What Did Chelsea Win in 90S?

In English football, only a handful of clubs can claim to have attained the same level of success as Chelsea FC. This is because the Blues have won almost every major title in both domestic and international football at least once in their near 120-year existence. Their trophy chest boasts multiple English Premier League titles, FA Cups, FA Community Shields, League Cups, and the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, Super Cup, and Cup Winners’ Cup trophies. Unlike the majority of their successful peers, most of the club’s honors were won in the 21st century (beginning from the year 2000) making their achievements all the more impressive.

What did Chelsea win in the 90s? In the 90s, Chelsea won five major trophies. They are the Full Members’ Cup (1989/90), the FA Cup (1996/97), the Football League Cup (1997/98), the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (1997/98), and the UEFA Super Cup (1998).

Early Mixed Fortunes

After its formation in March 1905, Chelsea hit the ground running and secured a spot in the top flight of the now-defunct Football League after its second season. Since it was a little late to the party as compared to some of the other clubs, the west Londoners struggled to stay afloat and were relegated to the Second Division on more than one occasion.

Then former Pensioners nevertheless kept fighting to regain their footing and had a pair of silver linings in their otherwise dark cloud when they reached the FA Cup Final in 1915 and finished as second runners-up in the race for the First Division title half a decade later.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that Chelsea had their first taste of success when they clinched their maiden First Division in their 1954/55 campaign. The club continued its stay in the top flight albeit with underwhelming results until former manager Tommy Docherty took charge of the club in 1961.

Docherty rebuilt Chelsea’s squad and the club became a perennial contender for the league’s top prizes throughout the 1960s, eventually capturing the League Cup in their 1964/65 season. Docherty continued to build on their success but constantly fell short of the mark.

The tactician was then succeeded by Dave Sexton, under whose guidance the club won the 1970 FA Cup and their first-ever European title – the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup – the very next year. The club appeared to have finally found its stride heading into the decade – a period that eventually turned out to be the calm before the proverbial storm.

Financial Woes

Looking to expand the club’s holdings, Chelsea’s ownership embarked on an ill-timed endeavor to modernize Stamford Bridge that all but bankrupted the club forcing it to sell its star players – a development that led to the club’s relegation from the top flight.

Adding to its woes was a section of rowdy supporters who caused the club problems with both the authorities and the league’s governing body, the Football Association (FA). By the early 80s, the club was a shell of its former self and was at great risk of being wound up were it not for the intervention of former chairman Ken Bates who acquired the club for £1.

Under Bates’ leadership and the sense of financial stability that came with it, the club slowly but surely climbed up the ranks of the Second Division and won promotion back to the First Division ahead of their 1984-85 campaign. The club was relegated for a final time in 1988 but fought its way back to the top tier the next season.

A Shift in the Tides

Following their then immediate promotion back to the First Division, former manager Bobby Campbell rallied his troops to finish fifth in the league standings and to their first piece of silverware – the Full Members’ Cup – after beating former top-flight side Middlesbrough 1-0 in the final at the Wembley Stadium in March 1990.

The club then hit a slump and failed to thrive under three of Campbell’s successors (Ian Porterfield, David Webb, and Glenn Hoddle before striking gold by handing the reigns over to Ruud Gullit – then a decorated player who had led Serie A juggernauts to three league titles and two European Cups.

Gullit initially moved to Stamford Bridge as a player on a free transfer in mid-1995 but transitioned to the role of player-manager by 1996 after then immediate former chief Glenn Hoddle left for the England national team. Gullit had a dream start to what was to be a brief managerial career by leading the Blue past then league rivals Middlesbrough to win the FA Cup in May 1997.

European Success

After rumored disagreements with the club’s management, Gullit was fired in mid-February 1998 in favor of former striker Gianluca Vialli, who was also appointed as player-manager. The Italian was fortunate to inherit a formidable squad from Gullit that had the likes of fellow countryman Gianfranco Zola, ex-Wales ace Mark Hughes and former Norway marksman Tore André Flo.

Vialli built upon Gullit’s success, who had guided the blues to the semi-finals of that season’s edition of League Cup as well as the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup, and led the Blues to win both.

Chelsea first beat Middlesbrough 2-0 in the League Cup final in March 1998 thanks to goals from Frank Sinclair and then-future manager Roberto Di Matteo in extra time. The match was particularly technical as the two clubs knew each other’s style of play having clashed severally over their previous campaigns.

The five-time English Premier League champions then went on to beat German side VfB Stuttgart 1-0 to clinch the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup just two months later at the Råsunda Stadium in Stockholm.

Their UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup victory set them on a collision course with that season’s UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid, whom they met at the Stade Louis II in Monaco in August 1998.

Both clubs put up a valiant effort and appeared evenly matched and set for a goalless draw. The Blues however broke the deadlock in the 83rd minute thanks to some creative play and a nifty pass from former midfield maestro Gianfranco Zola that found fellow midfielder Gus Goyet, who netted the match’s only goal.

Many football historians believe that the 90s laid the necessary groundwork that ultimately led to Chelsea’s resurgence in the 2000s onwards. It is hard to argue with this assertion as the club has since accumulated a remarkable trophy haul that has established it as one of the most successful clubs in not only England and Europe but also the world.


I started watching football in the early 90s and was hooked. I fell in love with Chelsea and have supported them ever since.

Recent Posts