January transfer window signings – Parker the pioneer

On 30 January 2004, a short chapter of Chelsea history was written when the club signed Scott Parker from fellow London side Charlton Athletic.

The previous season the Premier League had joined the rest of Europe’s top divisions in adhering to a transfer window which opened for two months in the summer and then again midway through the campaign in January.

Considering the amount of activity which takes place nowadays during what has become a huge event in the calendar, the first January window came and went without Chelsea signing anyone – and the same thing almost happened again in 2004.

However, the Addicks finally succumbed to Parker’s wish to join a club which was competing for the Premier League title and in the Champions League, and so he became our first-ever signing in the January transfer window.

At the end of that season he achieved another Blues first when he was named PFA Young Player of the Year, an award which had never before been lifted by one of our players.

Since then, our January transfer window signings have, by and large, been relatively successful, with players going on to win silverware and, in some instances, establishing themselves as Blues favourites in the process.

Although Jiri Jarosik and Maniche, two understated but apparently necessary midfield additions in 2005 and 2006 respectively, both did the former without achieving the latter, it was not until the 2008 window that we truly cracked it.