Week of the goal that wasn't and the penalty that wasn't

Chelsea 1 - Charlton Athletic 0
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The Independent Football

Fifty years ago, Chelsea's achievement was received by their players with a restraint appropriate for the times. The manager, Ted Drake, had to request his captain, Roy Bentley, to bring his team up from the dressing room to accept their fans' plaudits. "The crowd wants to see the team, Roy," Drake had quietly informed him.

Fifty years ago, Chelsea's achievement was received by their players with a restraint appropriate for the times. The manager, Ted Drake, had to request his captain, Roy Bentley, to bring his team up from the dressing room to accept their fans' plaudits. "The crowd wants to see the team, Roy," Drake had quietly informed him.

Yesterday, here, after a somewhat fortuitous defeat of Charlton, everyone demanded to be a part of it. You could not have kept anyone with Chelsea heritage, young or old, away from a pitch festooned with streamers, as that elusive championship trophy returned to be held aloft by the Players' Player of the Year, John Terry. Not least Drake's 2005 counterpart, Jose Mourinho, whose son Zuca and daughter Matilde, escaped their mother, Tami, and rushed to him as he strode forward to receive his medal at the end of a lengthy queue of his players.

Yet he will be aware there is no more appropriate recipient of the trophy than Terry - the man who surely should have also secured the football writers' Footballer of the Year ahead of the award's winner, his team-mate Frank Lampard.

It is perhaps unfortunate that the man we honour on Thursday week, in tribute to a season in which the England man's goals, industry and sheer verve in midfield have contributed so greatly to Chelsea's title, should have ensured victory here by winning one of the most debatable penalties awarded all year.

The Blues' season has been punctuated with controversy, both on and off the pitch. Why should this final home game be any different? Lampard fell in the area in the final minute after a challenge by the visitors' Jonathan Fortune, but not only did there appear to be an absence of any contact, but any offence was committed outside the area. The referee, Mike Riley, was in benevolent mood, however.

Claude Makelele, a player who had hitherto never scored in 94 Chelsea games, hardly appeared the ideal man to take responsibility for the spot-kick. Indeed, he was not. The Danish goalkeeper Stephan Andersen made a fine save, but obligingly the ball ran to the defensive midfielder, who followed up and forced the ball home. It was as well he did. "I wrote on a diagram for my players yesterday: 'Penalty: Lampard'," Mourinho explained. "I told them 'If we have a penalty in the 90th minute, and it is two-zero to us: Claude Makelele'. What happens? It is zero-zero, and Makelele takes the penalty." He gestures mock irritation. "Makelele took two penalties in training yesterday, and missed them both..."

The visitors, rightly, did not appreciate the humour of the moment. At the final whistle, the Charlton assistant, Mervyn Day, strode out and appeared to inform Riley that he was a "cheat". The manager, Alan Curbishley, equally indignant, confined himself to a wag of his finger at the official. There was a suspicion that Riley had been swayed by the occasion, rather like, as Chelsea claimed, the Slovakian assistant had been influenced by the Kop at Anfield on Tuesday night. Surely not?

The result meansthe Blues are only a win away from overtaking Manchester United's Premiership points record of 92. They could achieve that at Old Trafford on Tuesday. That would be further evidence of Chelsea's supremacy this season.

Mourinho declared that the defining moment was his side's eclipse of Tottenham at White Hart Lane. "Arsenal lost at Bolton when we were still in the bath." A pause. "They played after us that day," he reminded us. "Like they do always."

Mourinho added: "We did it [claimed the title] maybe before everyone expected us to. Even some people inside the club didn't believe we could do it in my first season. Now we want more. This is the beginning of a process, not the end."

Uncannily, he almost echoed Ted Drake's observation of 50 years previously: "Now that we have won the championship, I don't think there is anything beyond our power." How erroneous he was.

One suspects that it will not be half a century before yesterday's scenes are repeated; certainly not if Roman Abramovich remains faithful to his aim of building "the most successful football club in the world in the next 10 years".

This was the day when the men of New Chelsea, a creation made possible by Abramovich's extravagant ambition, became not merely a significant part of the club's history but rejoiced with their predecessors. It was an emotional spectacle for many of those present as eight Chelsea Pensioners and 13 surviving members of that 1955 squad, led by Bentley, brought the Premiership trophy to the podium for Terry to raise in triumph.

Not to be outdone, the partners of the Chelsea players joined the festivities. It was hard to escape the feeling that they bore much similarity with their fictional TV equivalents. While their partners may have won the battle of midfield, it was difficult to say who won the competition for the most exposed midriff.

This was always going to be more a celebration than an examination of their opponents during this lunchtime confrontation. Joe Cole completed the home programme with a splendid exhibition, and struck a post in the first half. Terry repeated that act after the interval.

At the end, the faithful mocked their Champions' League conquerors. "Are you watching Liverpool?" they sang. Mourinho could not resist the observation: "I would say that they don't have in Istanbul the best final they could have."

Tuesday night's defeat clearly still rankles. But he knows in his mischievous heart that yesterday's presentations were confirmation of the one that really counts.

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