Lampard: My Blue heaven

The Premiership: Chelsea are crowned champions as two-goal performance by England midfielder bridges the 50-year title gulf
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The Independent Online

Fifty years on much in English football has changed, but the champions are the same. Chelsea finally secured their first title since 1955, the early years of rock and roll, with a 2-0 victory at Bolton Wanderers. Frank Lampard, the England midfielder, provided both the goals for a triumph that inevitably in the modern era had a strong foreign flavour.

Fifty years on much in English football has changed, but the champions are the same. Chelsea finally secured their first title since 1955, the early years of rock and roll, with a 2-0 victory at Bolton Wanderers. Frank Lampard, the England midfielder, provided both the goals for a triumph that inevitably in the modern era had a strong foreign flavour.

The Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho put the final shape to designs that the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich had on ruling the English game when he brought his billions to London. The only other Englishman in the starting line-up was John Terry, the captain, and the man who pipped Lampard for the Players' Player of the Year Award. With French, Czech, Russian, Ivorian, Cameroonian, Icelandic, German, Portuguese and Serbian players in their match-day squad, this was world music at its best.

Lampard's two strikes meant that Chelsea matched Arsenal's Premiership record of eight successive away wins, another mark that underlines the fact that Chelsea have broken the duopoly that the North London side shared with Manchester United. "This is a moment I will enjoy for the rest of my life," Lampard as he looked ahead to the prospect of beating Liverpool to reach the Champions' League final. "It is a great relief after 50 years for the fans and for everyone." Terry echoed those emotions when he said: "It is the best feeling ever. It's been a long time coming, the supporters have been waiting a long time and they fully deserve it."

Mourinho's comments straight after the match will be music to the ears of Chelsea fans, too. "This group is really special - that's why I want to stay with them for the maximum time, maybe for longer than the contract I have," the Portuguese coach said. "The players deserve this, so do the fans, Roman Abramovich and Peter Kenyon [the chief executive].

"Nobody speaking with fairness and sense can say we don't deserve this title. I'm very happy for the fans but the players deserve this more than anybody. My players have talent, ambition and desire and from July we felt something special.

"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 said that it was the perfect game in which to secure the title, because Bolton have a difficult style of play and Chelsea had to adapt. "We fought like lions," Mourinho said. The club badge suggests that is what everyone should expect.

A fight of a different kind, for survival, looks like going to the last kick at the other end of the table. Southampton lived to fight another day for survival among the élite with a 4-3 home victory over Norwich City, their fellow relegation strugglers. It was as dramatic as they come. Norwich went ahead early on, Southampton fought back to lead 3-2 but the visitors levelled, only for Henri Camara to set the bells of St Mary's ringing with a low strike from about 20 yards.

Victory vaulted the Saints out of the Premiership's bottom three, above Crystal Palace on goal difference, after the South London side drew 0-0 at Newcastle United. West Bromwich Albion, who face Arsenal tomorrow, and Norwich are both one point behind. The drama should continue in the next episode when Saints play fellow desperados Palace.

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