Chelsea reserve goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley explains how he ended up front and centre for the 2004-05 Premier League trophy lift
The former Chelsea keeper also explains an incredible gesture made by captain John Terry for his work that season
It's not everyday an opportunity arises where you get to lift a Premier League trophy, standing right next to the captain when he holds if aloft, so, when it does come around, you might as well take.
Those were the thoughts of third-choice goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley in 2005. Having come through Chelsea's youth system and acting as an understudy to both Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini throughout the indomitable 2004/05 season - a season in which Chelsea accumulated 95 points - Pidgeley finally got his opportunity to make his debut in the final game of that season.
Playing Charlton Athletic at Stamford Bridge and just ten minutes remaining in the game, Jose Mourinho threw on 21-year-old Pidgeley for the first minutes of his professional career, subsequently ensuring he would be a part of the title celebrations after the game, too.
Despite being the third-choice keeper, Pidgeley didn't just accept standing at the back of the squad on the podium for the trophy lift, though. No. Instead, he ran to the front, right next to John Terry with the Premier League trophy in his clutches, and planted himself front and centre of the photo of Chelsea's first league title since 1955.
"Celebrations began and we headed back into the changing rooms, ready to be called out for the trophy lift," Pidgeley explains exclusively to FourFourTwo. "They did it in squad number order.
"Petr Cech was first up, followed by Glen Johnson and everyone else and then finally, No.40, it’s Lenny Pidgeley. By the time that the whole squad had made their way over to 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 right at the front, alongside the skipper, front and centre and giving it large. And then that was in the archives forever: me with my bleached mullet at the heart of the title-winning celebrations as if I’d won the thing myself!”
However, Premier League rules dictated that players had to play in at least five league games that season in order to be awarded with a medal, meaning Pidgeley wasn't actually entitled to some silverware for his mantlepiece.
This didn't stop Chelsea captain John Terry from forgetting about Pidgeley, though. Far from it.
"Playing only 10 minutes, right at the end of the season, made me question whether I deserved any accolades at all, but John Terry especially was determined to underline the importance of the whole squad in success," Pidgeley adds.
"Two weeks after that match, I was at the training ground when he came up to me and said, “Pidge, take a look in your locker”. I went inside, opened it up, and hanging there was a Premier League winner’s medal.
"I wasn’t eligible for one after the Charlton game as I hadn’t made enough appearances, but Terry went out of his way to make sure I got one. He didn’t need to do that."
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Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.