15 years ago today, Chelsea supporters were waking up bleary-eyed, safe in the knowledge their team were Premier League champions for the first time. For the players, a lifetime's ambition had been achieved, and this is what they had to say in the wake of our win at Bolton, and the celebrations that followed.
Fifty years without a top-flight championship had been ended with a gritty 2-0 success in the North-West, which was relived yesterday in our #CFCWatchParty. Here we look back at what manager Jose Mourinho, Steve Clarke and some of the players said after the game as the enormity of the achievement began to sink in...
Frank Lampard (leaning out of the bus above)
‘We’ve proved that the best team wins the league. There have been some harsh words spoken about us not being entertaining and that the best two teams in the Premier League are in the final of the FA Cup [Manchester United v Arsenal]. But the best team wins the league and we have done that.
‘You look at Arsenal, who lost at Bolton, and Manchester United, who drew, but we went up there and won. It’s time for the others to take a look and know that we are definitely the best.’
‘I’ve kept my shirt from every game this season, as well as every captain’s armband. Thankfully we’ve gone on and won it! I’ll put them in one big frame. I dreamed of being able to do that when I first started collecting them in the opening four or five games.
‘It feels very emotional. I just want to break down and cry, really. I probably will when I get back to my hotel room on my own, when I sit back and watch it on TV.
‘There was a time when Manchester United went 18 or 19 games unbeaten and I thought it might be starting to look a bit shaky, but we kept bouncing back.
‘We’ve got the title by bringing in players and management who had the taste for it. With the youth and hunger from the other lads it was a great mix.
‘The manager hates conceding a goal even in training; when you are training with that intensity and at your best every day, you take it out into the games.
‘Now we’ve got the first one, we’ve got to keep doing it year after year.’
‘Our group is a special group, they deserve this – nobody can say we don't deserve this. We were absolutely magnificent.
‘The players deserve this more than anybody but I am very happy for the fans, especially those that have not seen a title win. The way we were champions was not easy. It is the mentality, ambition and desire; people coming from many different places.
‘We met for the first time in July and from that moment we have built something special. When we have to fight, we fight; when we have to play, we play; when we have to suffer, we suffer. And always together.’
‘It’s a fantastic feeling. We thought we’d won it after the Arsenal game, but now it’s actually happened and it’s a dream come true for me and all of us.
‘It’s hard to believe it it’s actually happened. There was a stage in the season when I did wonder if I was going to be part of things here. But now, after all that’s happened for me in the last few months, it’s worthwhile.’
‘It was magnificent. You see all the people involved in Chelsea, they were with us in the dressing room and they were celebrating – all the squad, all the staff, everybody together with Mr Abramovich and the boss.
‘I knew the club had only won the league once, but I thought it was in the 1970s. So when I saw in the papers that it was 1955, I knew this was a huge season because everyone has been waiting 50 years. I think this was a massive achievement for the club.’
‘Maybe the people who’ve had the experience before would understand it a little better, but for the boys who haven’t won anything, we just celebrated like crazy. And three or four hours after the game, everybody’s tucked up in bed. It was a little bit like, ‘Is that it?’ But when you have another game coming up, you have to get ready for that.’
‘It was strange; it took a while to sink in – just amazing. Shaking the champagne and shouting and screaming, and then after the game you have a moment when you sit on the coach and think, ‘Oh Jesus, we’ve won the league.’ That was something I’ve dreamed of since the day I started football – just to be a champion. To give it back to the club I adore and love is not only great for me, but everyone here.
‘I think maybe I could appreciate it a little more than some other players. I’ve been here five years and it means a hell of a lot to me. So I can imagine after 50 years... I’m just glad to be part of the team that won the trophy back.’