Steven Watt is 28 years old today. Born May 1st, 1985, the Scottish defender came to Stamford Bridge from the Aberdeen FC youth system. Perhaps Chelsea had hoped that some residual Sir Alex Ferguson magic would come along with him. Needless to say, it didn't, considering that Watt is nowadays playing for Maidstone United in the Isthmian League's second tier - i.e. level eight of the English football pyramid - alongside equally ex-Chelsea Jon Harley.
Things were a bit more ... special ... when Watt was 19. Yes, that's a Mourinho reference. In case you were under a rock yesterday, you'll know that The Special One dropped another hint, Hazard-style, about his future destination that may or may not be most certainly or perhaps not at all happening.
But Jose apparently wants to go to a place where he's loved. People seem to think that's Chelsea ... or perhaps Inter. Maybe it's Porto. Then again, maybe it's Maidstone United. For Steven Watt plays in Maidstone and I'd presume Steven Watt loves Jose Mourinho - as not only the man who gave him his professional debut, but the man who named him as a starter in the very first match as Chelsea manager.
It was a friendly and it was in Oxford (League Two) in the middle of July. The Telegraph tried to drum up some drama ("Mourinho gets lesson at Oxford" - get it?) but few cared, especially with WAGNH still six years away (pre-season CRISIS!). The ragtag collection of eleven Chelsea men started in a 4-4-2 diamond formation. So where are they now? Let's find out!
GK - Carlo Cudicini
There was a time not too long ago when Chelsea could easily boast that they had the two best goalkeepers in the Premier League. If not for that dastardly and amazing Petr Cech, Carlo could've easily built his own legend on the backs impressive seasons under Claudio Ranieri, including 2001-02 when he was voted Fans' Player of the Year. Despite the constant competition, he's still third all-time with 101 clean sheets (in just 216 appearances).
Already 30 at the time of Mourinho's arrival*, he continued to play a virtuoso second fiddle to Cech until January 2009, when, as a respect to his loyal nine-year service to the club, he was allowed to leave on a free transfer to Spurs. Alas, a combination of injuries, baffling management - including the preference of Heurelho Gomes - and a Wembley-hero-mode Drogba ensured that Carlo's Spurs career was one to forget.
With the arrival of Hugo Lloris, the now 39-year-old Cudicini saw the writing on the wall and promptly retired to the MLS. Last seen keeping goal for LA Galaxy, with three clean sheets in his six starts so far in this young season.
Holy cow, can you believe Cudicini is 39?!
* There's an amazing parallel that could be had here with Cech (30), Thibaut Courtois, and Mourinho's (potential) second coming.
DL - Celestine Babayaro
Mr. Backflip arrived as a 19-year-old (a club record £2.25m for a teenager) under Ruud Gullit, but rarely ever managed to establish himself as clear first choice left back, facing competition from the likes of Graeme Le Saux and Wayne Bridge. Lasted just six months under Mourinho and was sold to Newcastle United in January.
He struggled to establish himself on the Tyneside and as the injuries mounted, his career went into a tailspin. He tried to reunite with Gullit at LA Galaxy (there's a trend here, Mr. Lampard!), but was cut from the team after just 45 minutes of pre-season action. He retired in 2010, a couple months shy of his 32nd birthday.
DCL - Steven Watt
As mentioned at the top, just 19 at the time. In two appearances, he would play about 91 minutes for Chelsea that season, with the start in the FA Cup against minnows Scunthorpe becoming the first and last highlight of his Chelsea career. One and a half years later, he was sold to Swansea City (then in League One and under the guidance of Roberto Martinez) for a pack of smokes.
Failing to establish himself at the Swans, he went on loan to Scotland before successively falling down the pyramid. At 28 and at a non-league club, it's safe to say that his glory days are behind him.
DCR - Robert Huth
Partnering the 19-year-old was 20-year-old Robert Huth who already had 26 appearances for the first team. While clearly behind the pecking order of Terry, Carvalho, and Gallas, Mourinho rated the young German, sometimes throwing him on as a massive center forward if chasing a goal and famously refusing a transfer bid from Bayern Munich.
But Huth wanted more, understandably, and Chelsea granted his wish in 2006. A £6m move to Middlesborough was followed by a £5m one to Stoke City, whose back line he's been anchoring since 2009. He's easily recognized as the non-crappy/non-legbreakery one of the Stoke defenders.
DR - Glen Johnson
He was 18 when he became the Abramovich Era's first ever signing. He was 19 when he started in Mourinho's first ever Chelsea match. He now wears red and he's dead to me.
DMC - Alexei Smertin
A rather baffling signing in 2003, he spent the first and last of his three seasons on Chelsea's books out on loan. His middle season was Jose's first and he gave the Russian National Team captain, then 29, a hatful of inconsequential appearances.
Smertin had a short stint at Fulham as well, before retiring in 2008. He's since entered politics and even served as vice-president of Lokomotiv Moscow for a short time. He shares a birthday with Steve Watt - hey, that's today! He's 38.
MCL - Geremi
Another seemingly random 2003 signing, although at least he was versatile. Left-sided midfielder was definitely not his forte though. Neither was converting penalty kicks.
Spent time at Newcastle, then in Turkey, before retiring in January 2011, at age 32, while at Greek club Larissa. He's Cameroon's second most capped player of all time and as far as I can tell, he's involved on some level with football in his homeland.
MCR - Scott Parker
At the time, the 23-year-old Parker had the misfortune of having to compete with the likes of Claude Makelele and Frank Lampard for regular playing time, which explains why at least once he ended up playing left wing. Predictably, that didn't work out and he moved on in the summer of 2005, the club selling him for £3.5 million less than the £10 million paid for his services from Charlton Athletic.
When not Torresing spectacularly for Tottenham Hotspur, the 32-year-old RAF Group Captain Scotty M. Parker protects the glory and honor of the Empire.
AMC - Joe Cole
I don't think Joe Cole needs much introduction. He's still active nowadays, on about his third career resurrection attempt, this time back at his boyhood club West Ham United. Joe Cole will turn 32 later this year and that should make you feel about as old as the fact that Cudicini is 39.
FCL - Mateja Kezman
Kezman retired at the end of the 2011 season from BATE Borisov in Belarus. Before coming to Chelsea in 2004, Kezman had scored 172 times in 250 appearances. After that, he had a combined 66 in 235 for a wide variety of teams ranging from Chelsea to PSG to South China.
FCR - Eidur Gudjohnsen
Love, love, love. Part of a deadly duo with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in the early 2000s, Eidur had enough talent to compete and stake a regular claim even against the likes of Hernan Crespo and Didier Drogba. Mourinho also molded him into a rather effective part-time attacking midfielder, and it was this versatile quality that earned the Icelandic hero a move to Barcelona, where he even earned a Champions League medal in 2009.
He's currently playing in Belgium, at fourth place Club Brugge on a six-month contract that expires this summer. Gudjohnsen turns 35 in September.
Filipe Oliveira (for J.Cole) - the now 28-year-old Portuguese attacking midfielder is playing in Hungary for second place Videoton FC.
Filipe Morais (for Geremi) - not to be confused with fellow Portuguese Nuno Morais, 27-year-old Filipe is at Stevenage FC, a crappy League One team, alongside another ex-Chelsea boy Anthony Grant.
Craig Rocastle (for Smertin) - capped twelve times for Grenada, the London-born midfielder is playing in the Greek second division. The 31-year-old is the definition of journeyman, having played for 18 different teams since 2001, including seven matches for the Missouri Comets of the Major Indoor Soccer League. You're a hero, Craig!