It’s not every day you get to lift a Premier League trophy while standing right next to the captain if he stays in the air, so when it comes up you might as well grab it.
Such were the thoughts of third-choice goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley in 2005. After progressing through Chelsea’s youth system and serving as an understudy to both Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini throughout the indomitable 2004/05 season – a season in which Chelsea amassed 95 points – Pidgeley finally got a chance to make his debut in the last game of that season.
Jose Mourinho played Charlton Athletic at Stamford Bridge with only ten minutes remaining. Jose Mourinho threw the first minutes of his professional career at 21-year-old Pidgeley and then made sure he would be part of the title celebration after the match. .
Despite being the third-choice goalkeeper, Pidgeley didn’t just accept being at the back of the side on the podium for the trophy lift. No. Instead he ran forward, right next to John Terry with the Premier League trophy in his clutches, to put himself front and center in the picture of Chelsea’s first league title since 1955.
“The festivities started and we went back to the dressing rooms ready to be called up for the trophy lift,” Pidgeley explains exclusively to FourFourTwo. “They did it in number order.
“Petr Cech was first, followed by Glen Johnson and everyone else and last, number 40, is Lenny Pidgeley. By the time the whole crew had reached the podium, there was no room left and John Terry was about to lift the trophy.
“I thought, ‘I can’t miss this opportunity – let’s get involved’. I just joined the very front, next to the skipper, front and center and gave it big. And then that was forever in the archives: I with my bleached mullet in the heart of the title-winning celebrations as if I had won the thing myself!
However, Premier League rules dictated that players had to play in at least five league games that season to be awarded a medal, meaning that Pidgeley was not actually entitled to some silverware for his mantelpiece.
However, this did not stop Chelsea captain John Terry from forgetting about Pidgeley. Far from it.
“Playing just 10 minutes at the end of the season I wondered if I deserved an honour, but John Terry in particular was determined to underline the importance of the success of the whole side,” added Pidgeley.
“Two weeks after that game I was on the training ground when he came up to me and said ‘Pidge, look in your locker’. I went in, opened it and there was a Premier League winners medal.
“I wasn’t eligible for a game after Charlton because I hadn’t played enough, but Terry went out of his way to make sure I got one. He didn’t have to.”
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