April 2003, Real Madrid are taking on Manchester United in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final match.
In the stands, unbeknown to 99% of the British public is a Russian billionaire by the name, Roman Abramovich.
The game sparked an interest that would soon become an investment.
After being declined to land his helicopter on the White Hart Lane pitch, Abramovich noticed another football ground as he flew towards the airport.
A quick phone call and Abramovich was taking his first steps on the Stamford Bridge pitch, meeting with Ken Bates.
In July that year, just three months since that Champions League match, Abramovich had agreed a £140 million takeover of Chelsea Football Club.
His first manager was Claudio Ranieri, which is where we’ll start.
Appointed by Ken Bates in 2000, Ranieri had played a massive part of making Abramovich’s deal happen.
Having taken over an ageing team, Ranieri was instructed to bring the average age of the team down.
Things didn’t start great for Ranieri under Abramovich. His new boss had met with the former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson in the days after the takeover.
These rumours would haunt Ranieri for the season he was manager under Abramovich.
He spent £120 million in the summer, bringing in the likes of Glen Johnson, Damien Duff and Joe Cole.
In return Chelsea finished in their highest league position for 49 years, coming runners up to Arsenal’s invincible’s.
Chelsea also reached the Champions League semi-final’s where they lost to AS Monaco.
In was during this semi-final clash that Abramovich had made his move to replace Ranieri who knew that his days where numbered.
Win percentage 61.02%
Games managed 59
After seeing his club finish runners up, Abramovich wanted a proven winner in charge.
Where better to look than the biggest competition of them all, the Champions League.
“Please do not call me arrogant because what I am about to tell you is true.
“I am a European Champion, I think I am a Special One.”
One statement in his first press conference sparked what would become a two year dominance of English football.
Mourinho came all guns blazing after winning the treble with FC Porto in his native Portugal.
And his first season didn’t disappoint. Chelsea spent another £91 million on new players including Paulo Ferreira, Petr Cech, Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba and Ricardo Carvalho.
Chelsea finished 12 points clear of second place Arsenal on 95 points.
The highest number of points ever gained in the Premier League and more points than Arsenal’s “invincible’s” had gained the previous year.
Mourinho’s second season was pretty similar to the first. Winning the league by 8 points from Manchester United.
They finished with 4 points fewer than the first season, however, having already won the title, Chelsea lost their last two games of the season to Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United.
Victories in these games would’ve given them 31 wins (a record) and 97 points, which would’ve eclipsed their first season.
Despite their domestic dominance, the elephant in the room remained the Champions League.
Having been hired on the back of winning it, Mourinho had failed to take his Chelsea side to the final.
He reached the semi-final in the first year, losing to Liverpool’s infamous Ghost goal.
While the 2005/06 campaign came to an end in the round of 16 at the hands of Barcelona.
These results started to put a strain on the relationship between Abramovich and Mourinho.
Mourinho would last just one more full season in charge.
Abramovich spent more money in the summer, but Chelsea finished runners up to Manchester United.
Having been on for the Quadruple until May 1st, Chelsea finished with a domestic cup double winning the League and FA Cups.
Another Champions League semi-final defeat to Liverpool, this time on penalties, left the relationship at breaking point.
Mourinho lasted until the 20th September 2007 when he was sacked following a 1-1 draw with Rosenberg in the Champions League group stage.
He was replaced by Avram Grant who took Chelsea to two finals, the League Cup and Champions League, which we both lost.
Mourinho had installed an mentality and a spine that would go on to either prove to be the detriment or success of every future Chelsea Manager that followed him.
Win percentage 67.03%
Games managed 185
Trophies won 5
Having won every domestic trophy, Abramovich was still craving European dominance.
Having hired a European Champion and still failed to win the competition, Abramovich looked to World Cup winner Scolari.
Scolari arrived with the promise to play more attractive, attacking football.
However, Scolari upset some key players and lasted just 7 months in charge.
Scolari himself blamed Nicolas Anelka’s refusal to move back to the left wing as the issue that caused his eventual departure from Stamford Bridge.
Win percentage 55.56%
Games managed 36
To be continued….