Down memory lane… ‘The billion pound goal’

It was dubbed as the ‘£20 million’ match before kickoff. The winner would be rewarded with Champions League football, and more importantly for Chelsea, some much needed finance; A far cry from the free-spending ways of today.  

Despite the squad being littered with stars such as Gianfranco Zola, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, and the then baby faced Frank Lampard, it was Jesper Grønkjær that stole the show as we faced Liverpool.

The £8 million signing from Ajax had a stuttering start to his career here, with just 27 appearances in his first two seasons, he managed that alone in his third campaign, cumulating in ‘that goal’ at the Bridge, his fifth for the club.

Over the course of the next decade, the question of everyone’s lips was ‘What would’ve happened?’ had Chelsea not entered the Champions League that year. As it was, just five weeks later, Roman Abramovich entered through the doors, and quickly purchased the Blues, giving birth to a new era at the West London club.

Recalling the first few weeks under the ownership of the Russian, Grønkjær explained the fracas that followed, “Three or four new players were mentioned every single day. New players were arriving all the time, which was funny. We were in Malaysia and one day Wayne Bridge would arrive and someone would leave, the next day Damien Duff turned up, then Geremi, Joe Cole, Juan Sebastián Verón. He bought a whole new team in the space of a few weeks.

The Danish international managed just one more season at the club, before a quite uninspiring transfer to fellow Premier League club Birmingham City, where his impact was that great, the fans named the stand behind the goal after him, as thats where the majority of his crosses finished.

However, he will be forever known at Chelsea for scoring the goal which brought Roman Abramovich’s billions to the club, and of course catapulting us into Europe’s elite, and fourth spot is now no longer considered an achievement.

If you need reminding…. Here is that goal again.

By Brad Smith

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