The end of the season has seen Chelsea fans left in limbo as it were. There can be no classification of it as a successful campaign or a failure until Saturday, where glory or ignominy awaits. Obviously was there not a Champions League final for us this weekend, we would have little choice other than to declare this season as calamitous by Chelsea’s high standards.
Another sacked manager, misfiring strikers, injuries, average results, problems off the pitch, finishing outside of the Champions League places – only the FA Cup prevents it being a total unmitigated disaster.
I’m personally very disappointed as I believed the season promised so much. I was convinced that in AVB we had secured the services of someone who could rebuild the team – and given his history at Chelsea, someone who could engage with the senior players to maintain results while a quiet revolution was instigated to give Roman the success coupled with the footballing flair which we are led to believe he craves.
Couldn’t have been more wrong – what we got was dull disjointed football, the exit of some valuable squad players, open rebellion and our worst season in a decade. Back to the drawing board – but with who? Capello is my guess if Guadiola makes good on his vow to take a year out.
My only hope is that it is not the season that is looked back on years from now and identified as the precise moment where Chelsea went back to being also rans instead of contenders. I am confident that Abramovich will not allow that to happen but competition for those elite top four places is tough and getting tougher with each club new club which finds itself a sugar daddy.
The Premiership’s tremendous finale on Sunday afternoon was a rather welcome distraction as far as I was concerned. We weren’t in the mix for anything and with Blackburn already relegated, our game was played out with all the excitement of a visit to see Arsenal’s trophy cabinet.
As such my mind kept wandering to Munich and the fretting which has been literally keeping me awake at night.
Whether the pub, the stadium – or even at work – all I hear is “Munich, Munich, Munich” – every sentence contained the word “Munich” – how are you getting to Munich, where are you staying in Munich?, how much was your Munich hotel room, do you have a ticket for Munich?
In my mind I play out appalling scenarios – like going three nil up and then blowing it – or Lampard missing “the winning” penalty kick after extra time, or a refereeing display of Tom Henning Øvrebø proportions – my nightmares are endless.
You can’t forget about it for a moment – the trailers for the match are on every time I switch on the TV or the radio. Every other text or phone-call is about Munich – usually someone asking if I can get them a ticket – an absolute impossibility by the way – I am one of the lucky ones – there are thousands that are travelling ticketless – including half our party.
E-mails all seem to have “Munich” in the subject line.
Every time I hear that word my gut twists a little more – Robben skips across my mind’s eye like a little baldy demon; Ribery dances through our make-shift defence and chips a prostate Cech and climbs to the middle tier of the Allianz Arena to laugh in my face! I feel like I am losing the plot!
Before Torres scored in the Nou Camp, I had spent the last 15 minutes watching the scoreboard, the floor, the people next to me, the sky – ANYTHING but what was going on on the pitch, if I don’t calm down before Saturday evening, I swear I’ll “watch” the entire game facing the back of the stand. I can’t seem to focus on anything but the negatives!
I am more than aware of our strengths – I know that Drogba on his day is unplayable – but will he have his day or one of “those” days? I know that Ashley Cole is still arguably the best left back in the world – but will his exceptional experience be eclipsed by the phenomenal pace we know the opposition have? Our best eleven is a match for any team in the world – as Barcelona found out – but with those ruled out, is our best eleven good enough?
Over and over these thoughts haunt not only my dreams but every waking hour. But then I think of karma – and specifically Frank Lampard.
Frank Lampard deserves to win the Champions League – a less than exceptional player naturally (by his own reckoning) who through determination, hard work and training became arguably one of the best players in the world. It’s no bad thing that it will be Lampard leading the Chelsea team out this Saturday and not Terry. Lampard is a leader in his own right and can lead us to glory – I feel calmer just by that one thought alone.
So I will bid you all a good summer – even those of you, who like the graceless sore loser Mr Kurt will be honorary Germans next Saturday. It’s a fine line between gaining immortality and finishing a forgotten second – at least we have a date with destiny to decide which will be our legacy.