Having been rescued from the brink of oblivion, anything seemed possible and it heralded a new era at Stamford Bridge under Roman Abramovich
Glen Johnson has announced he is retiring from football.
It doesn’t seem that long ago when Chelsea splashed out £6m on a then 18-year-old Johnson, taking him from West Ham to Stamford Bridge in 2003.
That summer was an eventful one for the Blues. Back then, Chelsea were on the edge of a financial abyss, deeply in debt and praying that Champions League football would help the club to stave off oblivion.
Then Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich came to the rescue. It is said he was convinced to buy the club from Ken Bates on 1 July, after the Blues nabbed the final Champions League qualifying spot at Liverpool’s expense with a 2-1 win.
He cleared debt and suddenly, not only were the Blues saved from going to the wall, the club launched an unprecedented spending spree that heralded an era of success to rival the biggest clubs in England and Europe.
Now, fans who had given up supporting the club during its bleaker years, were returning to Stamford Bridge and, as you might expect, success also attracted new supporters.
Take a look at the incredible list of players they signed that summer.