
At halftime during a game at Stamford Bridge, the treble winners proudly displayed their trophies. We’d been promoted to the Women’s Premier League (Southern).
Extra funding came from the main club, which paid for a physio, a fitness coach, and a second main coach in our first year.
In fact, we dropped to fourth place. Siobhan Chamberlain, a young goalkeeper, made her England U19s debut.
The following season, Chelsea Ladies appeared to be treading water, and the squad was completely rebuilt under new manager George Michaelas, who was previously the youth coach.
Even though only one player remained from the treble-winning team, we were still competing for promotion to the top division against pro or semi-pro sides. We lost England goalkeeper Chamberlain to Fulham after losing future England captain Stoney, Williams, and highly rated Eartha Pond previously.
But change was in the air, and the women’s team was fully integrated as a financed part of Chelsea FC under the wing of our Football in the Community programme following Roman Abramovich’s purchase of the football club in the summer of 2003. There was no turning back from that point…
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