The team was battered and bruised, could barely walk into the shower room or in Lampard’s words – “These were grown men with everything taken out of them”
2005, Anfield is a distant memory to many and later came the 2008 nightmares and the 2009 controversy. Finally in 2012 we had achieved the holy grail and in some style. No one knew how Cavani and Lavezzi could not finish the Pensioners in the second leg. No one knows why Messi could not score at the Bridge or Camp Nou. No one knows why Drogba was destined to take that penalty after scoring the equaliser. A Chelsea fan’s life is filled with unanswered questions and that probably is the reason I stand here and ask myself, “How the heck, did we do that?”
That night in Munich will never be forgotten for reasons deeper than life itself. The crowd chanting ” We know what we are, European Champions” gives you the goosebumps because when we had the confidence and belief that we would win our maiden European cup, we did not and when we least expected to win it, we had it in John Terry‘s hands. Jose Mourinho was a pioneer, he created a club that would not only dominate England, but also dominate Europe. Though it did not happen under his reign, the reason we held the cup aloft in the Allianz Arena was due to his smart transfer signings.
Others might disagree by saying it was a waste and Mourinho was abusing the financial power entrusted to him by throwing money but Chelsea were not at their current best in those days. We used to beat top teams and cause huge upsets when it was our day but we never won anything. Mourinho brought in players who were vital to the club. His spending spree saw Chelsea have a plethora of players but you could never ever call them a waste. Sure, some of the players had seen rough days at the Bridge, but without Petr Cech and Didier Drogba, Chelsea would have been destroyed at the Bridge against Napoli. Not just destroyed, but the club could have been split apart by rifts that occurred during the days when Villas Boas was the gaffer.
Roberto Di Matteo was smart. A quality many managers lack today. You know you can walk into the press conference and strut your stuff but you don’t because of the fact that you don’t do it itself emulates on your players. Jose Mourinho used a strategy where he made the media and every club in the Premier League hate Chelsea and that worked brilliantly as his every team-talk was simple and to the point. ” Everyone hates you, now go out and prove them wrong”. He isn’t the first one to resort to such a tactic and this had become a part and parcel of being a Chelsea manager.
Roberto Di Matteo took over an ageing and demotivated squad. He had to win the FA Cup, win the Champions League and secure atleast a 4th position with a team that could not finish off West Brom.
But Roberto was not one to give up. He annihilated Napoli at the Bridge with an aggregate score of 5-4, humiliated Barcelona over two legs and beat a team in their own stadium which gave birth to the banner that now proudly sits atop the Matthew Harding stand. “‘Their City, Their Stadium, Our Cup” .
Now that victory has been tasted and the fussy owner has been pleased, Di Matteo can begin fresh in building a legacy at Chelsea. ” Project” mode could also be another way too see how Chelsea are spilling about 70 million on getting youngsters who can replace the old boys at Chelsea. So far, it does not look like Roman will push on that tiny little panic button which will send Roberto Di Matteo back to the Swiss Alps and the fans have everything to believe in.
When you’re down and out and agonized by the way the club is performing, with your rivals constantly getting the better off you at every step, then remember this:
You won’t beat Valencia, they said
You won’t beat Napoli, they said
You won’t beat Benfica, they said
You won’t beat Barca, they said
You won’t beat Bayern, they said
And yet the boys in blue triumphed !
Yes, Chelsea is an odd club but that’s what makes the experience of being a Chelsea fan all the more greater!
In Di Matteo we trust!