Mayhem from the start. Didn’t realize the party had already started.
No sooner airborne than the Chelsea were in trouble.
“Ze people in the aisle must sit down so we can bring through ze trollee” announces the bird over the speakers. She should have realized that 25 Chelsea had bursting bladders and none of us wanted urea all over the plane. “You must move” she bellows.
The Chelsea had had two hours to get started on the drinking campaign and they needed release before imbibing more. “Vee are not going to bring through ze trolly. Ze people (now only 21) vill not move!”
Success. No piss on the plane by the time we landed in Frankfurt. Johnny had figured out a brilliant trip. If we flew back from Dortmund we could get cheap 1st class high-speed trains to & from Munich. Total cost £230 each, travelling in style and in town by 3pm.
First beer cellar we fell into there was Tony and Tim who sit next to us in the MHL as well as James who’s next row down! Beer cellar serving Bratwurst & packed with Munich 1860 fans who hate Bayern.
Sky TV beaming the Championship playoff between West Ham & Blackpool. Fantastic atmosphere. Pub owned by a bruiser who had fallen in love with Ali. Pictures and memorabilia filled the walls and my memories of times spent producing Harry Carpenter at World heavyweight Championship fights came flooding back.
The Champ v. Henry Cooper, Frazier, the Thriller in Manilla, Rumble in the Jungle & the bruiser himself with Ali of course.
Tony & Tim had taken the cheap route. An 18-hour ‘luxury’ coach whose bog broke down just before they reached Dover. Better yet, three of their crew sang Chelsea songs the whole way so no-one got a moments shut-eye. Actually the three stopped singing at Strasbourg and promptly fell asleep leaving Tony, Tim & the rest shattered.
But not so shattered we couldn’t bar-hop. Responsibly of course!! We allowed 2 hrs for the 20-minute trip to the amazing stadium and needed every minute of it. Entrance to the underground going to the stadium was totally and utterly rammed. Worse than Victoria station when they shut the entrances.
We nipped across the platform and went FIVE stops in the other direction. Saw the opposite platform was clear hopped back across and got seats.
Even then the train so slow to the stadium. People trying to get on at every stop. No Indian train was ever so crowded. Quick beer outside the ground and in just as the game started.
Surely it had to be a typical Chelsea roller-coaster ride. And Roberto started with a shock: Bertrand in front of Cole and not Malouda.
Turned out Di Mateo was very very clever. Put out the most defensive team I’ve ever seen at Chelsea. Doubled up on Robben and Ribery spiking Bayern’s guns.
Thank Gawd those two are so selfish Gomez in the middle got virtually no service.
Amazed that Cahill and Luis didn’t break down over 120 mins since neither had trained given their injuries. We sorely missed Ramirez but Kalou did very very well -even got a shot off in the first half! By half-time Di Mateo would have been urging the side to get a bit more possession, weather the ‘full-court’ press and put some passing moves together.
Cech (who actually won it for us in the end) mixed up the long-ball/short ball tactic. The game opened up. Bayern became more cautious defensively and playing very well on the break themselves, scored late on.
83 minutes!! They MUST have thought that would be it. But having watched Chelsea all these years we knew anything was still possible – we could get shafted, we could fall apart – we could go and do it… and so the drama increased a notch. We had ONE farkin corner all game and who turned up? Drogs of course – who else but that maddening genius. GOAL and we were equal and extra time looking a certainty…
But he wasn’t done by a long chalk. The roller-coaster dropped wickedly. Our favourite Drama Queen gives up a penalty!!! TOTALLY unnecessarily!! Poor old Roman, about to see his dream dissolve in front of his eyes YET AGAIN – he was twitching and twisting so bad he looked like Houdini trying to escape a straightjacket under water.
Then Cech saves! From dumb stupid arrogant Robben! Hilarious!
The coaster rises. We see out extra time and now face penalties which we never win against a team which never loses penalty shootouts. We go 1-0 down.
Then we start scoring. Can Cech pull it off? Turns out he was brilliant. He had done his homework. Had reviewed EVERY penalty Bayern had taken since 2005 and was diving in the right direction every time getting closer and closer to saving it. And he did. And set up the stage for Drama Queen to do his thing. Magnificent.
Even though we stayed in the stadium enjoying the party it still took an age to get back to town. Met up with some of the Flower drinking crew but no open pubs so Johnny and I went to the station.
What a scene. It looked like Bomber Command had forced all of Germany into the grand main railway station. Bodies everywhere. We popped outside, found a pizza & beer parlor still open then back to the station to climb over bodies to left luggage. Those who weren’t sacked out on the platforms were rammed onto the train.
Climbed over them got to our seats which were filled with half a dozen Chelsea fans who to my astonishment GOT UP when finding we had booked them. They were brilliant. Somehow they produced a case of Heineken and the party resumed. We didn’t care that the train was delayed.
First the conductor over the tannoy invited those without tickets to detrain. Half an hour later he came through asking. Half an hour after that a squad of riot cops came through the train inviting people to get off. Quite a few did. But not enough.
Finally another train pulls into the platform next to us and enough people switched so that our train was now light enough to move. 700 km in six hours up to Dortmund.
Three other Chelsea fans on the Easyjet to Luton.
I slept the whole way back – a Champion.
Posted by Gavin