Ten amazing years and 11 major trophies, including the greatest night of our lives in Munich. The Roman Abramovich era has provided us with moments we could only ever dream of.
As a Chelsea fan growing up in the late Seventies, Eighties and through the Nineties, we were known as the great underachievers. Relegations, promotions, electric fences, the Full Members and Simod Cup, the cars parked around the edge of the pitch and the hope that we could stabilise our position in the top division.
From the moment Glenn Hoddle arrived, Chelsea on the football pitch began to change. Through that period Chelsea became a club that would be expected to finish in the top half every season. When Ruud Gullit and Luca Vialli had their turns, Chelsea took another step forward with famous FA Cup and Cup Winners Cup wins. The league title however, was out of our reach.
Champions League football came to Stamford Bridge and it was something we cherished at the time because it was all new to us. Claudio Ranieri came in and all of a sudden, Chelsea had a team of quality players and we became realistic contenders. The first two seasons under him we finished sixth, and lost in the FA Cup final to Arsenal.
Who could forget the following season and Jesper Gronkjaer’s strike into the bottom corner against Liverpool? That moment sealed Champions League qualification. If that had not happened, who knows where we would be now?
Just weeks later, our fortunes were to change in one of the most amazing deals football in this country had ever seen and it was to change football forever.
The uncertainty that engulfed the club was over and we had a future again. It was exciting and Chelsea were the envy of supporters and clubs all over the world.
It was the most exciting summer we had experienced as Chelsea fans as we sat and watched Mr Abramovich invest in players such as Claude Makelele, Adrian Mutu, Hernan Crespo and Damien Duff. Ranieri was tasked with making a realistic challenge for the Premier League.
He almost delivered, finishing second (losing out to the unbeaten Arsenal) that season and reaching the Champions League semi-final. Despite the huge investment, Chelsea were still the nearly men and it never sat right. The decision was taken, Claudio was no more. The owner wanted someone to take over who could take us to another level.
The final piece of Roman’s jigsaw was Jose Mourinho. The two of them working together elevated our club to a level we hadn’t seen for 50 years. Chelsea had finally delivered.
Us fans were jubilant and celebrated like you could never imagine. “You bought the trophy” was aimed at us from all quarters but we didn’t care. This got worse the season after as Chelsea won back-to-back titles.
Continued investment in the playing staff, investment in a new training ground and a complete overhaul of the infrastructure of the club, Mr Abramovich’s commitment was there for all to see. The doubters had been proved wrong but the same insults to us supporters remained.
A sustained challenge for the Premier League title followed as each season passed by. Premier League trophies, FA Cup wins and League Cup wins followed but the Champions League eluded us for one reason or another.
A succession of managers followed and added firepower to the doubters. Roman’s decisions were analysed and questioned time and time again but one thing remained constant – Roman Abramovich’s commitment to Chelsea. We may not have agreed with some of them, but deep down we all knew he was doing what he felt right for the good of our football club.
It has been the most amazing 10 years of my life as a Chelsea fan. We have seen a level of success we could only ever dream of. We have had amazing days and nights that will live with us forever, special moments all culminating in Munich.
I look at Roman Abramovich and would love to sit down with him for 10 minutes to express my gratitude to him for the joy he has given us. I would like to ask him where he sees Chelsea in the next 10 years and to get a general feel for his love for the club because let’s face it, it’s obvious.
How many other owners in the game do you see sitting there kicking and heading every ball?
So here we are, 10 years later with the return of Jose Mourinho. The club is now established as one of the biggest in the world, a solid infrastructure, no debts and a young squad of players who could become the core to Mourinho’s second spell at the club just as the likes of Cech, Terry, Lampard and Drogba had become in the first.
With the continued investment in playing staff but a significant investment in our established Academy it’s clear that the new era has a focus on the club producing world-class players at Cobham.
The Abramovich-Mourinho combination has reunited and all the eyes of the world will be waiting to see if they can deliver once again.
Based on the previous 10 years, I wouldn’t put it past them!
Thank you, Mr Abramovich, for everything you have done for my club and for what you are working to achieve. It has been an amazing ride so far and I cannot wait for the next 10 years.
Please note : the views in many of our blogs are written by fans of Chelsea FC and are not necessarily the views of the club