Last week, we swung open the door of the Sky Sports Vault for the first time and looked back to the very first Super Sunday clash in August 1992, when Teddy Sheringham's goal gave Nottingham Forest a narrow win over Liverpool.
For our second visit to the Vault, we're selecting Jose Mourinho's crowning glory in his first season as Chelsea manager. Can he achieve moments as special as their 2005 title triumph in his second spell? We're sure to get more clues when he takes the Blues to Manchester United in Monday Night Football.
The day before his first competitive fixture as Chelsea manager nine years ago, Jose Mourinho gathered his squad together for a team meeting.
The opponents at Stamford Bridge would be Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United - a stern test for the new manager. There was no need to discuss tactics; Mourinho had already made sure every player knew his role. This meeting was purely about mentality.
"You will read in the press and hear in the media me saying that I don't expect us to win the league in my first season," began the Portuguese. "I want you to be very clear that I have said this only to keep the pressure off all of us."
He continued: "I expect us to win the Premiership this season. I know that we will. We are winners - and winning is all that matters.
"I don't want to be second or third. We want to win this league - and we will."
Saturday 30 April, 2005
- Michael Howard vows to "roll his sleeves up and get things done" if elected to power. The following Thursday, Labour secure a third term under Tony Blair and Howard stands down as Conservative leader.
- Comic Relief single 'Is This the Way To Amarillo' by Tony Christie (featuring Peter Kay) stays top of the UK charts.
- At the cinema, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy' starring Martin Freeman tops the weekend box office.
- James 'Lights Out' Toney defeats John Ruiz in WBA heavyweight title bout at Madison Square Garden - but Toney fails post-fight drugs test and result is changed to "no contest".
The steel Mourinho quickly displayed to his players in those early days is worth remembering as he sets out to try and repeat that remarkable dominance of the 2004/5 season. United were in a relative lull, but remained fierce foes. Reigning champions Arsenal were still invincible. Mourinho had to be special just to compete. So to then instantly guide Chelsea to a first title in 50 years and set a new Premiership points record along the way was extraordinary. Roman Abramovich may have provided £200million worth of materials, but Mourinho moulded what remains a masterpiece league team.
Confirmation of that arrived on a chilly spring afternoon in Bolton. The tea-time kick-off on Saturday, April 30, was sandwiched between the two legs of a Champions League semi-final against Liverpool that would see Luis Garcia's controversial goal settle the affair at Anfield. That was a separate concern; Mourinho demanded Chelsea got the league job done at the Reebok to fulfil a time-and-place prophecy he had made months earlier.
To say Bolton weren't pushovers would be an obvious understatement. This was Wanderers at their peak under Sam Allardyce; they had claimed a 2-2 draw at the Bridge the previous November and would go on to finish sixth, only three points off a top-four spot. Petr Cech had to perform heroics in goal to keep the scoreline goalless at the break, while John Terry could barely see out of one swollen eye after a bruising tangle with Kevin Davies.
Chelsea needed the words of their manager again. They needed the kind of confidence-inspiring rhetoric that Mourinho had provided in that team meeting on the eve of the season.
"I need more from you!" he implored, before suggesting that he and his assistants Steve Clarke and Baltemar Brito should be given Chelsea shirts and sent out to kick off the second half. "For five minutes, we'll show you the passion needed to win a game like this."
A pause for dramatic effect, to let the concept sink in of two men in their early 40s and another in his 50s charging into tackles on Bolton players as if their lives depended upon it.
"And after five minutes," Mourinho continued, feigning weariness, "bring oxygen, call an ambulance and take me to hospital!"
Chelsea Prem records 2004/5
- Most wins in a season (29)
- Most away wins (15)
- Fewest goals conceded (15)
- Fewest away goals conceded (9)
- Most clean sheets (25)
Re-invigoration complete. The Chelsea players had the fire back in their bellies, and smiles on their faces. As is often the case in such scenarios, fortune favoured them too. Referee Steve Dunn failed to award Fernando Hierro a free-kick after a challenge from Jiri Jarosik on the hour mark, and Didier Drogba instigated the attack.
Frank Lampard describes the opening goal in his autobiography: "Didi cushioned the ball across to me but Vincent Candela blocked my sight of goal. I looked up for options but no one was in space. To hell with it, I'll have a go. I dropped my shoulder and got the half yard I needed for the angle to drive my shot past Jussi Jaaskelainen."
Chelsea were now so close, but they still needed Cech to make an outstanding save to prevent an own goal from Geremi before the crucial second arrived on 76 minutes. With Bolton having committed players forward, Claude Makelele was able to send a pass infield from the flank, across the halfway line and straight into Lampard's path.
"I found myself in acres and acres of space," said Lampard. "It was surreal - like a dream. I was just running - running like I would never get to the goal, or the mass of blue and white who were standing on their toes behind it.
"I could see Ricky (Carvalho) pushing on beside me, shouting for a pass. I pretended not to hear. I was determined to finish it off... a voice in my head was telling me I should go round Jaaskelainen and roll it in - not my normal type of finish but stylish and if you're going to win the league, then what better way to do it?
"It's hard to describe exactly what I felt just then - difficult because extreme emotions don't fit into words very comfortably. Elation is too temporary - this was more substantial and I can still feel it now when I close my eyes and re-live that moment."
Bolton had no response to that. Cech was able to record his 24th league clean sheet of the season - a remarkable individual achievement - and then the celebrations could begin. Chelsea had 88 points from 35 games. Arsenal had 74, with four fixtures left to play. Mission accomplished.
Cech claimed the Golden Glove, while Terry was named PFA Player of the Year. For Lampard, who missed only seven minutes of the Blues' entire Premiership campaign, the recognition grew and grew right up until Christmas - Barclays Player of the Month for April, then FWA Footballer of the Year, then runner-up to Ronaldinho in the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards.
Whatever you make of his methods, Mourinho turns players into champions through the courage of his convictions and the force of his personality. To put it another way - 'to say the things he truly feels, and not the words of one who kneels'. A fitting lyric, of course, from the song chosen by Sky Sports to play out their Bolton v Chelsea broadcast on that late April evening back in 2005 - Frank Sinatra's 'My Way'.