What an epic battle the Champions League Final turned out to be. A clash between an organisation with a long and distinguished history, respected by friend and foe alike up against a relative newcomer, the plaything of a foreign oligarch, who is universally viewed with raised eyebrows.
But enough of ITV and Sky, on with the game, and I look forward to the re-run of Chelsea’s match with Bayern Munich on this month’s edition of Crimewatch as in a neat twist the boys in blue scampered off with the loot.
It was a long haul for Jeff Stelling and Adrian Chiles, our guides to this Bavarian mini-break, and they’d gone for the same basic line-up — a man with a Chelsea pedigree (Ruud Gullit and Gianfranco Zola), one who knows what it’s like to win a few things, with mindless violence if necessary (Graeme Souness and Roy Keane) and two nice fellas (Jamie Redknapp and Gareth Southgate).
Martin Tyler and Clive Tyldesley were the men who nervously toyed with who was going to mention Bayern and 1999 first, while alongside they had the joint winners of the All-Germany Campest Goal Celebration Competition in Gary Neville and Andy Townsend.
We were all set, the preamble dealt with as Clive welcomed Bayern who ‘emerge from their dressing room onto their pitch in their own stadium’ — and you thought that only happened with Linfield.
And then nothing happened. The early highlight was a catastrophic error by the referee who clearly didn’t know was he was doing having to book Bastian Schweinsteiger when Philip Lahm would have been much easier.
You can tell it’s not good when the commentator is reduced to telling you about Franck Ribery’s scar and that Roberto Di Matteo was born just three hours away from Munich so it was nice to get to half-time and Chiles waffling on about ‘typical German efficiency’.
“It’s a beautiful Bavarian evening, in a quite beautiful setting, but not a noticeable amount of beauty in the game just now, but Chelsea are still in it and frankly that’s all we care about,” he added, as fans of all other teams shouted dummkopf at the TV.
“Chelsea need to be more cynical in front of goal,” said Gianfranco. “Clinical?” said Chiles trying to help the wee foreign lad. “No, cynical,” insisted Zola. “It's a good word.”
Then with seven minutes to go, a goal, from Thomas Muller ‘the man who broke English hearts in South Africa two years ago.’ Funny I don’t remember his four-goal salvo but unlike Clive, I’ll move on.
Then Didier Drogba did what he does best... no, not roll about like a big girl, scored a goal in a cup final and Townsend revealed ‘that is a bullet’. But for real emotion you needed Sky and on the Day of Destiny as DD delivered.
“Drogbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, they’ve pulled the rabbit out of the hat again,” screamed Tyler as Neville joined in with the sort of primal scream usually accompanied by pulling something altogether different out and not from a hat either.
The usual tedium of extra-time passed, slowly (when will they just get rid of this and go straight to penalties?) as ‘you won’t miss a single moment of the drama’ promised Clive as we went to a break while the squeaky bumness of the dreaded shoot-out was discussed in the Sky studio.
Ruud said he was always nervous, Graeme said it wasn’t a problem and Jamie was distracted as he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the window and soon it was all over as Bastian missed and Didier rolled home the winning kick and we all worried about Neville turning into a telegram — ‘It can never get better than this. Uefa. Football. Stop.’ Yes, please do.
Clive kept up the crime theme: “Bayern simply burgled. Chelsea have broken in and made off with the silver and broken their hearts. It’s 1999 and worse,” he added and while in the world of chocolates, Terry’s may be all gold the Blues’ version has a brass neck and let’s hope Kirsty Young and her team can track down the imposter who tried to steal the limelight at the end.
So, well done to Chelsea, the best team in Europe. And the sixth best in England.
It really is a funny old game.