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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 April, 2005, 18:32 GMT 19:32 UK
Bridging the 50-year title divide
By Charlie Henderson

Chelsea's title-winning managers - Ted Drake and Jose Mourinho
Ted Drake and Jose Mourinho - Chelsea's title-winning managers

Chelsea's victory at Bolton handed the club a first Premiership title and only their second domestic top-flight success in their 100-year history.

When Ted Drake arrived as manager at the club in 1952 he said he needed three years to shape a squad that would win the league.

"Drake's Ducklings" duly delivered right on cue, a 3-1 home win over Sheffield Wednesday on St George's Day giving them an unassailable lead at the top of the First Division with a match remaining.

Fifty years on Chelsea have cruised to the title with three games to spare, but like Drake, manager Jose Mourinho had a vision.

Earlier in the campaign, the Portuguese predicted the trip to Bolton would prove to be his team's crowning moment.

The Nostradamus-like capabilities of their managers is a rare similarity between the club's two championship winning teams.

BBC Sport charts the changes at Stamford Bridge, between the era of the 12-a-week player and the multi-millionaire superstars of today.

Former Arsenal legend Drake revolutionised Chelsea on his arrival, changing the club nickname and crest. A hands-on boss with a strict training regime, he proved a shrewd operator in the transfer market delving into the lower reaches of the league. The 42-year-old played every ball his players kicked and once knocked himself out on the roof of the dugout while jumping for a header.

Drake named Frank Blunstone and Stan Wicks as his best buys. Left-wing Blunstone came from Crewe in 1952 for the princely sum of 8,500 - plus a 10 signing-on fee. When he moved south he shared a bed in his digs with team-mate Bobby Smith. The 20-man squad included two amateurs who had to forfeit their 12-a-week wages and 2 win bonuses.

Stamford Bridge hosted training on weekday mornings but it finished early on Mondays as the dog track around the pitch was needed for greyhound trials. Drake introduced a greater focus on ball work but there were also gym sessions and some pounding long-distance runs along London's streets. Those in local digs would stick around the ground playing darts and snooker in a sports room at the stadium.

Match day
Only 52,421 watched the title-winning match against Sheffield Wednesday, but more than 75,000 had poured through the gates for a crucial fixture weeks earlier against Wolves, with a reported 25,000 locked out on the Fulham Road. Stamford Bridge was a huge bowl of a place with the famous Shed at one end and a dog track running around the pitch. Tickets cost the equivalent of 30-60p, plus sixpence - 2p - for a programme.

P42 W20 D12 L10 52pts
By November Chelsea looked down and out. A run of two points from six games saw them drop to 12th in the league, but slowly and surely they clawed their way back into the race. They hit the front in March and won a vital Easter Saturday match against second-placed Wolves to all but tie up the title, which came in the next home game. They scored 81 goals, conceded 57 and finished four points clear of Wolves.

The success was celebrated in muted fashion with little pomp and circumstance and no trophy presentation. After speeches from the East Stand from the likes of Drake and captain Roy Bentley, some of the players toasted their success at a local cafe with a round of teas. Further afield it was even quieter as the country was in the grip of a newspaper strike. As a bonus for the title the professional players got a custom-made suit from east London tailor Pollicoffs. The amateurs got a framed address which winger Jim Lewis has hung in his loo for the last 50 years.

Mourinho, 42, announced himself as a "special one" when he arrived from Portugal. So it has proved. In his first season he has claimed two trophies, with the promise of a third to come, and a massive 1m-a-year pay rise to 5.2m. His tactics are based on frugal defence, a high workrate and flair on the flanks. Away from the pitch he takes pressure off his staff by inviting it upon himself.

The final signing before Roman Abramovich's arrival was Jurgen Macho on a free. Since then more than 210m has been spent on players, with nine signings eclipsing the pre-Roman record 15m spent on Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Frank Lampard is the highest paid player with a 5m-a-year deal. Mourinho's star-studded squad features 14 different nationalities.

The club boasts a 20m
state-of-the-art training centre in the Surrey commuter belt 20 miles from their London home. It has 15 pitches (three with under-soil heating), an indoor pitch and the latest medical and rehabilitation facilities. Twelve of the squad live within 10 minutes and, away from the footballing essentials, the club installed a reported 10,000-worth of sunbeds for the players to top up their tans.

Match day
The 'Bridge' has changed beyond recognition. The dog track has gone, the Shed has been dragged into the new millennium and the ground incorporates the former chairman's legacy - the "Bates Motel". A 42,449 all-seater stadium fit for champions and London's biggest football ground, fans are within touching distance of their idols, although they pay for the privilege with prices in the region of 50 and programmes costing an extra 3.

P35 W27 D7 L1 88pts
The Blues have come mighty close to emulating Arsenal's supposedly unmatchable unbeaten run last season, having lost just the once to Manchester City. After a slow but solid start, they sparked into life in October, hit the front in November and have never looked back. They have broken the Arsenal-Manchester United duopoly with ease, scoring 67 goals in the process and conceding a miserly 13 at the other end.

A lap of honour at home against Fulham and back-slapping at Bolton are just the prelude to the identikit no-expense-spared extravaganza that is now the norm. That will come on 7 May after the match against Charlton and four days after the conclusion of the Champions League semi-final. Choreographed razzamatazz with sponsors logos to the fore, champagne, fireworks, a rendition of Queen's "We Are The Champions" and players in silly hats will be the order of the day - plus the small matter of a large bonus from Abramovich's back pocket.

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