clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Know Your Premier League Enemies: The Oil Clubs

New, comments

To say that oil-funded clubs have changed the dynamics of the Premier League is to call the ocean "a bit wet." In this edition of Know Your Enemies, we look at the history of the clubs who have so drastically changed the competitive landscape in England and Europe.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Clive Mason/Getty Images

As Liverpool supporters, we might hate losing out to the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal, but losing to Manchester City and Chelsea leaves a different sort of bitter taste in our mouths.

Suddenly, we're the Beverly Hills snobs, trying to figure out what to do with these upstart Clampetts. We're trying to figure out how their house is bigger, their silverware newer, and calmly trying to explain, "No, Roman, we generally don't allow livestock in our swimming pools."

Chelsea F.C.

It is perhaps inaccurate to say that Chelsea have no history, but for a great deal of it they were just another topish-division English club, not one of the biggest clubs in the world.

The club was founded in 1905, and despite playing in Fulham, they named their club after the adjacent borough Chelsea. Some pesky thing about a club already named Fulham. They made Stamford Bridge their home, and have played there ever since. Chelsea has also always played in blue, though their first kits were a much paler shade. They switched to the royal blue that we know today in 1912, and started using their now classic blue shirts, blue shorts, and white socks combination in the 1960's.

Chelsea's crest has gone through several changes over the years. The most recent change came in 2005, when their stylized "C.F.C." crest was replaced with the standing lion holding a staff, surrounded by "Chelsea Football Club" on the outside border.

In their first 98 years, from 1905 to 2003, they claimed a sole top flight triumph (1954-55) and three FA Cups (1969-70, 1996-97, 1999-2000).

Although the club spent most of their history in the first division, they spent a great deal of it—19 seasons—in the second. While Liverpool were running rampant in Europe, Chelsea were bouncing between the top two divisions, spending stints in the lower tier from 1975-77, and 1979-84. Their last second division campaign came as recently as 1988-89.

In the last 12 years, however, they've racked up 4 league titles (2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10, 2014-15), 4 FA Cup wins (2006-07, 2008-08, 2009-10, 2011-12), and a Champions League victory (2011-12). Oh, I'm sorry, I wish I was finished, but I'm not; I've not yet included the relatively minor trophies they've won in the last dozen years. A year after their Champions League crowning, Chelsea won the Europa League. And just for kicks, they won the League Cup three times (2004-05, 2006-07, 2014-15).

Apparently new ownership (along with a bottomless pit of money) can change a club's fortunes quite quickly.

Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge for trick-or-treating and a football match on October 31, and then host the Blues on March 12.

Manchester City F.C.

Manchester City Football Club was founded in 1880 as St. Mark's (West Gorton), but took up their current moniker in 1894. Prior to their most recent ownership change, the club had quite the turbulent history, with 23 promotions and 22 relegations. As recently as 1998-99 Manchester City found themselves scrapping it out in England's third tier.

Manchester City's early history is shrouded in mystery, as early records are hard to come by. However, it seems that the club has worn their distinctive sky blue kits since at least 1892, though it is speculated that early kits were probably scarlet and black.

As was the case with Arsenal, Manchester City had trouble establishing a trademarkable crest, but finally achieved the feat with their most recent iteration in 1997. The eagle is a symbol of Manchester, the three diagonal stripes represent Addias the three rivers that flow through the city, and the stars are purely decorative. The crest also includes the refreshingly unironic latin phrase, "Superbia in Proelio" or "Pride in battle."

Like Chelsea, Manchester City enjoyed occasional triumphs before the infusion of oil money. The Citizens had two top-flight titles in 1936-37 and 1967-68, as well as four FA Cup victories in 1903-04, 1933-34, 1955-56, and 1968-69.

After the club was bought out by Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, the club has doubled their total number of top-flight titles--most frustratingly in 2013-14--and added another FA Cup triumph in 2010-11.

At this point, FSG either needs to double down on their "Reds going Green" initiative, or hope to strike oil under Fenway Park.

Liverpool make the short trip to Manchester on November 21, with the reverse fixture coming March 1.