Only 18 months ago Chelsea were revealed as the most hated club in the Premier League.
For a team associated with John Terry, Russian money and hooliganism – even the most disillusion Blues fan wouldn’t have been surprised to hear that.
With Frank Lamaprd at the helm and with a transfer ban, the club’s philosophy has changed… and so has the opinion of the public.
The survey, conducted by The Mirror in July 2018, asked fans from every Premier League club to list which teams they hated.
Chelsea were called out by 68.7% of fans, just beating Man United to top spot, who were hated by 68.1% of Premier League supporters.
Liverpool, Arsenal, West Ham and Spurs made up the rest of the ‘Big Six’ in the unpopularity contest.
But it was the Blues won the unwanted tag of being the top flight’s most disliked team.
Since Roman Abramovich bought the club back in 2003 Chelsea have had a habit of winning, losing and doing just about everything ugly.
Ugly in style with ‘park the bus’ and ‘boring boring Chelsea’ being sung at the men in Blue down the years.
They were ugly in tactics with John Terry, the master of stepping on toes, and Diego Costa, one of the biggest antagonists in Premier League history, doing nothing to help the reputation of the club.
And they were ugly in business, buying all the success with none of their undoubtedly talented homegrown players apart from Terry ever getting near the first team.
Chelsea’s success was built on bullying opponents – just mention Didier Drogba or Costa to an Arsenal fan and they’ll vouch for that.
They would often surround the referees, grind out results and win games through general sh*thousery.
It is easy to dislike the team for winning dirty but Chelsea’s issues off the pitch will have contributed just as much to their unpopularity.
Jose called Arsene Wenger a specialist in failure, Ashley Cole shot a kid on work experience and John Terry’s list of controversies are a little too long to list.
Even their golden boy, Eden Hazard, kicked a young ball boy in Swansea.
Chelsea and the word ‘classless’ have seemed to walk hand in hand over the years.
But all that appears to have changed.
Frank Lampard is a likeable manager who has installed a new approach to life in SW6.
Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount, and Tammy Abraham have taken the Premier League by storm this year and have joined Ross Barkley in the England squad making Chelsea the biggest providers to Gareth Southgate’s squad.
With Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi back fit and with Ruben Loftus-Cheek not far behind, this Chelsea team could soon become like the West Ham side of ’66 and be the core of the Three Lions for years to come.
Chelsea have been playing fast, exciting football with goals guaranteed when watching them this season.
A convincing 5-2 win at Wolves and a 4-1 victory at Southampton last time out has put Chelsea’s name right back in the hat for a top four finish after the 4-0 drubbing at Old Trafford on week one.
A lot were quick to write Lampard’s team off after the game in Manchester but he has got the young guns firing, winning their last four in all competitions, scoring 15 in those games.
This is uncharted territory for Chelsea, who currently sit in fifth in the League, with their new breed of hungry young academy players finding their feet far better than most expected.
With the villains of yesteryear now elsewhere, Chelsea are re-establishing themselves under a whole new image.
An image which far less than 68.7% of football fans hate.
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