On the morning of a visit to Carrow Road for the Blues, club historian Rick Glanvill rewinds almost 15 years to a significant victory in Norfolk, best remembered not only for the memorable action on the pitch but also the witty chanting in the stands...
Chelsea’s trip to Carrow Road on Saturday 5 March 2005 encapsulated the hunger and resolution of that first Premier League-winning squad as well as one of the joys of being a football supporter.
It came in the middle of a potentially troublesome period. Two weekends earlier a narrow loss at Newcastle had ended FA Cup hopes, while only a week ago the dramatic League Cup victory over Liverpool had delivered the first silverware of the José Mourinho era. Prior to that success the Londoners had lost 1-2 at Barcelona with Didier Drogba sent off, endangering Champions League progress, and the second leg at home was still to come three days after the visit to Norfolk.
A month before, during half-time of the home game against Manchester City, TV supercook Delia Smith had taken to the pitch for one of the iconic moments of the day: a plea over the stadium sound system for the ‘best supporters in the world’ to make themselves heard. ‘Where are you?’ she implored. ‘Let's be having you!’
The passion of the Canaries’ most famous supporter was impressive. But that did not stop Chelsea fans mocking Norwich’s majority shareholder with various chants, the most polite of which was: ‘You’re going down like a soufflé!’ Norwich supporters retorted with their own cheeky songs about the Londoners’ personnel, and Blues fans quickly responded. It was one of the great moments of tit-for-tat terrace badinage, with opposing fans laughing and applauding each other’s wit.
While the banter went on, the second-from-bottom Canaries fought for their Premier League lives. Although Joe Cole opened the scoring for the visitors, the hosts rallied to equalise through Leon McKenzie. Some teams might have accepted their fate, but not Chelsea.
Mourinho instantly made a double substitution that created an onslaught on the home goal. Within minutes Mateja Kezman, one of the changes, followed up his League Cup final winner with his first in the league since December, and Ricardo Carvalho, urged forward by the coach, sealed the 3-1 win (pictured top). Norwich may have backed their supercook, but Chelsea had the recipe for success.