Where Are They Now: Last Chelsea team to face non-league opposition

Ahead of today’s FA Cup meeting with Chesterfield from the National League, we look back at the team line-up for our last match against a non-league side and find out what they’re all up to nowadays.

It was in January 2004, a few months into the Roman Abramovich era, that the Blues last came up against opposition from outside the Football League in an FA Cup tie, as we travelled to face Scarborough.

Claudio Ranieri took his expensively assembled squad to the McCain Stadium – yes, it was sponsored by the company famed for their frozen potato products – for a fourth-round tie and got the full ‘magic of the FA Cup’ experience.

Although his Blues side ultimately got the win, it was by the narrowest margin, thanks to John Terry’s ninth-minute goal, and it was one of those days that left everyone feeling warm and fuzzy. Well, except those who had to thaw out after enduring a rather chilly afternoon in North Yorkshire!

Here is the Chelsea starting XI from that day, along with a little about what they achieved with the Blues and what they’re up to now...

Carlo Cudicini

At this time there were few better goalkeepers in the Premier League – in fact, the Italian had not long been selected as the best keeper in the English top flight. He enjoyed a long, successful stint here as a player, which has since been followed up by different roles off the pitch. 

He spent three years working alongside his compatriots Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri during their time as head coach and now works as a loan technical coach.

Mario Melchiot

The Dutch right-back, who was schooled at Ajax, loved a goal against Manchester United during his time as a Blue. He started his time at the club by winning the FA Cup in just his sixth game and was a key player throughout Ranieri’s time here. 

Since retiring he’s done some acting and plenty of media work. He also recently started a podcast with his old Birmingham City team-mate Julian Gray – remember him? – imaginatively titled ‘The Julian and Mario Podcast’.

William Gallas

Although he played a huge part in back-to-back Premier League titles during his five years at Chelsea, Gallas blotted his copybook by first joining Arsenal and then moving to Spurs – although he didn’t win a trophy with either. 

He entered the world of punditry after hanging up his boots eight years ago, recently offering up the opinion that Thiago Silva is one of the top two defenders in the league. Clearly knows his stuff…

John Terry

JT was a few months shy of replacing Marcel Desailly as club captain, but he’d already shown his leadership credentials and earned legend status with the Chelsea faithful.

You don’t really need us to tell you what he went on to achieve with the club, so we’ll just say his goal versus Scarborough was one of 67 he scored for the Blues, more than any other defender. He recently returned to Cobham, following a stint as Aston Villa assistant manager, to take up a role within our Academy.

Wayne Bridge

Ranieri clearly liked an English full-back – Bridge and Glen Johnson were two of his first signings the previous summer. The former was a promising left-back who’d not long helped Southampton reach an FA Cup final, and he was impressing Chelsea fans with his teasing deliveries from out wide. 

Since retiring he’s occasionally popped up on UK television as he took part in I’m A Celebrity, which he followed up by winning the first celeb series of SAS: Who Dares Wins.

Joe Cole

The boyhood Blues fan was another summer signing, this time joining us from recently relegated West Ham. He went on to become a superstar at Chelsea, winning trophies galore and claiming the Player of the Year prize in 2008, during a hugely successful period with the club. 

He’s now a regular on BT Sport and various other media outlets, but Cole also had a spell coaching in our Academy a couple of years back.

Frank Lampard

Like JT, Lampard’s achievements with Chelsea don’t need repeating – he is, quite simply, one of the greatest to ever play for this club. No one has scored more times for the Blues and few have lifted more trophies. 

He’s also part of a select group of ex-players who have come back to manage the club, having spent 18 months as our head coach, when he blooded a number of young talents and led us to fourth place and an FA Cup final.

Alexis Nicolas

From one of Chelsea’s most famous players to one that will leave many scratching their heads. Nicolas was a midfielder of Cypriot descent who was surprisingly given his debut in this game – he didn’t disappoint, putting in a tidy performance. 

He made two more appearances that season, before leaving for Brighton. Two years later, at the age of 23, that was it for him in professional football. He became a chartered surveyor and later set up his own commercial property investment firm.

Jesper Gronkjaer

Although he didn’t, as is often claimed, score the goal that earned our place in the Champions League in a final-day meeting with Liverpool in 2003 – a draw was good enough, so that honour belongs to Marcel Desailly – the rapid winger certainly made the rest of the afternoon more bearable! 

He also once scored in a Champions League semi-final for the Blues and he’s been a regular visitor back to the Bridge after retirement as a pundit on Danish television.

Eidur Gudjohnsen

The blond Maradona, as Jose Mourinho dubbed him, formed one half of a devastating strike pairing with the next man on this list. Only 16 players have netted more times for the Blues than this two-time Premier League winner, who left us in 2006 and went on to embark on his own footballing world tour. 

He’s now the assistant coach of the Icelandic national team, while the Gudjohnsen legacy is set to continue – one of his sons is already an international and the other two are in Real Madrid’s academy!

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Goals were the only currency Hasselbaink dealt in during a career in which he was very much the cliched ‘great goalscorer and a scorer of great goals’. He joined the Blues for a club-record fee in 2000 from Atletico Madrid and won the Premier League Golden Boot in his first season, although silverware eluded him in west London.

He’s spent time as a manager in the lower leagues in England and continues to take charge of Burton Albion, while also offering opinions as a regular on Sky Sports’ Premier League coverage.

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