When Colin Hutchinson described Chelsea as a ‘Continental club playing its football in England’ he was talking about the 2001 model, but the suggestion would have chimed with supporters from many decades earlier. The comment came ahead of the appointment of another overseas coach, Claudio Ranieri. A fine team-builder without a great record of actual success, Ranieri lifted the Blues from sixth to second place in the top flight and reached a Champions League semi-final but, equally importantly, first saw the potential in Frank Lampard and John Terry.
The ‘Tinker Man’ lost the 2002 FA Cup final but succeeded in one of the most important matches in our history, against Liverpool on 11 May 2003, to secure a Champions League berth at a time of rising financial difficulties. That was crucial in convincing Russian businessman Roman Abramovich to buy Chelsea FC from Ken Bates on 1 July that year.
— Manager: 2000-04
— Manager: 2004-07
— Manager: 2007-08
Luiz Felipe Scolari
— Manager: 2008-09
— Manager: 2009
— Manager: 2009-11
He cleared all debt and made the biggest outlay on players in British history up to that point, including Premier League-based talents such as Joe Cole and Damien Duff, alongside proven stars who were perhaps under-appreciated elsewhere: Claude Makelele, Didier Drogba. Abramovich also lured over Porto’s all-conquering young manager, Jose Mourinho.
In his first season ‘the Special One’, as he had predicted, brought the league title to Stamford Bridge for the first time in 50 years, and followed it, remarkably, with a straight second win. The orchestra now had a world-class conductor and the symphony was awesome.
The club’s centenary year was celebrated with the return of the old rampant lion badge and a move from Umbro to adidas as kit suppliers. History was made in many other ways in a golden age on the Fulham Road, including the first FA Cup final win at the new Wembley and another league title – part of the club’s first Double, under new boss Carlo Ancelotti.
— Player: 2001-14
— Player: 2004-07
— Player: 2003-08
— Player: 2004-10
— Player: 1999-2009
Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink
— Player: 2000-2004
— Player: 2000-06
Europe continued, though, to tease. Close to a final appearance on three occasions, the Blues were just a post’s width away from winning an all-English Champions League final in Moscow 2008. There was more still to achieve for what was now a major force on the world stage of football.
Spirit Of The Age
On 30 December 2004 online community website Facebook registers its millionth user, confirming the world was ‘in a relationship’ with social media. When they were not poking, stalking and unfriending, people were tracking down old school pals to discover how little they now had in common.
BOLTON 0 CHELSEA 2
Chelsea took over the leadership of the Premier League on November 2004 and as the lead stretched to double figures it became a matter of trying to work out when, rather than if, the title could be won. READ MORE>>
LIVERPOOL 1 CHELSEA 3 / CHELSEA 4 LIVERPOOL 4
For the fifth year in succession our named was paired with Liverpool in the Champions League. This though was the first time we had played them. READ MORE>>
BARCELONA 2 CHELSEA 1 / CHELSEA 4 BARCELONA 2
Chelsea had played Barcelona twice before, but it was the 2005 Champions League meeting that saw the birth of one of the fiercest rivalries in European competition. READ MORE>>
CHELSEA 1 ASTON VILLA 0
After the excitement of three years previously, the 2000 FA Cup Final proved to be a tepid affair. READ MORE>>
CHELSEA 2 LIVERPOOL 1
Rarely has a single Chelsea game had as much financial significance as it had sporting. The final game of the 2002/03 season saw us up against Liverpool. READ MORE>>
LIVERPOOL 1 CHELSEA 1
By coincidence our first game of the 2003/04 season was also against Liverpool. Yet so much had happened since the Champions League play-off against the same opposition three months earlier. READ MORE>>
CHELSEA 1 ARSENAL 1 / ARSENAL 1 CHELSEA 2
Chelsea had not beaten Arsenal in 15 attempts going back over five years before the two clubs were drawn together in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2004. READ MORE>>
CHELSEA 3 LIVERPOOL 2
The team put together by Roman Abramovich’s money had not yet won trophy when it arrived at the Millennium Stadium for the 2005 Carling Cup final. READ MORE>>
CHELSEA 3 MANCHESTER UNITED 0
Chelsea’s had an 18-point lead at the top of the table after victory at West Brom at the beginning of March but this had been halved by the time that Manchester United visited Stamford Bridge on April 29. READ MORE>>
CHELSEA 2 ARSENAL 1
The Carling Cup Final of 2007 was billed as the battle between Arsenal’s promising youngsters and the more experienced Chelsea line up and it was the more youthful side that dominated early on taking the lead within 11 minutes. READ MORE>>
CHELSEA 1 MANCHESTER UNITED 0
Seven years after playing in the last FA Cup Final to be staged at the old Wembley we were back to contest the first at the newly redeveloped stadium. READ MORE>>
LIVERPOOL 1 CHELSEA 1 / CHELSEA 3 LIVERPOOL 2
Twice before we had lost a Champions League semi-final to Liverpool and the prospect of losing a third was unbearable. Crucially though, for the first time we were to play the second leg at Stamford Bridge. READ MORE>>
CHELSEA 1 MANCHESTER UNITED 1 (5-6 PENS)
Never before had a Chelsea Football Club fixture been as widely viewed as that of the 2008 Champions League Final, a game that was watched by millions around the world. READ MORE>>
CHELSEA 2 EVERTON 1
Chelsea were the favourites to win the 2009 FA Cup Final against Everton but had to deal with the considerable shock of falling behind after just 25 seconds. READ MORE>>
CHELSEA 8 WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
Going into the final weekend of the 2009/10 season, Chelsea’s only title rivals Manchester United were one point behind with a vastly inferior goal difference. READ MORE>>
CHELSEA 1 PORTSMOUTH 0
Just six days after the Premier League triumph was celebrated Chelsea needed to beat off the challenge of Portsmouth in the FA Cup final at Wembley in order to secure the club’s first Double. READ MORE>>