June will mark 18 years since Roman Abramovich turned the only real proprietor of Chelsea Football Club, and with the likes of Petr Cech, Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben, Andriy Shevchenko and many extra having come by way of the doorways at Stamford Bridge, it has been a profitable journey for Russian.
A query which will very well be utilized in a pub quiz or function on an episode of BBC One’s Pointless someday within the close to future; are you able to title Chelsea’s first signing of the Abramovich period?
Glen Johnson is the reply.
Jose Mourinho – ‘The Particular One’ – was appointed the season after Johnson arrived at Stamford Bridge, a assured manager who set off on a path that maybe nobody might have predicted.
Mourinho secured Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup winners’ medals throughout his time in England, however Chelsea’s dramatic 2004/05 League Cup win over Liverpool was the place all of it started for the Portuguese manager.
A fresh-faced 21-year-old Johnson got here on for Joe Cole within the final stages of that 2005 victory with the scores level at 1-1, minutes after Mourinho was famously sent-off for making a ‘shushing’ gesture in direction of the Liverpool followers after Steven Gerrard nodded past his own goalkeeper.
Further-time got here and Chelsea powered on, with goals from Didier Drogba and Mateja Kežman sealing Mourinho’s first trophy in English football, and regardless of a late Antonio Nunez strike, the League Cup was Jose’s.
“With the final often being played round February time, you’ll be able to have a trophy under your belt earlier than the season is even finished,” Johnson said, reflecting on the Final.
“That’s was precisely how Mourinho approached the sport, you win 10 video games and you get your first medal of the season.
“That was his major target, we went a goal down inside the primary couple of minutes and I used to be on the bench, however I bear in mind Didier Drogba scoring from my throw-in, and to win a trophy at such a young age was wonderful.
“Abramovich didn’t purchase the membership and spend the cash he spent on players to not win something.
“I don’t suppose it was stress off so to talk, however there was a realisation that we might really win issues, not that we ever doubted ourselves.
“There was clearly numerous hype across the players that have been coming into the membership, so there was at all times going to be a little bit of stress on the team. However winning that Final against Liverpool was a manner of claiming to ourselves ‘look, we are able to do this, let’s take it a step additional’.”
Chelsea would go onto win a league and cup double that season.
Just a few seasons later Johnson would join Liverpool, the team who he noticed off in that 05′ Final on the Millennium Stadium.
In 2012 he would have his palms on the League Cup as soon as once more because the Reds overcame a defiant Cardiff City side at Wembley, sneaking past the Bluebirds on penalties, during which Johnson was profitable to find the back of the net from 12-yards out.
That trophy win ended a six-year look ahead to silverware, and regardless of being big favourites for the win earlier than the sport, Johnson knew overcoming their Football League counterparts was not going to be a straightforward activity.
“With out being smug, earlier than the sport we knew we have been the higher side however in cup football it generally doesn’t work like that,” he added.
“You need to deal with these video games like you might be taking part in the best team within the world, and against a team like Cardiff, who had nothing to lose.
“Everybody played out of their pores and skin as a result of it was a Cup Final, and there aren’t any straightforward video games in Cup Finals. We have been the higher side on paper, we in all probability didn’t carry out prefer it however fortunately folks solely bear in mind the win and not the performance.”