The stadium announcer cleared his throat and held up his microphone to address the stands. "I'm looking forward to introducing this manager more than the last one," he told the crowd. Stamford Bridge bellowed its approval and the new era was under way.
In the more amorous moments, it was possible to find grown men throwing rose petals to José Mourinho from the stands. Well, not quite. Yet this was an unrelenting love-in and it has been a long time since Stamford Bridge has felt such a contented place. Mourinho milked the moment with some extravagant blowing of kisses (both hands, naturally). Roman Abramovich waved to the crowd and the team played with enough panache in the first half to make sure there was never any danger the homecoming would not go to plan.
On the contrary, they are probably entitled to feel they could have marked the occasion with a proper old-fashioned thrashing given the way they pummelled their opponents in that opening period. Chelsea's pace dropped after the interval. They had started to look a little jaded before the end and, for 10 minutes or so, Hull were even emboldened enough to threaten Petr Cech's goal. Yet the damage was done inside a first half when Chelsea played some wonderful, slick football and the crowd never tired of serenading the returning hero. "The reception was amazing," Mourinho said afterwards, though he did follow that up by saying it was time the Chelsea fans started singing about the players.
Both goals arrived inside the first 25 minutes and the photographers, with their lenses permanently trained on Chelsea's dugout, would have had another of those fist-pumping celebrations if Frank Lampard had not whacked a sixth-minute penalty too close to Allan McGregor. Lampard simply shook his head clear and when there was a chance to make amends, with a free-kick closer to the centre circle than the penalty area, his shot, dipping, swerving and soaring into the top corner, demanded immediate inclusion in his portfolio of great goals.
For Hull, that was probably the first reminder of how brutal this league can be. They will not always be confronted by teams with this speed of thought and movement but there was a telling moment, just before half-time, when Mourinho became engaged in conversation with Steve Bruce and the Hull manager could be seen clasping his hands together and looking to the skies. Bruce looked as though he were praying for some kind of mercy. Afterwards he said he would like to play with 13 men next time – and had just asked Mourinho for Lampard on loan.
Oscar, in particular, shimmered with menace during that exhilarating 45-minute period, playing just behind Fernando Torres but often dropping deep, such an elusive opponent. Kevin De Bruyne slipped seamlessly into the side, Eden Hazard was a constant threat and, though Torres faded after the break, there were other moments that encouraged the sense the Mourinho effect could have therapeutic effects on his Chelsea career. Lampard, meanwhile, played with so much control and authority to remind us how preposterous it was that last season Chelsea were seriously considering not keeping him on. His free-kick came from a good 35 yards and he almost scored again from similar range with another rocket in the second half. What a wretched mistake it would have been to move him on.
Hull were obliging opponents from the moment McGregor charged off his goal-line and clattered into Torres for the early penalty. Bruce said afterwards he felt McGregor might have done better with Lampard's free-kick. Yet the Scotland international, to give him his due, did more than anyone to ensure Hull emerged with some respectability. His penalty save was impressive enough but the reflexes to claw out Branislav Ivanovic's point-blank header just before half-time might have even topped it. In between, Mourinho might have lost count of the number of other chances his team created. All this from a side with Juan Mata, their outstanding player of the last two seasons, on the bench because he is lagging a little in terms of match fitness.
No wonder Bruce was praying. "Thankfully we won't be playing Chelsea every week," he said. "What a difference to 12 months ago. The whole ground was behind them. Everybody was united. Even the owner was waving. A lot of teams would have found it difficult because they will be a force again with this manager. They were incredible in that first 25 minutes." Mourinho said he could rarely remember a better 25-minute period of attacking football.
The breakthrough came after 13 minutes. Hazard instigated the move, cutting in from the left and playing the ball into De Bruyne's feet. The debutant slipped a beautifully weighted pass into Oscar's path and the Brazilian was suddenly running through, stretching out his right boot and poking a shot beyond the oncoming McGregor.
Lampard's free-kick followed a foul from James Chester on Torres – an exaggerated tumble from Torres but a free-kick, nonetheless – and at that stage it was difficult to imagine Hull would get to the finish without more damage being inflicted. The promoted side do, however, deserve some credit for the way they settled in the second half and it needed a fine save from Cech to keep out Curtis Davies's header before all those home-made "Special One" posters came out again at the final whistle.
Man of the match Frank Lampard (Chelsea)