I don’t make a habit of showing my colours here but…..
I started supporting Chelsea in 1966. I vaguely remember them losing to Spurs in the 1967 FA Cup Final. But actually the televised game I remember more clearly from that first season as a football supporter was for some reason the 1967 European Cup Final where Celtic of Scotland defeated Inter Milan 2-1. Even though I was British I remember wanting Inter to win, I think probably because their black and blue striped shirts were a closer colour match to the Chelsea blue than Celtic’s green and white hoops (come on! I was only 9).
All those years ago – 45! - did I then dream of Chelsea lifting the European Cup? I think I was probably too young to appreciate what a big trophy it was. Over the years The European Cup has of course changed from a simple knock out cup sprint into the Champions League, a, some would say, over bloated league/knock-out marathon. Nevertheless it has made it hellishly difficult to win. Chelsea have come close, very close, in recent years to winning it and finally, in this most unlikely of seasons, last night they did!
I thought I would cry if that day ever came around, but I didn’t. I think, sat in the pub with my fellow fans, we collectively just couldn’t quite believe it.
Watching the celebrations in Bayern Munich’s stadium suddenly a familiar tune was playing – The Liquidator. Harry J’s classic reggae instrumental has, I believe, since its release in 1969 been played at Chelsea’s home - Stamford Bridge – on match days before the kick-off. It sounded, somehow, incongruous amongst all the glitz and crazy money that is now top flight football and the Champions League that this tune was playing and being beamed around the world to the countless millions that were watching. Wholly appropriate though, it was one for the fans (it took me straight back to the ‘70s and the first times I went to Stamford Bridge to see my beloved team play). A good answer too to the home fans' banner stating "our stadium, our club, our trophy". Ha!
“We’ve” won it! Finally!