Chelsea F.C. have gone through five distinct crest designs in their 112 years as a professional football club to date; strangely none featured on player shirts until 1960. The first crest was introduced with the club’s establishment in 1905, featuring a famous Chelsea Pensioner which gave rise to their early nickname. Viewing this tagline as an embarrassment, former-star player-turned coach Ted Drake instigated a redesign in 1952. This new logo was based on club’s initials intertwined cipher-style, helping establish The Blues nickname.
The 1953-54 season saw a new crest inspired by the civic coat of arms of the London borough the club resided in. Notable for the heraldic lion, this crest is the one most readily identified with Chelsea and became the first to adorn a club shirt in 1960. The complex design did, however, result in simpler variations being used on successive shirts. The growing popularity of football and the merchandising opportunities this gave rise to saw a new crest based around the club’s initials and a more realistic lion established in 1986. Representative of the divisive Ken Bates era, this crest was unpopular and was replaced with a design redolent of the classic Chelsea F.C. crest ahead of the club’s centenary year. It remains in place to this day.
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Written by Tony Poland