Bayern Munich 1-1 Chelsea (aet; Chelsea win 4-3 on penalties) – Prose to Joy

A little preamble

Football eh? Bloody hell!

Yes, the exact same quote I used for the Barcelona review still stands firm. It was said after the epic final of 1999 by Sir Alex Ferguson and has possibly become as famous as Bill Shankly’s ‘football isn’t life or death, it’s more important than that’ (it isn’t by the way). The grumpy intransigent old goat’s words seem even more apt after the truly remarkable events of Saturday night in Munich. To be honest I struggled with the idea of writing a report during yesterday. I mean how, just how can such a night be captured in words and do justice to the very emotions of the night as the drama unfurled before us? The truth is they can’t. There are no words that can really capture the heaven and hell for all Chelsea fans.

I sit here on the first day of a week off work, a broken man. In bits. Physically aching in every joint. Muscles still locked rigid through tension and the fact that I covered more ground on Saturday night than Bastian Schweinsteiger himself. I’m tired by lack of sleep. My stomach wants me to eat but I can’t. But deep inside, right in the core of my very being… my soul if you like, there is a benign… nay… smug smile that is the very epicentre of contentment and happiness.

And noting that the papers are already running the post-match discontent rumblings already I’ve decided that for this piece I am going to steer clear of chat about coaches, players’ futures, defensive tactics and who wore what on collecting the trophy as best I can.

In light of our achievement this really needs to be a…

…Prose to Joy (apologies to Friedrich Schiller and Ludwig van Beethoven).

The game

The first surprise came with the team announcement that young Ryan Bertrand (as in BERT-RAND, not BERT-ROND – he’s English people!) was to make a start in front of Ashley Cole. A brave decision by Robbie that indicates he doesn’t seem unduly scared to take gambles and to give youth a chance. Outside of that, no real surprises with Kalou, Mata and Drogs leading the line. Mikel, Lamps, Bertrand forming the midfield and Bosingwa, Luiz, Cahill and Cole forming the defensive unit. Was it 4-3-3? 4-1-2-3? Really? Do you think I give a toss? It was simple – 11 versus 11. Us versus them. Plucky Chelsea versus the mighty Bayern, a genuine giant of European football.

Within five minutes of the game starting a familiar pattern started to form. Bayern, as expected came straight at us, and true to our best echo of Mourinho style we let them. This was going to be another display of defensive solidity against a team that for my mind were more dangerous than Barca. Why do I say that? It’s simple really, Barca have no plan B. As we’ve all noted previously, if Barca can’t play through you by relentless tiki-taka ballet dancing bollocks football then they get frustrated. Bayern on the other hand, as one might expect from a German team probably have a plan B and plan C. And as the game progressed through the first half it became an odd mixture between chess and boxing in terms of tactics. We seemed content to keep Bayern at arm’s length, the obvious plan being to hit them on the counter-attack. The one flaw in this plan was that we seemed to leave out the actual counter-attacking bit. As the first half petered out, we can describe our performance as competent. Bayern could describe theirs as ‘on-plan and on-schedule’ but the biggest fact was we had, despite a few scares, managed to survive intact.

Now the second half. My nerves were already in meltdown. The Old Speckled Hen in volume had numbed some of the neural pathways and falsely given the muscles the impression that they could take any punishment and excess I could throw at them. The second half was genuinely going to be different wasn’t it? We were going to throw off the defensive shackles and show Bayern exactly what we could do in terms of attacking. Weren’t we? Within 10 minutes we had the answer. As you were. Chance after chance came from Bayern, even if most might be best described as half chances. The man who had a nightmare versus Real Madrid in the Bernabeu, Mario Gomez, was seemingly intent on showing the world just how crucial it is to bring your shooting boots with you when on the world’s biggest club football stage. Which of course was good for us. As the half wore on, there were signs that we were getting more into the game. Bayern couldn’t keep their initial pace going, no-one could, and we hadn’t tired at all. To my increasingly socially relaxed eyes, we had found the right balance of pace to allow our players to remain physically strong, and with that the all important preservation of mental strength. Still Bayern were the ‘better’ side… for ‘better’ I mean the more attacking side, the one that seemed eager to finish the game and not go beyond the 90 and subsequently into extra time where Chelsea’s strength and remaining reserves would possibly prevail.

On 82 minutes the Chelsea world fell apart. A cross from Kroos found the head of Muller who headed down powerfully and let the bounce bamboozle Cech. I suspect most fans were like me and my brother at this point, resigned to a late goal defeat. In my own house there were two very big detractors from this line of thought. My wife, Helen and my youngest daughter refused to believe that was it. Oh how I felt sorry for their poor naïve delusional outlook. But they rallied us, they cracked the proverbial whips and told us, experienced grizzled cynical old fans, that this was not over yet. Inside I thought, ‘No, Bayern will probably get another.’ During the last 15 minutes Ryan Bertrand had given way to Malouda, ironically our replacement for Robben. Bertrand had battled manfully and a big future beckons for him with us. It’s also worth noting that any doubts about the fitness of Cahill and Crazy David had diminished with each passing minute. Each seemed to be playing through a degree of pain but each had been immaculate in their defensive duties. I have always maintained that Crazy David is the new Carvalho, but he will be better than him. After Saturday it’s hard to find anything that disproves that statement. It’s worth noting that I still have Kalou blindness and when he went off after 83 minutes and Torres came on I sighed with relief. Even on re-watch I can only say that Kalou worked hard. He had one real chance but outside of that, he lost possession in the tackle and gave the ball away sloppily. Within seconds of Torres’ entry we looked sharper and Bayern looked like they’d settled into a premature glow of narrow victory. On 87 minutes a blinding run down the wing by Torres brought about our first corner of the game. Yep, our first corner on 87 minutes. Which says quite a bit about attacking intention.

And then it all changed. Again.

Mata looped in the corner and with what can only be described as a trademark, bullet header the man for the moment, Didier Drogba, rammed home the equalizer into the top corner of the net. I was watching on Sky and if you haven’t heard Martin Tyler’s ‘Drogbaaaaaaaaaaaa!’ scream and Gary Neville’s reaction I urge you to try and seek it out because there is genuine passion in their reactions. I suspect Neville has some blue in his heart somewhere. And while I’m on this, Sky’s coverage was absolutely top notch, without any unscheduled ad breaks and no sudden Tic Tac adverts. Even Jamie Redknapp was bearable. Of course the downside of this was that one thing I had wished for was the game to be over one way or the other by 90 minutes. I had even urged in the Podding Shed that we don’t go to extra-time. And beyond that ABSOLUTELY, DEFINITELY NO PENALTIES!

So, in a real twist of Sod’s Law… what had just happened? For the remaining seven or eight minutes we looked the more dangerous side and Drogba had a chance with a last minute free kick to deliver a repeat cruel blow to Bayern of losing to an English side in the dying seconds of the game. Of course this being Drogba the kick went somewhere close to Row Z. And so, the dread of extra-time and the looming torture of the penalty shoot-out hoved into view. Of course, us being Chelsea, the drama kings of football, we had yet another few twists in the tail. And sure enough four minutes into extra-time the hero of the hour once again conspired to make himself the potential villain with what can best be described as a striker’s defensive tackle on Ribery. On the point of Ribery, has anyone perfected the French peasant look quite like Ribery? Anyway, Ribery went down under apparent sniper fire, won the penalty and the tide looked like turning back in Bayern’s favour. Up stepped Robben to surely drive a nail into our coffin. En route to taking the penalty though, a rather cheeky Mikel Obi whispered into Robben’s ear, apparently the words were ‘You’re going to miss this’. Now I am no psychologist but if this in anyway contributed to Robben’s effort being saved by Cech then Mikel Obi deserves a lifelong contract with us. Dennis Wise would be so proud. Once again the Glover household erupted and once again the hope was killing each and every one of us slowly. And still Helen and Tasha refused to believe we would lose. At this point, a small, very small part of me started to wonder if fate really was with us.

And so the game rolled on until its inevitable stalemate end. Now I haven’t watched a penalty shoot-out. Ever. Not involving England or us. Ever. And so I prepared to walk up the road, fingers in ears, singing loudly. But my path was blocked. A gang of daughters and their boyfriends, my wife, my mate the Pompey fan and my brother formed a wall we would have been proud of. The message? Man up for once. If they were living through it they said, then so was I. And so I sat down… no of course not… I stood pint in hand five feet from the TV as it all happened.

Penalty 1: Philip Lahm strolls to the spot. Strikes the ball. Cech gets a hand to it. Doubt remains for a millisecond as to whether it went in but the Bayern roar tells me all I need to know. We’re doomed. Us in a penalty shoot-out against Germans. In Germany. In their home ground. In front of their home fans. 1-0.

Penalty 2: Juan Mata. My heart sinks remembering his two misses from the spot in the FA Cup this season. It plunges through the floor landing next to Satan himself as Neuer saves. We’re not just doomed now, we’re fucked as well. Shit, still 1-0.

Penalty 3: Maro Gomez. We have a chance because he’s been shocking. But no. Just when it needed him to man up he does exactly that. 2-0 on penalties. Clouds of despair descend on the Glover household. Except for Helen and Tash, the poor deluded innocent lunatics. 2-0.

Penalty 4: David Luiz. Crazy David. Crazy Crazy David. Ball on spot. And Crazy David walks back for his run up. Michael Holding never walked this far back when bowling. But Crazy David is Brazilian and his penalty nearly bursts the net such is the ferocity of the velocity. 2-1 and false hope opens one eye and lifts an eyebrow.

Penalty 5: A delay as uncertainty breathes a waft of its foul stench over Bayern but up steps Manuel Neuer. Keeper vs keeper. Cool as you like Neuer slots it home. Bayern have won. Surely. Their fans think so. Their players think so. I think so. Helen and Tash still don’t think so. 3-1 Bayern.

Penalty 6: Frank Lampard. St Francis of Lampardshire. Super Frank. Goal! 3-2. You just knew Frank would score and he’s lashed one home like Crazy David. 3-2.

Penalty 7. Ivica Olic. The sub for Ribery. His last ever appearance for Bayern. His last ever kick. CECH SAVES! False hope has opened her other eye and has the deed poll form written in the name of Real Hope. Still 3-2.

Penalty 8: Ashely Cole. Ashley Cole? My head is in my hands. Surely the wrong choice. Bang, as cool as you like Ashley slots the ball home with accuracy and power. 3-3. The deed poll request is in the post.

Penalty 9: Bastain Schweinsteiger. Mr Bayern. Mr Germany. The man with the most German of German names. The man who took them to the final. Mr Reliable. And he HITS THE FUCKING POST! Did Cech luff it to the post with the slightest of touches? Who cares. 3-3. The Deed Poll Office have replied already and Real Hope is standing and enveloping all of us with strong arms, pulling us to her welcoming bosom.

Penalty 10: Cometh the hour. Cometh the man. Didier Drogba. Part hero, part villain. The villain in Moscow. The hero tonight and in every Wembley final. One penalty. One shot from glory. One man. One destiny. Helen and Tash are even quiet at this point. I am numb. GOAL, GOAL, GOAL! Real Hope has delivered. The fans went nuts everywhere. We shouted and screamed and drank and screamed and cried.

Chelsea. European Champions 2012. Soak it up my friends. Soak it up.

The epilogue

Once again, I refuse to cheapen or sully this achievement with any ratings. Every man jack played their part in this. Every player, the coaching staff, Buck, Gourlay, Roman and EVERY SINGLE FAN. The players had it easy, they just had to win it. We had to live it. Every single dramatic second. My first ever penalty shoot-out and quite possibly my last. My double-winning shirt which has seen only victories has now been retired. Every omen worked for us. There’s no science or logic to football. It’s all written in the stars (copyright Gary Neville 2012).

So mentions for the fantastic John Mikel Obi, who spent the night putting fires out. Ashley Cole for his best ever game in a Chelsea shirt. Gary Cahill, future captain and a man with a huge heart. Crazy David, the spirit of Borota reborn, the skills of Carvalho. The best haircut ever. Jose Bosingwa, surprisingly solid. Frank Lampard, holding it all together in midfield. Ryan Bertrand who tirelessly tackled and ran. Juan Mata who tried so hard but couldn’t get any real impact in until the corner. Didier Drogba, starved of much service but a man with destiny written all over him. Salomon Kalou, although I can’t think of much, he played some part in the team being a team. Fernando Torres, coming on to get the first corner. Florent Malouda for putting in a solid few minutes knowing it’s his last appearance surely. And big Pete Cech for a massive performance between the sticks just when it mattered. Robbie Di Matteo for bravery, for reassembling a broken team and delivering the biggest prize of all. To see them at yesterday’s parade, to see the joy on the players’ faces. To see a 100,000 strong crowd lining the streets yesterday and to be part of it. To drive from Pompey just to see Old Big Ears and the FA Cup being proudly displayed was a genuine honour.

And some deserving praise to Bayern Munich. Gracious in defeat and fairness in the game. I think much like Manchester United already have, we have forged some friends for life with Bayern.

And so, despite the massive event that’s happened I’ve finally penned something. The broken body will repair. The mind is recovering from the shock and emotions encountered this season. The sphygmomanometer has confirmed all systems blood pressure wise remain stable, somewhat miraculously I imagine. We have had by all accounts the best season ever. Monkeys off backs. So many boxes ticked. The first London team to win the European Cup. Beating Valencia, Napoli, Benfica, Barcelona and now Bayern. Beating a German team, in Germany on penalties. And in a lovely sweet twist consigning Spurs to ITV4 on Thursday nights in the Europa League.

Wear your starred shirts with pride my friends, each and every one of us has earned it. And now please feel free to take a few months off. Be sure to tune into the next Podding Shed as well. Just because the season’s over doesn’t mean we will be stopping our duties as Chelsea fans. After all we have several players going to the Euros!

It’s been emotional.

Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!

The press reports

The Observer, Daniel Taylor: “These are the moments Chelsea will always cherish and never forget. They gave everything and finally, when it was all done, they had the European Cup in their possession and a night that will go straight in at No1 in their list of great triumphs from the Roman Abramovich era.”

The Sunday Telegraph, Henry Winter: “One touch meant so much. One kick from Didier Drogba transformed Chelsea’s present and future. They are champions of Europe, back in the competition as holders, throwing sticks of celery at the dementors who chased them across foreign fields for so long. “I wanted to make Chelsea smile,’’ Drogba reflected. He did. He really did.”

The Independent on Sunday, Steve Tongue: “It was not exactly 1999 all over again but like Manchester United on that occasion, Chelsea were last night partying at the expense of a stunned Bayern Munich, who again felt they had one hand if not their colours on the European Cup. This time a penalty shoot-out was required and for once a German side lost one; blue was the colour after Didier Drogba, with what was almost certainly his last kick for the club, converted the winning kick to complete one of the most extraordinary of his 300-plus Chelsea games.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “Moscow seems a long time ago now as the ghost of 2008 was buried by a penalty shoot-out win for the Blues.”

The goals

83′ Muller
88′ Drogba
Penalty shoot-out

There are 160 comments

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  1. limetreebower

    I shivered as I read this.

    Thank you Tony.

    Might summon up some thoughts later but for the moment I just want to relive the speechless amazement so gloriously recaptured here.

  2. Agh57

    Read. And re-read. Excellent stuff.

    I thought about leaving the room for the penalties. (I did that for some of the Moscow ones) but thought it would set a poor example to my 7 yr old. So I stayed.

    Torres was better and Kalou. He tracked back pretty well this time. Defensively Torres was all over the place against Barca and that may have swayed Robbie’s thinking. Either that or he has a thing for arachnoid based hair cuts.

  3. Desmond

    Great review and reading your penalty descriptions gave me goosebumps again! 
    For some reason, I wore my blue boxers and, like you, watched the shoot-out after giving the Moscow one a miss – and also my wife was the only one who didn’t give up hope. She also said the same thing against Barcelona away when I was ready to go and read a book so I felt that it may just happen…the upshot is that I feel I have banished all my superstitious demons and can now look forward to a new season of creating new ones! Another plus (after the Spud’s demotion…) was the look on Platini’s face when he had to hand over the cup. I felt that he might not let go of one handle.CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!! EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS!!

  4. Cunningplan

    Awesome review, and now I’m going to admit something which I wasn’t going to. I didn’t watch the penalty shootout. I watched the game at my Chelsea supporting friends house which was only two doors away with Mrs CP.

    Once the whistle went I got up and said I can’t do this, and came home, It’s the first time I’ve been a coward and not watched one. I then sat down in front of my PC and stared at the blank screen for a good few mins as I hadn’t turned it on. Then just as I reached for the power button my wife came running back to the house screaming we’ve won it, we’ve won it!

    Well no words can express the sheer exhilaration and relief that oozed through my body, and we both run back over to my neighbours house with BOLLINGER in hand to celebrate. Did I appreciate the finer nuances of Bollinger, hell no, that could have been a cheap bottle of Cava and it would have tasted just as good!

    Still buzzing two days on, it’s going to be a while before this grin disappears, and do I regret not watching the shootout?, not at the moment I don’t!

  5. Day Tripper

    Excellent piece, sir, and enabled me to relive the moment yet again. Just to continue the Beethoven theme, when he wrote the 9th symphony, and thus the Ode to Joy music, he was completely and utterly deaf, which strikes me as the most remarkable achievement in the history of civilisation. Was our victory on Saturday night up there with that? Probably not, and I don’t suppose people will be replaying the video of Drogba’s penalty in 200 years time, but, hell, it felt like it at the time!

  6. Chris Diehl

    Wonderful piece.  What can you say?  I was watching from the city of Chicago in the U.S. at a bar where I was the only one who cared about the game.  But when Drogba’s shot went in and we had won it, I collapsed to the floor of the bar screaming and weeping.  The ultimate prize, the one so many of us had wanted for so long, it is ours at last!  Words cannot describe the feeling; I can only imagine what it was like in London and Munich.  The banner at the game that said, “Chelsea Our Religion” was spot on.  This is what heaven must be like. 

    As an added bonus, you know how they always show the previous year’s winners when they play the Champions League theme before every CL match?  How wonderful it will be to see Chelsea lifting the trophy in that clip before every CL for the next year!

    Blue.  Always.

  7. mark_25

    There are so many memorable moments from the match and indeed the whole knock out phase of the campaign.

    Having now returned home and seen the highlights a stand out momemt was Drog’s penalty preparation. Normal human beings would show some element of fear with the magnitude of the task ahead but Drog’s pre kick routine was to pull up both socks and adjust his shirt, knowing he was about to score the Champions League winner and the importance of looking his best for the photo that will be hanging in homes and cafes for the next 50 years.

    • limetreebower


      When you’re watching a shootout on TV you always feel (accurately or not) that you can tell when someone’s about to miss. Some players are visibly bricking it. Poor Mata looked hideously nervous — no surprise given his age.

      But when Schweini missed — still somehow the most unbelievable thing in our whole implausible run — and I saw that Drogs was next, I actually dared say to myself “I think we’ll be ok now.”

      This is the thing about Drogs, isn’t it: he *loves* it when everyone’s looking at him. It finally makes sense of all the diving and the craziness and the jogging around yakking at teammates and opposition players and referees. He’s a theatrical animal down to his bones. (Has anyone else read about his impromptu dramatic monologue addressed to the Cup in the dressing room after the game? — it sounds fantastically bizarre and brilliant, improv theatre crossed with football.)

      So if there was one player who would actually *enjoy* being in that situation, it’s him. And you could tell from his face that he was in his element.

      When Crazy David took his, on the other hand, you couldn’t help feeling that it could have ended up nearer the corner flag than the goal. But perhaps he’s too bonkers to feel pressure. I’m coming round to the view that he’s actually a muppet. (Not in the colloquially insulting sense. An actual muppet, like Animal or Lew Zealand the boomerang fish thrower.)

      • Cunningplan

        Yes I did read about Drogs intimate 4 min talk to the trophy in the dressing room, which was deathly silent whilst he was doing it. The man is a conundrum, inside a puzzle and wrapped up in an enigma, and he’s ours!

        • Blueboydave

          Though probably not ours for much longer if those “off to China” rumours that are getting another good airing today are to be believed.

          A fine stab at summing up an utterly incredible evening, Tony, and kudos to your family for making you watch the penalty shoot-out. Given our otherwise lousy record in such things you are clearly our lucky mascot and should feel duty-bound to watch all future ones to turn this around.

          The feel bad backlash is gathering pace already, I see, with Lukaku now joining the whingers – but that’s for another day I think.

  8. bluebayou

    Beethoven with a Bayern scarf!

    Well done Tony. There are no words but someone had do grab a shovel and try to fill the hole.

    Superb job and a great read.

  9. Der_Kaiser

    Nice one TG, great read.

    Just back from Germany. An extraordinary, unforgettable weekend – to paraphrase the Bayern banner; their city, their stadium – our cup!

    More thoughts when I’ve caught up on 3 nights of lost kip.

  10. eismcsquare

    So as I said in earlier thread, I stuck to my words, did NOT watch the game, and I knew probably I wouldn’t see Drogba in the blue shirt ever again. And looks like that has become reality.

    One of the Giants of new Chelsea. It’s sad to see him go, but at the same time, what a way to say Good Bye!

    He, the one man theater, the one man goal machine, the one man shattering egos and bones of center backs of the world, the one who delivered the big one, would be missed. But then, he is immortal now!

    Looks like we have just finished the first chapter. Now on to the next. Hope it’s as much exciting thrilling roller coaster as the first one, with more twists and turns, but with even better glory!

  11. John D

    Great report Tony but, unlike you, I thought that the game was moving away from us in the 2nd half.

    I was watching the game in a multi-TV screen pub without my glasses (I wear them due to old age, not for any other reason) and wasn’t keeping track of the time. When Bayern scored I put my glasses on to see how long was left, thinking 15 or 20 minutes…

    Drogba’s bullet header gets better and better with repeated watching – what power and technique!

    And when Drogs had the decisive penalty, I knew he’s score (I’ll even forgive him now for not being in the Moscow shoot-out). Like Chris Diehl posted earlier, I was on the floor when we won – but sinking to my knees holding my face in my hands with joy.

    Lots of Chelsea fans on North End Road seemed to as happy that Spurs were “Channel 5, Thursday night” than us being Kings of Europe (Schadenfraude?), but that certainly added to the enjoyment of our achievement.  Apparantly Sky Sports News ran the caption “Tottenham Hotspur qualify for Europa League” on Saturday night!

    After Moscow I’d feared that we’d never win the ultimate greasy pole that is the Champions League. What a Fantastic feeling to be Champions of Europe!  

  12. WorkingClassPost

    Hardly a minute after Didier’s penalty, the phone rang.

    Surely no coincidence, but who would call on our landline? Anyone wanting me would use my mobile, but unlike most house calls, this must be mine, so I pickup and hear a strange discordant screaming:-

    I can just make out “Shelsea Shelsea Shelsea“!

    Still in post-penalty-shock, I mumbled something before handing the phone over to the missus, for her to make sense of, and then finish, the ‘conversation’.

    Suffice it to say that there are many parts of Brazil where this result went down really well, and it’s significant that those in the home of ‘The Beautiful Game’ know what it means to win, and what winning means’.

    And if Drogs is really leaving, we’d better make sure that he goes to China or wherever, and not to any of our rivals. For my part I hope he stays, I also hope if he goes he continues being Didier and has a great life, I hope mostly, that whoever makes the decision for us, knows what they’re doing.

    I also think that Nick should issue some sort of executive order about who watches when it goes to penalties. In the absence of any such Draconian measures, a wholehearted Bravo to Mrs TG & Co.

  13. chartres

    geeee, I have goosebumps… reading this I have re-lived this shoot out again. What a harrowing experience! I still am not sure how is it possible that we have won, especially after missing the first shot. It’s been blue haze since Sunday morning (Melbourne time 😉

  14. Ososdeoro

    Yet another image. Lampard had the look of a killer-for-hire during his walk-up to the penalty spot. Determined and obviously experienced, you knew he wouldn’t think twice about putting the dagger in you. 

  15. WillEssienReturn?

    Tony, the whole article was beautiful! Your ability to self-edit is remarkable. Especially liked the penalties recap. It totally captured the mood, feel, and emotion of the moment. Very impressive. 

  16. Peter from Adelaide

    Thank you Tony for a brilliant literacy masterpiece…it has recaptured all the emotions watching the game so much so I had a tears in my eyes again as you relived the drama of Drogbas equalizer and the penalty shootout.

    There is so much that has been said already and so much more that will be said about the merits of our win but all that really matters now is the fact we ARE the CHAMPIOND OF EUROPE. Every Cheslea fan can celebrate this moment in out history.

  17. Cunningplan

    Just been doing my final rounds to see what other teams blogs are saying about our victory. And going back to the same Arsenal blog I linked previously, after it was mentioned  on a Spurs blog on how  badly Arsenal fans were taking our victory over some of them. This is the second blog this poor guy has dedicated to our win, it had me laughing and it’s just the cherry on the icing on the top of the cake after a wonderful weekend.

    • WorkingClassPost

      Who said that Arsefans have no sense of humour?

      I guess we all did.

      Yet he’s managed to turn his own delusional obsession, into something for us all to laugh at; although, following yet another Chelsea post, it’s clear that he prefers writing about CFC, more than he does writing about the Arse, and who can blame him for that?

      But, to be fair, that Arseblogger has got a point, and winning isn’t everything.

      For, when the season starts and we begin our challenge for the Title, and get set to defend our brand new European Trophy, and the FA Cup, the joy of being London’s first ever European Champions will surely become a hazy, if still pleasant, memory.

      But, judging by their poisoned reaction to our success, the misery that we inflicted on that sad bunch of losers is likely to grow in intensity, and last a lot, lot, longer.

  18. Petew

    I’ve been trying to explain to people that this has been like an eight-year cup run. The determination in those players was actually frightening, to play so poorly for 83 minutes (and sorry, but we did, we should have threatened them on the counter more despite the suspensions) and then pick themselves up and go and score with a minute to go – it’s remarkable. The coolness in the four penalty takers, who all nailed stunningly good pens (in THEIR ground, at THEIR end, from a losing position), the brilliance of Cech, that amazing goal from Drogba after a nothing of a performance, the considered excellence of Mikel, Cole and Lampard in their defensive duties…

    And massive props to Robbie as well, he made big big calls – the biggest of which was to abandon the league and go all-in on the cups – and they paid off. Fascinating mix of the gambler and the pragmatist, and the players clearly adore him. Tactically, he’s been very good (superb use of Kalou and Bertrand as a defensive shield). He has to get the job, it would be even worse than sacking CA if he doesn’t. Making videos of the players families to show before the game was straight out the Mourinho handbook, shows a real humanity and empathy that is clearly crucial in managing this squad. They are an emotional bunch, they don’t take kindly to technocrats. Look at the way all four suspended players were able to join in the fun and celebrations afterwards, kitted up like part of the team – outsiders mock, but that exemplifies the spirit that won the cup. This squad has a unity that beggars belief.

    So where do we go from here? We still need four or five players by my reckoning (right back, one/two strikers, creative midfielder, wide player), though Buck is now talking about two in/two out which seems scarcely credible.

    If they let Drogba AND Di Matteo go, they are bonkers.

    • Cunningplan

      But Pete, we are bonkers, but it looks like bonkers gets the job done.
      Whatever happens between now and the start of the season, we’ll all just tag along for the ride, smiling here, moaning there as we have no control whatsoever on how the suits work.
      But for the time being I’m just enjoying the culmination of 8 years of Roman’s rule/dictatorship that’s brought us the biggest prize in club football. 🙂

  19. dustylancer

    Agree with PeteW, the match was by far the worst thing to see after the way we played Barca till the 1st goal went in. Kudos to Cole and Mikel for really rising to the occasion. Lamps put in a Ballackesque performance, though we offered little without him being able to go forward thanks to the role he had to play. Kalou was really the weak link but hey, fuck it, it was destined to go the way it went.

    Robbie has to have the biggest balls ever and strangely was discussing the exact same thing with my dad that PeteW mentions, screw Gourlay and Co. and lets just go win the CL.

    Drogs surely will go down as one our greatest diva cum hero.

    As for Matteo anyone have the sickly feeling RA is going to shaft him and hire Pep.

    • Blue_MikeL

      I do believe that Di Matteo is going to get a hefty check as a sign of appreciation and let go to pastures new. I am not saying if it is good or bad. I am just expressing what I think going to happen.  

  20. Benjami

    I don’t feel Di Matteo is the right man for the job. I am scared that in December when we have lost a few games in a row things will get out of hand again and we may press the panic button.

    We cannot afford to miss out on the top 4 again and we were ridiculously lucky this season (though we deserve it, go karma!)

    Don’t forget Di Matteo would have had 1 objective when he was made interim manager and he failed to achieve it, and that was to qualify by finishing 4th or above.

    I say we give it to David Moyes, give him the chance he has earned and a hefty transfer budget. Move RdM up to the director of football or something ;p

  21. Cunningplan

    End of an era with Didier, thank you very much for giving us so much pleasure with your sublime performances and wonderful goals, I think we can safely mention your name along with the likes of Gianfranco Zola.
    May I be so bold to ask/suggest that JD write a fitting tribute (when you get the time), similar to what you did for JM a few years back.

  22. Petew

    Drogba goes and we’re halfway to bonkersville… 

    Moyes over RDM? You’re having a giraffe.

    • mark_25

      but life with Drogba is a roller coaster and he could just as easily go into a sulk next season so isn’t it best for both parties, on the basis he’s nearing the end, that he goes on a high?

      Incidentally, for the sake of name dropping, I sat behind Drogba’s family at Munich and spoke with them after the game.

      • Petew

        I don’t know about this, he’s still such a phenomenal big game player – and his defending set pieces on Saturday in the absence of Terry was incredible. Even if he only turns up ten games a season, it’s the ten games we most need him for. 

        He’s so so hard to replace, given all we have is the wet blanket Torres. It’s like replacing a bull with a chihuahua. He’s also got that strength of character that defines this squad and I wonder how that will be replaced in the dressing room. 

        I’d rather we brought in a new striker this year to complement DD and FT then another next season when DD moves on. Now we need two top strikers, on top of everything else. 

        • Cunningplan

          It sounds as if he wanted to go anyway, he’s won everything at Chelsea, is there anything left for him to achieve? All good things…..

          • Petew

            Well, there’s nothing left for any of them to achieve when you put it like that, so let’s flog the lot and start again. 
            If we gave him two years, he’d have stayed. We will miss him badly next year unless we spend big and spend right in the summer. I don’t have a great deal of faith in our ability to do that. 

          • Blueboydave

            Isn’t the point that The Drog is a 34-year old striker whose game is built on his physical dominance of defenders that has been slowly but visibly waning for the last couple of seasons.

            Surely better to leave us on a high now than see that process accelerate over another 2 seasons, when he can still get silly money in China or MLS where his decline will be less exposed and he won’t have his bum parked on the bench for half the season?

            I particularly like this “love letter” tribute posted on WAGNH a couple of days ago:


            and I have my fully updated 4-page “Drogba:The Story So Far” of his love/hate comments about CFC over the years to treasure.

  23. Guest

    I doubt RDM gets the job. The squad must still be rebuilt while remaining competitive and Roman’s craving for attacking football is still on the agenda, and I’m not convinced that RDM is the best available candidate for those tasks. He and the squad performed miracles after AVB got canned, but it is not that unusual for the squad to raise their game after managerial reshuffle. Also we have a history of not giving interim managers the job.

    And does RDM really want the job, he can now retire on a high note much like Drogba, and by leaving now he would also avoid all the Pep-talk after the first bad result..

  24. bluebayou

    I wrote this after Drogba’s performance against Valencia (3-0), little realising quite how much he (and some of the others notably Lampard) had left to give.

    “To me the ground only just about filled and lacked the intensity of big European nights. And given recent form and the possibility of Europa League Thursdays, I thought this was a big European night. Down in the Matthew Harding Lower it might, of course, have sounded very different, from where I sat the atmosphere seemed less than intimidating.

    You couldn’t say that about Drogba.

    After three minutes he had the opener and went on to give the sort of display that reminded us all just what a fabulous player he has been for Chelsea. Perhaps the changes in the modern game have fractured the emotional bonds that place players like Osgood and Dixon so close to our hearts. The difference in wealth between player and fan may mean that we never quite believe in the legend any more, but mercurial and unpredictable as he can be, Drogba is a diamond.

    It’s easy to forget the injuries and malaria that have beset him, but I think it’s no coincidence that with a run of games under his belt, with some condition returning, he was capable of turning in the powerhouse display we got from him last night. Of course he will go on to frustrate and annoy, age means his powers will wane, but I’m glad I was there, if only to see it one more time and to know it’s still in him. It wasn’t the memory playing tricks, or stories retold and embellished, we really have been privileged to watch one of the world’s great front men ply his trade.

    And it wasn’t just Drogba emerging from the graveyard of reputation. It was like the Night of the Living Dead out there. Terry, calm, composed, Cole, steady if a little short of pace on occasion, Luiz focused and incisive, Ivanovic concentrated and Villas-Boas showing that he can change and adapt to the needs of the moment. Even Malouda, Mikel and Torres got on to put in their cameos.

    The only lid that stayed firmly shut, the only box that didn’t creak open was Lampard’s. He remained entombed. But he’ll return.”

    There’s little left to add other than thanks to a modern Chelsea legend. Like PeteW I wonder how he will be replaced, but in a different but equally selfish way I’m happy that he he has chosen such a moment. It has been pure theatre and his exit merely adds that poignancy to it all. As a Chelsea fan, there can be no fall from grace whatever he does elsewhere.

    And like all great stories, it can’t be happy ever after. There have to be sad partings because that is how life is. So best to part when it’s bitter sweet.

    As with any great showman, always leave ’em wanting more.

    Adieu mon brave!

  25. WorkingClassPost

    Please, please Didier, don’t stay in the PL, or even in Europe for that matter.
    Go to China, or USA, or anywhere that means you won’t line up against us.

    Of course, there’s always the World Super Cup, or whatever it’s called…

    Oh, and the very best of luck. 

  26. Agh57

    I’m glad he’s chosen to go now. In big games this season he’s been immense and we probably wouldn’t have won the Champions League without him. That said, for some reason he’s not been as effective in League games this season.

    I think the timing of this is right for all concerned. He will quite rightly be remembered as a legend. I get the impression from all of this that he wanted to go any way. (For once) I don’t get the impression that he was forced out by Gourlay and co. His charity work is important to him and I’m sure I’ve read that he gives away 50% (or similar) to his various charities in the Ivory Coast. It may be that he fancies the move to China (should he end up there) because he’s won all he can in Europe and sees it as one last boost to all his all the earnings he gives to his charities.

    This is all my assumptionn anyway.

  27. Fiftee

    On Saturday – I can add nothing of note. I keep watching the recording I’ll keep until my Sky box dies. Emotional doesn’t come close.

    On RDM – sentimentally, I want him to be given a chance. But I can envisage next season going exactly like this under him and we find ourselves looking – again – to replace him. I think we’re after more of a ‘name’. Just don’t want Capello.

    On Drogba – I never appreciated him as much as some of you. His theatrics annoyed me, on occasions I felt he looked disinterested and wasn’t pulling his weight. Saturday made me forget that and simply love him. He’ll be sorely missed. We’ll try and replace him this summer (unless Lukaku is chucked in) but it’ll be a while until he’s truly replaced, if ever. Thanks DD.

  28. Dannybrod51

    Thanks for that bluebayou, I’m in bits now, and I don’t cry easily. I’ve seen every centre forward we’ve had from Barry Bridges on, but no one, not even Ossie (who I idolised as a young man), was as good as the Drog. I’d love him to get a testimonial.

    King of Wembley. Champion of Europe. Always a Blue.

  29. limetreebower

    I get the impression that the overall reception of Drogba in England is rapidly changing, too. In the Mourinho years he was known as a big strong flakey temperamental diver whom oppo fans hated almost more than anyone else at the club — in other words he was a victim of the classic “African” sterotyping. He was “athletic” but “unreliable.”

    But my sense is that he leaves with a reputation as one of football’s more interesting and admirable personalities, an extraordinary big-game performer but also someone whose curious charisma transcends the game. My guess is that he would be way down everyone else’s lists of Most Loathed Chelsea Player, whereas six or seven years ago he’d have been top.

    It’s somehow entirely characteristic of him that his last game for the club will have made him a legend. No one will remember the lowlights.

    I’ll miss him. Compare him to a personality vacuum like Shearer and you immediately realise what the word “legend” ought to mean.

    But I think it’s the right decision for everyone.

    And much as I’d love to see Robbie stay, I can understand why it’s not an automatic appointment. The job of the next Chelsea manager will be absolutely nothing like the job required over the last eleven weeks. Plus, of course, the next Chelsea manager will be fired within 21 months (tops), and Robbie deserves better than that.

    • Der_Kaiser

      I shall be penning my thoughts on a remarkable weekend some time soon, but in Drogs I think in many ways we’ve watched the development of football’s very own Mohammed Ali over the course of his career here, especially in the last few weeks. Inspiration, leader, philanthropist, legend. All over-used words, but not in his case.

      We really won’t see his like again. A one-off who I’ll be sad to see depart, but delighted at the high he went out on. Brilliant player, brilliant man.

  30. Benjami

    He was an absolute legend even before we became Champions of Europe.

    I hope in a few years time when he has finished his footballing career we offer him a job as ambassador of football for Chelsea, with a role involving 50/50 split between charity and helping the club. Or something like that ;p

    Great man, would love to bump into him in the future and have a chat with him.

    I always remember seeing him score one of his early goals for the club, I can’t remember if it was at SB or Wembley, but I think it was versus Arsenal, the goal was a complete mess and it eventually went in off his knee. He ran off celebrating like he had scored the greatest goal of all time, to think I was scoffing him at that point ;p How wrong was I!!

  31. WorkingClassPost

    Apologies for not posting this earlier, but I’ve only just got round to the CL Podding Shed and your song quiz reminded me of this track, which few of you may have heard.

    So, in the spirit of better late than never, this is for Didier, The Team, and everyone who made it to Germany, you’re all heroes.

  32. WorkingClassPost

    Has the world gone truly mad?

    Those last two links can’t be real.

    One has an honest and humble scouser, and the other has a club (ours) which has learned not to repeat the mistakes made with Nico and others, but instead allowed DD the opportunity to take centre stage and say what he needs to say, rather than let rumour and innuendo prevail.

    Next we’ll hear that Robbie’s been invited to make a presentation to the board, outlining his plans on what he will do and where he will steer the team, if he gets the job.

  33. eismcsquare

    I might be repeating myself, but I am glad to see Drogba go out in the best possible time in the best possible way.

    He said his blood is blue, that he won’t ever play for another english team. He won the trophy we all wanted for so long. He paid his debt to the club and the fans many times over. What’s left to play for? He is 34. He knows he can’t play full season and carry the club on his shoulders like he has done so many times. The club knows it. We know it too. Legends know when it’s time to say Goodbye. He certainly does.

    We will cherish the memory for a long time, knowing that we witnessed the most complete striker of his generation.

    Also, I think this is the best time to reboot the club. Not by getting rid of the rest of the seniors, but rebuilding the team with a long term strategy in mind. No more spontaneous big buys, no more instant hiring and firing, but bringing in fresh blood around the winners. We already have talented young players waiting in the wing for a while now.

    This is the time to do it!

  34. NorthernVA

    Jose Mourinho said, “Judge him (DD) when he leaves this club.” How apt are those words now. I’m in bits at the moment but serene at the same time. At a point when many believers wrote him off he still provided the goods to silence the critics of our greatest generation of players. Nevermore can that stick to be used to hit CFC, Roman, or them over the head.

    Didier Yves Drogba Tebily in a word. Perseverance. He could have left last summer or January and still have been a legend in not only my eyes but those of many other supporters. I’m sure Barca or Real would have given him a roster spot. But he persevered and bode his time.

    There is that saying that if you can’t beat them join them. Is that what defines a legend? That chap who the Gooners call a legend and currently have emblazoned in bronze outside their stadium should take heed from our Drogba. True legends stand pat, take on all comers, and find a way.

    Didier Yves Drogba Tebily in a word. Legend.   

  35. Petew

    I remember seeing DD against United in his first game and thinking what the hell have we got here? He barely seemed able to control the ball, but then set up a goal with a deft header.

    It took a while to appreciate him. For a long time, Chelsea fans were getting behind Kezman more than they were Drogba. I was won over at the League Cup final against Liverpool. He’d just come back from injury but put in an epic shift, winning everything, running tirelessly, working so hard for the team by making space in the opposition. That was the game when I knew we would win the league. We were fantastic. 

    A few near me gave him stick that day, called him lazy the first time he failed to win a header, and a few fans continued to give him stick throughout his career, too easily confused by the occasional theatrics and failing to appreciate how extraordinarily difficult it is to play the role he did, a striker all alone against an entire defence for 90 minutes twice a week. But I think midway through the second season people were being won over, and then he exploded when Shevchenko was signed – Cup finals, Arsenal and new arrivals always seemed to bring out the best in him.

    He was the complete modern centre forward: amazing in the air, two footed, great anticipation, strong, skilful, a terrific touch and so bloody minded it’s untrue. The only player in England to come close is Rooney, who is probably a marginally weaker player but a more consistent one. 

  36. Cunningplan

    I thought that after the news really had sunk in, I would attempt a tribute to our number eleven on this blog.
    I’m not the most eloquent of writers, and I know there are a few on here who could do far more justice to the great man than me.

    Where do you start with the 157 goals he scored for us, some simple finishes, some miss hit finishes, and of course some of pure genius, especially that goal at the bridge against Liverpool where he left Carragher and Reina scratching their heads in disbelief. Yes that was one of my favourites along with a similar one he scored against Barcelona when we beat them 1-0 in the group stages. No doubting he was the scourge of many teams defenders and fans, just like Cantona and Henry were for Utd and Arsenal. I’m sure if Chelsea fans were asked today who was the greatest player to wear the blue shirt, I have a feeling that Didier would top our Italian magician Gianfranco Zola.

    We all know that he also had a  frustrating and infuriating side, ‘drama queen’ sometimes doesn’t come close in describing him. He would have me cursing his antics when he looked like he’d been shot, his limping and facial grimaces may have been justified at times, (and they were) but for a big man to act the way he did just didn’t do him any favours. But who said footballers or human beings for that matter are perfect, we all have traits that we’re not proud of, and why should Didier be any different.

    It’s nice to see that fans of other teams and the media in general, are now realising the enormity of his footballing skills, and what the premiership will be missing. I know as Chelsea fans we’re going to miss him, and as far as how do we replace him? quite simply we can’t. To me he was just the complete footballer, he could attack and defend with equal ferocity and there aren’t many fooballers you could say that about.

    As JD quite rightly mentioned above, we have perhaps created and developed the footballing version of the great Ali. I honestly believe that football may well have been a side show for Didier to go on and do real good in his beloved country, and eventually become president.
    What a fitting testament that would be from his humble begginings, to footballing stardom, and then to actually make a difference, but that’s a disccusion and topic for another day.

    My abiding memory of his time at Chelsea will be that penalty kick in Munich, where he admitted he felt relaxed and confident. He wanted to bury the ghost of Moscow when he was sent off and didn’t take the penalty he should have.

    Yes that long walk from the halway line to the Bayern end, his last and most important kick for our club which reduced many to their knees and to tears, will live long in my memory of sporting greatness.
    What more could you ask of any footballer, or man.

    • NorthernVA

      “I’m not the most eloquent of writers, and I know there are a few on here who could do far more justice to the great man than me.”
      Excuse me CP but a have to call BS on that statement. You definitely made the eyes water up a bit. Two day after I said I wouldn’t! Very well said my friend. Poignant and definitely eloquent.

      • Cunningplan

        Thanks as for the kind comments as well, but I still stand by my original line, there are quite a few on here who could have written it much better, and they know who they are. 😉

  37. mark_25

    Since I sat two rows behind Didier’s family in Munich, and spoke with them after the game, it’s difficult for me to be wholly objective since I’m now part of his inner circle, but on balance I think Didier has made the correct decision to leave.

    Didier has given us highs and lows.  He could have stayed for longer but next season could have been a low.  Even as recently as the semi-final against Spurs fans near me were screaming for him to be taken off because he was a lazy and disinterested ****er.  Fortunately he stayed on and five minutes later he was rolling off Gallas in his trademark chest, revolve and strike motion to put us into the lead with a thundering unstoppable shot past poor Carlo.

    With the highs of the last few weeks my lingering memories of Didier will be the goals against Spurs, Barcelona and Munich, the effort he put in at Barcelona away as a stand in left back and of course the penalty, as he adjusted his socks and shirt to look perfect for his final strike of a ball in a Chelsea shirt.

    We can all wave goodbye to Didier on the best of terms as he strolls into the sunset, head held high, to build hospitals and other good deeds in the Ivory Coast.

  38. limetreebower

    I love his quote to the effect that “I’d come back and mow the grass at Chelsea if they asked me to.”

    Make him a groundsman! That would make Patrice Evra think twice next time.

  39. WorkingClassPost

    Top Drog, for sure, and interesting that he made such a point in the interview about learning from his mistakes. 
    How many footballers, or people in general, can really say that?

  40. Murdoch MacDonald

    I would like to thank the managers of this blog, and all of you who have contributed to it over the years, for having given me so much interest, pleasure and enjoyment.

    I have been a staunch Chelsea supporter for nearly 60 years (soon be my Diamond Jubilee!) and well remember our first First Division Championship.

    My father used to take me to Stamford Bridge as a child. I think Frank Blunstone was one of my favourite players, and we also saw Stanley Matthews towards the end of his career, but still a great footballer.

    Since then, much of my life has been spent in Scotland, so have never returned to SB, and there is little (terrestrial) television coverage of Chelsea up here.

    But I have always followed the rollercoaster fortunes of Chelsea, and particularly remember the 1970 Cup Final against Leeds
    Last Saturday I watched the match almost all the way through, including the penalty shoot-out, and I would like to think that my father was there in spirit as well.

    It feels a bit like the end of an era, but also, hopefully, the start of a new one.

    Whatever the future holds, here in sunny Ayrshire by the sea I will still be following Chelsea, and reading what you fellows write about what is happening.

    As everybody seems to say on the radio, great show chaps – keep up the good work!

    Kind regards,

    Murdoch MacDonald.

    • GrocerJack

      Mr Murdoch MacDonald – that is a fantastic message to all at Chelseafcblog Towers and The Podding Shed Studios. We’re very lucky to be fans of such a great club and comments like this genuinely mean a lot to us. 

      • NorthernVA

        I forgot to mention the other day well done on the match report. I was particularly tickled by the shield your wife and kids made to force you to watch the shootout. Did you or anyone else notice Frank’s face on his walk up? I think his expression is what they mean by the term British stiff upper lip. That was the moment that I felt we would pull it out. 

        I think I read this blog for a year before I ever had the stones to post. I echo Mr. Mac Donald’s sentiments. The work you and the other members of the “Old Guard” of this site do should be commended. It’s amazing to see the world wide readership of this blog that I stumbled upon a few years back. It’s even better to know that there is a place meet up with others suffering from that affliction you cleverly described as supporting CFC.

        Are we to expect any summer installations of the Podding Shed or does everyone need a well needed break?

        • GrocerJack

          Morning (well it is here anyway) – thank you for the kind comments.

          Now on The Podding Shed front, we are planning the next one for Sunday, so ready for Monday at all the usual places and then afterwards I am guessing we’ll try and continue weekly although it may be shorter as we may have less current activity to discuss. Having said that, the good Doctor has suggested that’s the ideal period to try one or two other things, specific CFC  subjects or fan stories etc. Plus of course we have players in the Euro’s to watch as well.  

          So lets see what occurs. We obviously also hit the main UK holiday period and I for one will be away for a weeks golf during the Euro’s second week. As well as 3 weeks in France during August which means my customary missing the first game or two of the season. 

          • Cunningplan

            Will look forward as per usual to the podding shed after our recent historic win.
            But true to my dislike of all things to do with International feetball, I shall not be watching any of it.
            My summer shall consist of Formula 1, the Olympics and some cricket at the county ground in Taunton, happy days!

          • bluebayou

            I don’t recall seeing any request forms for annual leave? Did you clear this with the management?

  41. Blue_MikeL

    downloaded all the games from Napoli till the final. Watching them practically every evening and probably going to do it for many years forward. 

  42. Dylbo Baggins

    Certainly not a reflection on this piece of writing but, despite reading all the comments, I just can’t bring myself to read the final blog.

    I just want to hold on to this for a little bit longer

  43. blueshy

    In the 150 goals from Drogba video, there are a couple of goals against Arsenal, see how the gooners fall off. its incredible!! I thought I saw 4  or 5 players just give up and bow down to the Drog, its hilarious, and makes my chest swell with pride, he was a gladiator, a true gladiator, fought all the way, kept his word, finished his job and knows he should move on and conquer newer horizons, have had a Drogs jersey since 2006, will cherish it.

    • Blueboydave

      Hopefully talks about whether, if Malouda waves his CL winners medal in some club’s face, they might be dazzled enough to give us a transfer fee and let us be rid of him?

        • Jonty 1

          According to todays Daily Wail Gourlay wants to sign Lampard,Essien and Malouda on long term deals by mid september.Better start looking for another club Josh,Piazon et al.! 

          • Blue_MikeL

            Really strange, really. Essien is a shadow of player he was, Malouda even hasn’t got shadow. I don’t object Lamps, if it is not every week 90 minutes he still can cause damage. However, why these two, I clearly don’t understand.  

  44. Ryan

    I suspect that (rightly or wrongly) the club are trying to avoid making the same mistake they made when letting Deco, Ballack and Belletti go and leaving the squad far too thin. It might not be great to hear but I don’t think McEachran or Piazon are ready. If McEachran had gone to Swansea and actually got into the team I might think differently. Nothing against either player. I think they could both be world-class but not yet. For all that I’m not particularly excited about keeping Malouda. Essien deserves a last chance but probably just going to be a squad player. Time will tell.

  45. Gleb

    Hello everyone! I won’t go into any detail about the 19th of May is probably the happiest day of my life, you all know the feeling. I’ve never once had experienced such an emotional impact.

    I want to point out something else, though. Strangely enough, and of course I might have missed it altogether given my very busy schedule (Master’s thesis, driver’s license, getting a job), but neither here, not anywhere else have I seen at least a single mention of Jose having to do something with our victory.

    All things considered, I think it’s HIS third Champion’s League title. Just imagine: to build such an incredible team that even years after you leave they’ll keep winning top titles. Because of you. Sure, we’ve had a number of great players come in since his departure, and RDM has done an amazing job. I’m not trying to detract anything here. But as I said, this one’s for them history books… Imagine… I’ve never seen anything like this before. Has this even happened in the history of football? Or is it just my sentimental take on the events? Has there ever been a glorious team with a genius of a manager that went on – almost unchanged – to win titles long after his departure, playing exactly the same football, with – reasonably – exactly the same players, and – most importantly – his, and only his, signature never-say-die attitude?

    Whatever you think of Jose, I think he deserves credit for this more than anyone else (bar the players, of course). I think someone from Chelsea FC should come out and acknowledge that.

    However, I think this victory – ironically – has also finally buried the ghost of Jose, once and for all. We can now be totally at peace. It’s a strange feeling. Whatever happens next… doesn’t really matter, does it? We’ve done it. That’s it. Up next is a whole new story of building a solid club foundation for centuries to come. Of course, we should do our best to avoid the fate of some “lucky” UCL winners who have since then faded into oblivion. I’m sure we won’t, though. Cause we’re Chelsea.

    • Blue_MikeL

      I am probably not the first one to observe it, but his English is much better when he is drunk 🙂 

  46. Dylbo Baggins

    According to BBC Pep said the following:

    “I will receive all calls with pleasure, but for the next month I have to recharge my batteries and my mind.”I will be ready [to return] if one club wants me and seduces me.”Reckon he thinks the pressure is off a little bit now that we have won the cup?

    • Blue_MikeL

      I can only second your motion.
      Corrupted motherfucker, he is without any doubts! Football is tragedy, when Chelsea wins, quickly change rules. When Germans were wining on penalties it wasn’t a tragedy. I wish you to rot in hell, bloody hypocrite!    

  47. bluebayou

    There have been penalties in major competitions since the 70’s. Sepp Blatter has headed up FIFA since 1998.

    Only now does he see the “tragedy” of penalties.

    What this tells us is how far removed Chelsea are from the cosy club that runs European and World club football.

    No tears were shed on our behalf after Moscow.

    No tears were shed when Bayern beat Madrid. Two members of the “club”, one had to lose.

    I’d say our winning of the big one is as popular with the FIFA and UEFA family as that of Steaua Bucuresti or Red Star.

    But hey that’s their problem.

    • Der_Kaiser

      Anything that Sepp Blatter is in favour of, I’m against.  

      He’s come up with this at least twice before – no-one listened then either.  All the stats freaks are out with the ‘number of corners / possession percentages / chances created’ arguments, some less veiled than others in their conclusion that had that been the case, we probably wouldn’t have been at the final anyway.

      Why don’t they go the whole hog and invite each club’s accountant onto the pitch at extra time to duke it out with balance sheets?


      Whatever they do, they can’t take that away.

    • Cunningplan

      That’s what I meant, and wanted to say really… but the voices in my head made me swear.

  48. Cunningplan

    And the added irony of it all, because a German team has lost a penalty shootout in a final for once, Blatter wants Beckenbauer to sort it.
    Does it mean that all German penalties will count as double from now on?

  49. bluebayou

    Just happened on this when reading about the recently departed Southern writer Harry Crews in the Paris Review (well whaddya expect – I have shopping delivered by Waitrose) during my lunch break:

    On sports: “The thing about sports, if you tell me you got 4.2 speed in a forty, we’ll just put some watches on you. If you tell me you can bench four hundred pounds, we’ve got a bench and we’ve got four hundred pounds. You cain’t bullshit.”

    I don’t suppose Sepp reads Harry Crews or the Paris Review or shops at Waitrose

  50. WorkingClassPost

    The only tragedy is that Blatti and Platti have still got jobs in football.

    And another thing. 

    After winning it didn’t seem worth bothering with, plus we’ve got used to it by now, but my memory of the final is that we had quite a few opportunities given as fouls, when we won the ball in good positions. 

    It happened most to DD, but probably the best chance was denied to Torres, who was just too quick and strong, skipped round his defender and was inside the box, with Didier (I think)  waiting for a pass in front of goal to finish the game before penalties.

    FT then got booked for his understandable dissent.

    I know that if’s and but’s mean little, but it should be no surprise, given our experiences with referees, that we went into batten down the hatches mode during that match.

  51. Cunningplan

    Perhaps an alternative to a penalty shootout would be a one on one, the player runs from the halfway line with the ball but the keeper has to stay in the 18 yard area to stop him.

    Of course if the keeper fouls the attacker, then he’s sent off and a penalty is awarded. 😉

    • bluebayou

       Isn’t there an annual compettition where the prize is awarded for the computer programme that can fool the judges via it’s conversation into believing that it is human?

      That interview is a good effort but the answers are obviously generated by a sophisticated software programme.

  52. WorkingClassPost

    What about an Ant and Dec type of phone-in with Blatti and Platti, called the ‘A Team Factor’.

    They could charge £1 a call, and if they don’t like the result, they just close the lines (but still take all those quids).

    Perhaps they might persuade Simon Cowell, or someone who knows even less about football, to be a judge and declare the result in favour of whoever looks the prettiest.

    Maybe we dispense with the football altogether, and just award votes for who can do the most step-overs and back-heels in a given time?

  53. WorkingClassPost

    I’m heading off to watch the Coppa del Rey in a mo.

    Not sure what my reaction will be if Blatti’s in the crowd and he gets a camera close-up…I’ll either burst out laughing, or throw up.

    Better try to sit near the door, just in case.

  54. Ryan

    According to teletext Hulk is in discussions with Chelsea. Not seen this reported anywhere else. I know his agent has been talking up the move but hadn’t realised things had reached this stage. I do think Hulk would be perfect for the PL.

    I have one nagging question that maybe someone can help me with. If we were to buy say Hazard and Hulk they’d play left and right of the 3 (in our 4-2-3-1) with Mata in behind presumably. Would that leave us with the same problem we had under AVB? Apparently Ashley Cole’s training ground bust-up with him centered around his (AVBs) inability to recognize that playing Mata and Sturridge in those positions left the full-backs far too exposed as neither can defend. Coupled with a high line it was a disaster. Di Matteo fixed that problem by playing Kalou and Rami in those positions. That solution was pivotal in turning the season around. Whoever is the manager next season they need to work out tactically exactly what we’re going to do to avoid anymore disasters. RA obviously doesn’t want us to continue playing the same way we have since Robbie took over but it concerns me that we are (possibly) buying players before we’ve appointed a manager. I’m still not sure that the style of play RA craves will be easy to adapt to the PL and it will take someone very special to make it happen. Answers on a postcard?

  55. Harry

    Jorge Ramos on 24th
    May 2012, on ESPN Soccernet Video “Jorge V Tommy Smith” criticized Chelsea FC
    as the worst team in CL he has ever he has seen; Jorge went on to say Athletic Bilbao
    plays great football and it has a fantastic coach by  the name of Bielsa, blah blah, blah. Today in Copa Del
    Ray, Barcelona defeated Athletic Bilbao. There you go Mr. Ramos, Atlántico
    Bilbao got stuffed! So much for attractive football! Perhaps by attractive
    football Mr. Ramos means, as long as Barca wins, football is attractive! Mr.
    Ramos Chelsea fC and its players are no mugs and that is why Chelsea FC is
    champion of Europe.

  56. Harry

    On numerous occasions and for unknown reasons misspelling, excess words, commas, and spaces have crept in comments that I have posted on this web blog. I am not sure how Chelsea FC web blog is maintained, however, I do know my comments before they are posted are always thoroughly checked in MS words. I urge who ever is in charge of maintaining this web blog to make sure discrepancies as such are eliminated from future participants’ original posts.

  57. Cunningplan

    As much as we’re all celebrating our European Final win, let us spare a thought for the backlash it’s caused and poor old Engelbert Humperdinck. 😉

    • WorkingClassPost

      Poor old Humpadick should get the ArsePR to work on his result.

      It would probably then be seen that he got the same result as us in our final i.e., 2nd to last.

      Of course there were only two competing in Munich, which means that… 

  58. The Podding Shed #17: We Are the Champions of Europe « Chelsea Football Club « English Club´s « Club News

    […] The Podding Shed #17: We Are the Champions of Europe Posted by Feedy on Mai 27, 2012 Posted in: Chelsea Football Club. Leave a Comment Anúncio OnlineHotel document.getElementById("oh_ads_114").style.display = "none"; In an extended three part episode our toilers on the allotment of life discuss Chelsea’s remarkable defeat of Bayern Munich in last weekend’s Champions League final. […]

  59. Ryan

    Don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up (or piss you off-depending how you feel about this!) but I’m hearing a LOT that CFC have won the race to sign Eden Hazard. Considering he is as secretive about transfers as the CFC board it’s hard to know what to believe but… Paddy Power have suspended betting on Hazard joining Chelsea. In my experience that means the cat is out of the bag. Louis Saha apparently announced on twitter that Hazard is set to join CFC. Hazard himself has said that he now knows where he will be playing next year. He declined to specify but all the arrows are pointing in one direction at this stage. The fact he has said he knows, coupled with a few other clues means this endless transfer could be drawing to a close. Expect to see Hazard complete his medical ahead of Belgium vs. England. What do we think?

  60. Ryan

    Also now hearing that Hazard is not with the Belgium squad and there will be an announcement at 5pm today. Is he having a medical at Cobham?

  61. Ryan

    I also just realised (last post on this topic I promise). Announcement at 5pm. Blues News Headlines Today scheduled for 5pm. Skybet have gone 1-6 from 6-4 on Hazard to CFC.

      • Ryan

        Yeah or Micky Hazard is coming out of retirement. I’ll believe it when I see it on the official website. Probably City’s!

  62. Der_Kaiser

    In the spirit of all things Eden Hazard, I would like to announce that: 

    a) I shall be leaving the office shortly 
    b) I will then collect my daughter from her grandmother’s
    c) I shall be having a lovely piece of aged ribeye for my supper
    d) I really couldn’t give a flying feck whether Eden bloody Hazard signs for us, Grimsby Town or Anzhi Makalalalalachi or whatever they’re called.

    If we do get him, he’d best be very very good because he’s certainly an irritating little twonk.

  63. limetreebower

    He does seem to be a fair distance up himself. Unpleasantly reminiscent of the Robinho kerfuffle.

    On the other hand, he’s doubly good for the headline writers. Eden in Paradise! Chelsea Take A Chance On Hazard! yawn yawn etc

    I’m in favour of signing him just because the Mancs wanted him. I think we should swoop for that Belgian central defender who loves Spurs too. After all we have a Reserve league title to defend. (Or regain, or something.)

  64. mark_25

    I’ve got bored of following this now.  I’ve written a script to parse Eden’s Twitter feed and if it finds the phrase “I’ve signed for Chelsea” it will automatically send a signal to the house burglar alarm, via Wi-Fi, to let me know.  Obviously I don’t want to disturb the neighbours so it doesn’t invoke the siren, just the flashing light.

  65. TrueBlue007

    Team for next season?:
    CechVan der Wiel – Luiz – Terry/Cahill – ColeLampard/ Mikel – Essien/ Mereles

    Hazzard – Mata – Hulk






    Van der Wiel – Luiz – Cahill – Cole

    Ramires – Lampard – Mikel – Hazzard



    Not too shabby … 

  66. Ryan

    Hulk is on his way to CFC! Subject to his medical looks like he’ll be announced along with Eden Hazard some time after tonights England vs. Belgium friendly. £38million is being reported however due to Hulk’s likely, very reasonable, wage demands the eventual total cost of the transfer will probably not seem quite so astronomical. Now we just need to locate a world-class, deep-lying playmaker and a RB.

    And what was the other thing? I just can’t quite put my finger on it… Errr… Oh yeah sort out the manager!!! I’m starting to think two things. Either we leave Robbie in place, which could be extremely beneficial considering his rapport with the current players. This would help keep the squad settled at such a time of change and be due reward for his success last season. If Roman is determined to land Guardiola (which is starting to seem less ridiculous by the day) then he must establish that Pep is able to adapt to life away from Barca. Can he properly organize a defence? Can he change tactics effectively? Can he succeed without Messi, Xavi, Iniesta etc.? I’m not sure but I’ve a feeling that we may find out at some point in the near future. If Guardiola does come to CFC I’d like to see Steve Clarke return to help organize the defence.

  67. mark_25

    I just hope our doctors don’t upset Hulk because if he gets angry there’s no way he’ll pass the medical.

    • Der_Kaiser

      He is going to have listen to every opposition fan singing “You’re not incredible” to him next season, which he’s already reacted to.  It’ll be like Jason Lee and the pineapple thing all over again.

      Which had absolutely nothing at all to do with PeteW of this parish. At all.


  68. Blueboydave

    While we’re on slightly cruel nicknames, I see the end of season stats column on the official website today has one buried at the end for our departed manager, AVB = All Very Brief. 

    Changing topics abruptly, can I be the first to lament the loss of the old [actually very old in the first case] certainties in International Tournament summers:

    1) Scotland would get their embarrassing defeats in during the group stages, rather than in the pre-tournament friendlies now that we’re not even good enough to qualify;

    2) the papers would be awash with ludicrously overblown expectations about England’s brilliance and their certain status as tournament winners this time, rather than the dismal low expectations that’s being written this time. 

    How can those of who like to savour the Schadenfreude of the ensuing pratfall somewhere around the QF stage be expected to enjoy it now? 

    Though I guess the prospect of seeing Carroll, Gerrard  and Jordan Henderson together in England shirts might still be good for a laugh.

  69. Ryan

    Where is everybody?

    I’d love to know what everyone is thinking about Hazard and Hulk? How we will line up next season? Where do Lamps, Mikel, Rami, Meireles, Romeu, Malouda and Essien fit in? Especially if we were to buy a regista (that is a deeper lying playmaker in the Andrea Pirlo mould, not a type of coffee machine!). Is there room in a PL side for both a no.10/trequartista (say Mata) and the deeper-lying Xavi-style regista? Is that too much of a luxury? Someone has to make the tackles and defend (Mikel) and somebody has to go box-to-box and launch the attacks, the problem with the latter position being that Rami is no regista, Lamps probably doesn’t have the legs and neither are really capable of dictating tempo in possession (a la Xavi, Modric etc).

    I expect that we will continue to use the double-pivot and it will be two of Mikel/Lamps/Rami/Meireles. I actually think that might be ok considering we will already have Mata and Hazard on the pitch. I would expect Hazard to drift into the centre from the left at times and Mata may drop deeper to dictate the pace of the game. A front four consisting of Torres/Hazard/Hulk/Mata would be about as fluid as it’s possible to be with most of those players able to interchange so that should help general creativity. Teams will find it much harder to stifle us simply by doubling up on Mata because that will leave Hazard and Hulk with too much space to operate in.

    Our back-four looks pretty solid. A deputy RB is required but I’d rather it wasn’t Van der Wiel as by all accounts his defending isn’t exactly an improvement on Bosingwa’s. Cole and Branner will need to be at their best defensively as Hazard and Hulk will not defend like Kalou and Rami.

    I guess all of this remains for the new manager to decide and that will dictate what happens next season. We may get another Midfielder, we’ll almost certainly get a RB but the next huge decision is surely who will be in the dug-out.

    What do you all think?

  70. TrueBlue007

    Would love a discussion on team line up next season .. .where are we gonna fit Marin and De Bryune? What about Studge and Lukaka? 

    Is Hazard gonna play wide or on the left wing? 

    Assuming we don’t sign Hulk then I think our formation could be the Xmas tree: 


    Ivan – Cahill – Terry – Cole (Luiz rotating)

    Lamps/ Meri – Essien/Mikel – Rami/ Josh (?)

    Mata – Hazard

    Torres/ Studge/ Lukaka

    Mata and Hazard to have free roles behind the CF and to swap playing centrally or out wide. 

    Subs bench for Marin as our impact player. 

    If we sign hulk, which I am not suggesting we don’t – it will restrict playing time for several players and I can see one of Studge or Lukaka leaving. Would be a shame … 

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