One of the biggest games in European football will be played in Kingston, after Chelsea Ladies were drawn on Friday to play Montpellier at Kingsmeadow in their Champions’ League quarter-final.

Chelsea, who are currently second in the Women’s Super League behind Manchester City, have never made it this far in the competition before and will play their two-legged tie against the French outfit in the final weeks of March 2018.

A 4-0 aggregate victory over Rosengard in the Last 16 sent Chelsea through to the final eight of the competition, to face a Montpellier team who overcame Italian side Brescia 9-2 on aggregate to set up the tie.

The London-based club are now firmly established as one of the best sides in England and possibly even Europe, but they have come incredibly far very quickly to reach where they are now.

A Chelsea women’s team was formed in 1992 but began in the Southern Division, and for a number of years could not gain promotion to the newly-formed Women’s Football Association National League.

However, in 2004 Chelsea Ladies were taken over by Chelsea FC’s Football in The Community department. This led to larger funds being dedicated to the Ladies’ side, and was a huge step in the right direction.

The following year, Chelsea won the Southern Division by nine points, comfortably gaining promotion to the National League and finally getting the chance to compete with England’s elite.

Things did not go to plan in their first season in the top division though, as they managed just a single point from their first 18 and went on to finish at the foot of the table. However, a play-off victory over two legs against Northern Division runners-up Liverpool meant that Chelsea could maintain their place in the National League for another season.

This was the moment things began to turn around for Chelsea, who became an established member of the top division of English women’s football. They had their application for the newly-formed Women’s Super League accepted in 2010, and had a period of consolidation if not inspiration, before FA Cup final defeat at the hands of Birmingham City on penalties in 2012 led to the resignation of manager Matt Beard.

His replacement, current manager Emma Hayes, has taken Chelsea from strength to strength in her time in the job, leading the club to two WSL1 titles and two runners-up finishes in the last four seasons.

After Liverpool agonizingly beat The Blues to the title on the final day of the 2014 season by merely goal difference, Hayes and her squad were spurred on for the next campaign. And it proved to be their best yet.

They reached their second FA Cup final in the 2015 campaign, this time defeating Notts County by a goal to nil, a Ji So-Yun strike in the first half enough to see Chelsea win their first piece of major silverware in their club history.

But 2015 had more in store for Hayes’s side, who, after an emphatic 4-0 win against Sunderland on the final day, were crowned champions of Women’s Super League 1 for the first time, finishing two points ahead of Manchester City.

The following season City won the title comfortably with Chelsea having to settle for second, but The Blues got back at their title rivals, winning the Spring Season earlier this year. This was a one-off competition lasting from 22 April to 3 June, bridging the gap between the old summer league and the more traditional winter one. And Chelsea won 2-0 at Birmingham City to clinch the title, beating Manchester City by goal difference.

There was more exciting news for the club as it was announced in May that they would be relocating to Kingsmeadow, to ground share with Kingston-based League One club AFC Wimbledon. Their new venue provides better facilities than their former home Wheatsheaf Park of Staines Town, and there is also already a fanbase in and around Kingston.

Chelsea FC chairman Bruce Buck said at the time: “Kingsmeadow will provide a perfect base for our Ladies team. By locating ourselves in Kingston, the club is committing itself to an area of concentrated Chelsea support and we can look forward to an exciting future in the borough.”

Manager Hayes also noted: “We have had a wonderful five years at Staines, they have been excellent hosts, and now we are immensely excited about what we can achieve in the coming years.”

Chelsea currently lie in second position of WSL1, two points behind Manchester City. However, Chelsea host City in their next league match on December 10th, which could be a crucial game in the title race.

But the thing which has captured the imaginations of Chelsea fans the most this season so far is their side’s successes in the Champions’ League, having overcome Bayern Munich and Rosengard to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final tie with Montpellier, who were runners-up in France’s Division 1 Féminine in 2016-17.

How far Chelsea will go in this season’s Champions’ League remains to be seen, but what is for certain is that Chelsea history will be made in Kingston.