1954/55

Chelsea were crowned champions of England for the first time in our history at the end of the 1954/55 season, somewhat fittingly 50 years on from the club's formation in 1905.

Ted Drake, who had arrived at the club in 1952, led the team to the First Division title ahead of our nearest challengers Wolverhampton Wanderers, who finished four points behind.

Roy Bentley scored in a 1-1 draw away at Leicester City on the opening day of the season, before Burnley and Bolton were both beaten at Stamford Bridge.

September was a difficult month, with Drake's side losing at home to both Preston North End and Everton, while our fortunes failed to improve throughout October.

By November, the title appeared to be little more than a pipedream as we lay in 12th position, but there was a marked improvement in the second half of the campaign, with the goalscoring exploits of both Bentley and John McNichol ensuring our title assault remained firmly on course.

Frank Blunstone had proved himself to be an important acquisition since signing from Crewe Alexandra in 1953, and his guile and creativity on the left wing was a pivotal part of our success, while Stan Wicks, who had played under Drake at Reading, was solid and dependable at the back.

Twelve goals in three matches just before Christmas, against Portsmouth, Wolves and Aston Villa set the tone for what was to come, and a 5-2 win against Bolton on New Year's Day reaffirmed the belief in the camp.

Important victories against the likes of Newcastle, West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland followed, before McNichol scored twice in an eventful 4-2 win against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.

The pivotal fixture came on 9 April when Wolves were the visitors to west London. 75,000 packed into the stadium for what was a virtual title decider, and it took a Peter Sillett penalty to secure all three points for the Blues, ensuring we were in touching distance of the championship. There were some worrying moments before the vital spot-kick was awarded however. Everyone in the ground it seemed except the referee had seen England captain and Wolves centre-half Billy Wright punch a goal-bound Seamus O'Connell shot over the bar. But after the man in black had been persuaded to consult with his linesman, he punished the offence.

A 0-0 draw away at Portsmouth in our following fixture meant that all we required was a victory against Sheffield Wednesday at home to be crowned champions.

Given our impressive run of form in the build-up to the game the result was never really in doubt, and Chelsea ran out comfortable 3-0 winners thanks to another Sillett penalty and an Eric Parsons brace in front of 51,421.

Bentley finished as top scorer with an impressive 21 goals, while McNichol finished the campaign with a total of 14. Parsons eased the burden on the forwards by chipping in with 11 from out wide, while right-back Sillett scored six.

Derek Saunders and Eric Parsons were the players to feature in all 42 league games during the title-winning season.