After 120 minutes’ clash and penalty shootouts in 2008, I was the only one in the room who was convinced life isn't fair.
“We give it all, one man down, coming from behind to settle the score, we play the most aggressive football, but they’re the one celebrating?”
That was me talking to myself. I was very irritated that day, and my face wasn’t approachable especially to my elder brother who was making fun of me because he always believes Sir. Alex Ferguson’s “Red devil” is the winning team.
It was the 2007/08 UCL (UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE) final, and the clash was between Manchester United and Chelsea; the best clubs in the world at that moment, and like always, I was on the side of the pride of the London: “the blues”
This clash always remains the best final I’ve ever witnessed since I became a football fan because it gave me many great lessons and wisdoms in life.
Among those great lessons I learned from that final is that ‘no defeat is final until we stop trying’
Cut to the chase—for those of you who are not football fans, the 2007/08 UCL final was the first-ever for Chelsea FC to participate as the title’s candidate. After losing to their rival Manchester United, many of Chelsea’s prominent players thought it was probably the last.
In the 2007/2008 season, the Chelsea squad and fans suffered severely following Chelsea’s owner, Roman Abromovich’s decision to sack Jose Mourinho; Chelsea’s all-the-time coach, who many of us believed he was the one who’ll lead us to the glory.
The torch was passed to the Israelite Avraham Grant to manage ‘the blues’; as he was among the very few managers who knew the squad strengths and weaknesses at that point of time.
It was very clear at that moment, Chelsea’s squad suffered a lot as many of its key players experienced family to psychological abnormalities; taking the case of Frank Lampard who was mourning the death of his beloved mother and the internal tumults arose following Jose Mourinho exist.
“Don’t regret yesterday tomorrow is another day”
As I stated above, I was amongst the millions of frustrated fans after losing the final to the Red devil, but four years later in 2012 after the Moscow clash, for the first time since its establishment in 1905, Chelsea FC clinch the first UCL title.
It may sound like a joke when I tell you, after 83rd minute Robert Muller’s header past Petr Čech, it triggers the 2008 Moscow’s memory and I convinced myself “before I turn bitter to my colleagues let me take-off” right before I did my colleague held my hand and told me “7 minutes might change everything in life” 5 minutes later, he’s words were prophecy, Chelsea’s all-timer striker, Didier Drogba leveled the score, and again after 120 minutes he netted a winning penalty kick which claim Chelsea a champion for the first time in UCL history.
It was a cutthroat match but in the end, Chelsea emerged the first-ever London club to win the UCL title.
Being Chelsea’s diehard fan is not a big subject I meant to address or feeling great about.
I want to address the guilty atmosphere after Didier Drogba was sent off in the 2007/08 final; tears John Terry wept after missing a penalty kick that would’ve given Chelsea the title and Frank Lampard’s efforts to honor his recently passed mother.
And don’t forget it was the first-ever final for the team to reach after almost 6 decades, the squad wanted to make that moment count. It was a very tough moment for the players and proud fans like me.
But on the contrary, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, and John Terry, one of the best trio football community has ever seen; to them, Moscow’s defeat was not final.
Champions’ league title remained the “loose-end” to these great players; they fired on all cylinders until the payment of Moscow’s debt.
They waited for their moment and the 2011/12 season paid-off. I’ll spare you with the dramatic moments of this season, but believe me, if there’re Bayern’s fans here they probably know the kind of feeling I described in the opening paragraphs.
I’ve heard, read, and witnessed so many great people, events, organizations, cities, and many others: this one is also a tale to tell.
Believe me when I tell you, following the exit of these great players until now, I have no regrets neither is any of Chelsea’s fans after owing to 2008 Moscow’s debt.
The trio and many other great players like Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic & Petr Čech who championed the defense, have continued to inspire the football generation and population due to the tireless efforts until Chelsea FC witnessed the dawn of the day.
Don’t let road-blocks stopping your desired journey, don’t fall back and let enemies declaring victory on your fight, accept defeat sometimes but promise to bounce back. You win some, you lose some that’s a rule of the game.
“Don’t sleep until that
dream come a reality” ...
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