Chelsea-03’s success coupled with that of the other nouveau riche club Manchester City-08, which won the English Premier League, is yet another sign that the heart and soul is being ripped out of football. Yes, many neutral fans celebrated Sergio Aguero’s winner against QPR that gave City the title, but that had more to do with Man United and Alex Ferguson being denied it than any affinity for City. In time City will be as disliked as Chelsea-03 and the two clubs could make English football a poker game between two billionaire owners. I hope not.
The European Cup used to conjure up images of faraway places, exotic sounding continental clubs and storied teams. The Busby Babes perished on their way back from a semi-final in Belgrade. Real Madrid’s all white strip shone brightly in the early years of the cup and never more so than at Hampden Park when they beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3. Celtic’s Lisbon Lions, Man United’s all blue strip; Ajax and Bayern Munich’s three in a row and Liverpool’s Emlyn Hughes all provide memories of a competition that celebrated its heroes, star teams, and unforgettable football. It is tough to believe that fans of the sport in 40 years time will look back on the current holders with any fondness.
While his team were reminding us of the infamous Steaua team Roberto DiMatteo is the modern day Tony Barton. It was Barton who took over Aston Villa mid-season and led the Claret and Blues to the 1982 European Cup where they beat Bayern Munich in the final. Two years later he was fired for failing to build on that initial success. If DiMatteo remains at Stamford Bridge he will struggle to match his accomplishments of the past month. Chelsea-03 needs an overhaul and, judging by some of the league results and performances under DiMatteo’s leadership, there is a reason his team finished sixth in the EPL. And Andrea Villas Boas is not to blame.
And it was nauseating to see Terry being the classic narcissist by wearing his kit, running onto the field to celebrate his team’s victory and then lifting aloft the European Cup. Does the man have no shame?
Didier Drogba was named Man of the Match for his role in Chelsea-03’s win. It is hard to argue with the award considering the Ivorian scored the equalizer for the Blues to take the final into extra time and then converted the decisive penalty to win the cup. However, Petr Cech deserves an honorable mention for his role in the game. The Czech star did his homework and saved an Arjen Robben penalty and followed it up with another stop against Ivica Olic in the shoot-out.