Chelsea win first League title for 50 years | May 1, 2005
HISTORY MAN: Lampard ends Chelsea's 50-year title wait
WHEN Chelsea last won the League title, Marilyn Monroe was starring in The Seven-Year Itch. After scratching around for 50 years, the club from west London now boasts its second championship success, Frank Lampard’s two bustling runs and strikes on goal yesterday setting up the 2-0 win at Bolton to confirm that, with three games remaining, the Premiership title is theirs, writes Jim Munro, football editor.
It was perhaps fitting that Lampard, 26, one of the outstanding individuals of the season, should score the historic goals. He has notched 18 for Chelsea this season and three more for England, an amazing return for a midfielder in the top flight.
“I felt I owed the fans one after that miss in midweek [against Liverpool in the Champions League]. This was the best way to repay them,” said Lampard. “This is a moment I will enjoy for the rest of my life."
As Lampard and the other Chelsea players celebrated on the pitch, manager Jose Mourinho was sitting in the dugout using his mobile phone. “I was speaking to my wife and children,” he said. “They went to Portugal for the weekend but they saw it live and they are happy of course, like me.”
Reflecting on the title win, he added: “Football is crazy sometimes. We knew a few months ago we had a lead of some distance but anything is possible, so only now is the moment we really feel we are champions.”
He also hinted that he would like to extend his period of office at Chelsea. “This group is really special,” he said. “That’s why I want to stay with them for the maximum time, maybe for longer than the contract I have.”
It is expected that the trophy will be presented to Mourinho and his merry men at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, when Charlton are the opposition in the day’s televised early kick-off, rather than them having to wait for the final game of the season with Newcastle at St James’ Park.
At the other end of the table, the scramble for Premiership survival pitched Southampton and Norwich into a face-to-face confrontation at St Mary’s stadium. Seven goals were traded like blows between two ageing prize fighters, the knockout punch being delivered just two minutes from time by Southampton’s Henri Camara.
His long-range drive clinched a 4-3 victory which lifted Southampton up to 17th place, while Crystal Palace slipped back into the relegation zone despite a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Newcastle. They sit on 31 points, below Southampton on goal difference and a point above West Brom, who entertain Arsenal tomorrow.
Everton remain fourth despite going down 2-0 at Fulham. Liverpool clawed themselves a point closer to their Merseyside neighbours after a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough at Anfield. Birmingham beat Blackburn 2-1 at St Andrews while Manchester City beat visitors Portsmouth 2-0.
Nottingham Forest became the first European Cup winners to be relegated to the third tier of their country’s domestic league. Twenty-five years after last lifting the trophy under the guidance of Brian Clough, a 2-1 defeat at Queens Park Rangers confirmed Forest will be playing League One football next season. Manager Gary Megson said: “This is one of the lowest points of my career."