It's about the journey

Let’s get context out of the way, shall we? It was never going to beat when Frank Lampard’s brace clinched our first championship for 50 years at Bolton.

And it would have been nice to finish with a flourish like when we retained the title after defeating Manchester United 3-0 at Stamford Bridge or when we thrashed Wigan 8-0 in 2010. Our coronation against Crystal Palace two years ago was less memorable, but at least it happened in front of our home crowd, right? And there was simply no more deserving match-winner than Eden Hazard.

Except Friday night’s tale of the unexpected hero was unbelievable. No one – aside from the man himself, we can be sure – would have dreamt of it all ending with the latest generation of Chelsea legends piling onto Michy Batshuayi after a 1-0 win at West Brom. Yet, somehow, amongst the bear hugs and the lip-biting, the chest bumps and the accidental swearing, the champagne and the shampoo, the Snapchat and the Instagram, it all made perfect sense.

Previous champions have devoted themselves to the destination rather than the journey. Not this Chelsea. Not under Antonio Conte. The Italian tactician, so skilled a micro-manager that even our celebrations looked choreographed, has taken the Blues on a nine-month journey of transformation to top any triumph of sheer supremacy. From a team wounded by our lowest points tally in 20 years, he formed a family whose ability and stability could be felt by everyone within the club. He shaped a squad capable of racking up 13 consecutive victories; a squad in which each player pitched in and each game was worth watching.

Our night at The Hawthorns will not go down as another Wembley or another Munich. That golden finale to the campaign can still come in the FA Cup final at the end of the month. Although it was a shame most Chelsea fans could not be there to revel in the Premier League victory, what would otherwise be the point of going to see us play Watford on Monday? Or Sunderland next Sunday when we finally lift our sixth top-flight trophy?

This was not the moment we had all fantasised about. Instead, it was a recognition of our journey back to glory, game by game, week by week: the completion of our comeback.

It was a tribute to the supporters who have travelled up and down the country this year to back the Blues, refusing to be downcast by the shadows of last season. It was a tribute to squad players like Batshuayi, undeterred by the strength of our first team, who put in the minutes in training for moments like that. Besides the masterclass in substitutions, it was a workman’s goal to match a workman’s performance (not that he didn’t deserve to milk it for all it’s worth). Surely now, Batshuayi has done enough to earn his first league start.

This was a victory for the unsung heroes. Remember, this is our first time winning the Premier League without Didier Drogba and Petr Cech, with John Terry carrying out an exemplary shift on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, it’s a first title in England for Pedro and the first in his career for Marcos Alonso, who have both subtly yielded so much. Our Player of the Season, N’Golo Kante, the first to win back-to-back Premier League trophies with different clubs, would make a silent assassin seem like The Terminator. And it’s a sixth Chelsea honour for our assistant first team coach, Steve Holland.

Thanks for everything, boys.

By Daniel Wittenberg, Chelsea fan.