Drogba starts the walk up to his position for the penalty; I don’t hear any noise – I’m sure there must be noise but my world consists of me, Didier Drogba and the Munich keeper; everyone and everything else is just blurred wallpaper and white noise. I look up at the big screen which has a close up of Didier’s face as he makes his way to the spot; he looks nervous and as he reaches the spot he tries to look nonchalant and he whispers something under his breath to himself – a silent prayer perhaps.
He places the ball down and adjusts the tops of his socks – as he comes up he avoids eye contact with Neuer – he takes three steps back and we see the referee signal that all is ready….
I realise I am clenching my fists – so hard that my nails are cutting into the palms of my hands.
Instead I grasp the arms of those on either side of me – they don’t avert their gaze from the far end of the pitch.
We all stand perfectly still, afraid to even exhale….this is it….it all comes to this….one man, one kick, one glittering prize….
Didier takes the short run up and the orange boot flashes sending the ball to the keepers right as the German dives to the left – a forlorn look over the shoulder as he realises he has gone the wrong way. Drogba wheels away in ecstasy…..
As the ball hits the back of the net I freeze for a nano-second of disbelief before being engulfed in a tangle of bodies and hear the roar of the out-pouring of relief and joy from the Chelsea faithful. I catch glimpses of the pitch – David Luiz has sunk to his knees and is looking up to the skies in silent prayer, Frank Lampard is running towards the supporters, another Chelsea player lies prone on the floor – the players run uncontrollably towards each other then over to us.
In the stands strangers and friends hug each other and shout and scream wildly – Chelsea, Champions of Europe – even saying it feels alien.
There are tears streaming down my face – just as there were at the Reebok Stadium six years ago.
Chelsea, little old Chelsea, my little old Chelsea were the Kings of Europe – we had done it – we had proved everyone wrong – we had taken on the best and we had despatched them to whence they had come.
The big screen shows “Chelsea FC” being engraved onto the front of that famous trophy – my heart swells fit to burst.
The sea of blue of which I am a part is a joyous writhing mass of humanity – no one wants the celebrations to end – the younger element of the support continue their energetic celebrations – tearing up and down whooping in delight, many my age now sit stunned reeling off the bad times and how none of them now matter.
The Munich players sit scattered on the pitch – distraught – inconsolable – we’ve been there – this is our time now.
Eventually the mayhem on the pitch begins to come under some semblance of control as the various dignitaries prepare for the presentation. The Chelsea players form a guard of honour for the shell-shocked Munich players. The last Munich player has barely made his way through before the Chelsea players are again dancing with joy and hugging each other in delirious celebration.
The boys in blue then start to mount the steps. One by one they hug our benefactor before they continue to collect their coveted medals
The players jostle for position, none of them wanting to move over too much to ensure they are as close as possible when the trophy is lofted high and the moment is captured for history and prosperity.
The moment arrives, John Terry and Frank Lampard are in position – each holding one of the “big ears” – the apprehension mounts – the crowd dutifully play their part – “oooooooooooOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH – YEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”
That trophy that has proved previously so elusive catches the light as it is lifted above the heads of the players and a million flush bulbs go off in the stadium. I stand and watch almost in wonder as each player takes it in turn to have their moment of history making.
The tableau is burned into my mind to be remembered forever – the players transcend into legends to be remembered years from now and spoken of with wistful voices. I realise that I am so privileged to have been here – to have witnessed such a milestone in the history of my club.
The players are back on the pitch and the celebrations again begin in earnest – this time with a big shiny focal point…..One Step Beyond has us all on our feet and the emotion that many of us felt at the final whistle is now replaced with unbridled joy and blissful pride……
Chelsea Football Club…Champions of Europe – I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of saying that……
Posted by Trizia