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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 April, 2005, 18:27 GMT 19:27 UK
Family tree of champions Chelsea
Ruud Gullit

Chelsea have completed their first title win since 1954-1955.

Their triumph is testament to the remarkable management of Jose Mourinho.

But the story of the Blues' success did not start with the appointment of the Portuguese.

Indeed, the tale of Chelsea's title triumph can be traced back to 4 June 1993, when then-chairman Ken Bates brought in Glenn Hoddle to return some glamour back to the King's Road.


In the 1970s, Chelsea were the undisputed fashionistas of English football, as Peter Osgood and Alan Hudson cut a dash through the old Division One.

But the 1980s and early 1990s saw the Blues relegated to also-rans of the London scene, left behind by Arsenal and Tottenham in the race to sign the biggest names.

Enter Hoddle, who Bates appointed to take over from caretaker boss Dave Webb in 1993.

Within two years the former Spurs and Monaco playmaker had used his high profile on the Continent to lure former European Footballer of the Year and European Championship-winning captain of Holland, Ruud Gullit to west London.

But in Hoddle's first season the prospect of a Chelsea revolution seemed a million miles away.

The Blues started disastrously and were in deep relegation trouble at Christmas but Hoddle refused to compromise his footballing principles.

Mark Stein was signed for 1.5m from Stoke and his goals played a big part in lifting the club out of danger and earning them an FA Cup final appearance where they lost 4-0 to Manchester United.

Best buy: Ruud Gullit (Sampdoria, free)
Worst buy: Andy Dow (Dundee, 250,000)
Best Premiership finish: 11th
Trophies: None

The following year he took the Blues to the semi-finals of the European Cup Winners Cup, where they eventually bowed out to Real Zaragoza.

It was an encouraging start, but in the summer of 1995 Hoddle really stepped up a level.

He signed the 33-year-old free agent Gullit as well as Mark Hughes, at 1.5m from Manchester United. Dan Petrescu followed suit early in the season, joining from Sheffield Wednesday for 2.3m.

That team reached the FA Cup semi-finals, again losing to United, and at the end of 1995-96 Hoddle left to succeed Terry Venables as manager of England.

Chelsea had finished mid-table in each of his three seasons, but Hoddle established them as a team with Cup pedigree, capable of attracting top stars to the Bridge.

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Hoddle had used his high profile to lure Gullit, and when the Dutchman inherited his office, he returned to Serie A to sign Gianluca Vialli on a free transfer from Juventus.

Unwittingly Gullit had, like Hoddle before him, signed his own successor but it was to be only the start.

He smashed the club's record signing to buy 4.9m Lazio midfielder Roberto di Matteo, gave Strasbourg 2.5m for Frank Leboeuf and in December paid Parma 4.5m for Gianfranco Zola.

The latter would become possibly the finest and almost certainly the most popular player in the club's modern history.

Best buy: Gianfranco Zola (Parma, 4.5m)
Worst buy: Bernard Lambourde (Bordeaux, 1.5m)
Best Premiership finish: 6th
Trophies: FA Cup

In his first season Gullit won the FA Cup and led Chelsea to sixth place in the league, bettering Hoddle's effort the previous year by five places.

But all was not well at the Bridge. Gullit and Vialli had fallen out with the latter mostly ignored for much of the campaign, and given a token two-minute substitute appearance in the Cup final.

The following season, having signed the likes of Graeme Le Saux, Gustavo Poyet and Tore Andre Flo, Gullit had Chelsea flying high in three competitions when the club lost patience after a five-month contract negotiations impasse.

After beginning the process of transforming Chelsea from cup team to Premiership heavyweights Gullit, branded a "playboy manager" by Bates, was suddenly history.

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"This is the most unbelievable and most important thing that has happened in the whole of my career," said Vialli, then 33, as he accepted the job of Chelsea player-manager.

Vialli had been given an enviable start, with the Blues second in the Premiership, in the semi-finals of the League Cup and the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners Cup.

But he carried on Gullit's work spectacularly - winning both those cup competitions and finishing fourth in the league.

The summer of 1998 gave Vialli his first real crack at the transfer market, and he moved for the likes of Marcel Desailly, Pierluigi Casiraghi (for a club record 5.4m) and Brian Laudrup.

Best buy: Marcel Desailly (AC Milan, 4.6m)
Worst buy: Winston Bogarde (Barcelona, Free)
Best Premiership finish: 3rd
Trophies: European Cup Winners Cup, League Cup, FA Cup

His first full season saw the Blues finish third in the Premiership - earning the club its first stab at the Champions League.

Vialli prepared by again smashing the Blues transfer record, this time for 10m Chris Sutton.

Chelsea reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, losing to Barcelona, but also won the FA Cup, beating Aston Villa in Wembley's last final, and finished fifth in the league.

In the summer of 2000 Vialli set a new Chelsea record buy for the third successive summer as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink joined for 15m.

He also paid 5m for Eidur Gudjohnsen - in retrospect one of the club's best value-for-money signings.

But the likes of Gabriele Ambrosetti, Chris Sutton, Winston Bogarde, Mario Stanic and Christian Panucci represented a rash of unwise signings by Vialli.

And within five games of the new campaign, he was gone.

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Vialli had given Chelsea a taste of the Champions League, but when he was unceremoniously sacked after one win in five games at the start of 2000-2001, supremo Bates wanted more.

To achieve this the chairman looked outside the dressing room for the first time in more than seven years, and appointed Claudio Ranieri, a former coach of Fiorentina, Valencia and Atletico Madrid.

His first season saw early exits from FA Cup, League Cup and Uefa Cup - at the hands of St Gallen of Switzerland - and a sixth-place finish - Chelsea's worst in four years.

So in the summer of 2001 Ranieri got rid of Dennis Wise, Vialli's great friend, as well as Poyet and replaced them with, among others, Bolo Zenden, Emmanuel Petit, William Gallas and Frank Lampard.

Best buy: Frank Lampard (West Ham, 11m )
Worst buy: Juan Sebastian Veron (Manchester United, 15m)
Best Premiership finish: 2nd
Trophies: None

Yet things did not improve much in 2001-2002 - there was an FA Cup final but Arsenal beat them at the Millennium Stadium, while Israeli minnows Hapoel Tel Aviv knocked them out of the Uefa Cup.

Worse, Chelsea could only finish sixth again.

A low-key summer in 2002 - Enrique de Lucas was the only signing - was attributed to growing debts at Stamford Bridge, after years of high spending and a lack of Champions League football to show for it.

The campaign to follow was again disappointing, including Viking Stavanger knocking them out of the Uefa Cup.

But fourth place in the Premiership did ensure a return to the Champions League and, in that close season of 2003, something happened that would change the face of the club forever.

On 1 July Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in a deal worth 140m.

The shadow of Chelsea's debt was vanquished - and Abramovich also gave Ranieri a transfer budget to better any in the world.

In came Damien Duff, at a new record 17m, plus Claude Makelele, Hernan Crespo, Adrian Mutu, Juan Sebastian Veron and others.

Now Ranieri really was under pressure to deliver results, but the league title proved elusive and, despite guiding his team to the last four of the Champions League, the Italian suffered a tactical brainstorm against Monaco as his men crashed out.

Inevitably, he was cast aside, but who would be found to use Abramovich's billions in order to drag the club up one more level?

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"We have top players and, sorry if I'm arrogant, but we now have a top manager."

Jose Mourinho marked his entry to English football on 2 June 2004 with a memorable media conference, and he was as good as every word.

The Portuguese was not afraid to spend Abramovich's cash - as the club transfer record was smashed again for Marseille's Didier Drogba, who cost 24m.

Best buy: Ricardo Carvalho (Porto, 19.85m)
Worst buy: Mateja Kezman (PSV, 5m)
Best Premiership finish: 1st
Trophies: Premiership, League Cup, Champions League?

But he also used fewer players, and instilled real belief in those he did choose.

The first trophy arrived six months later, as Liverpool were defeated in the Carling Cup final, and the Premiership title followed - ending that half-century wait.

Champions League glory might yet follow, as Chelsea complete their journey from also-rans to, possibly, the biggest club in the world.

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