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Glory, never too late


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This was a baptism if there ever was one. One swing of an Ivorian foot ended years of heartbreak, banished the associated ‘nearly there’ memories into everlasting oblivion and consigned regret and wistfulness to irrelevance. Catharsis had materialised.

And yet, it had all seemed so improbable moments ago. As Munich through-and-through Bastian Schweinsteiger strolled up to take the fifth penalty kick, notions of German efficiency in these situations sprung to mind. They do these things with perfunctory disdain, one could almost hear onlookers say, as if stroking away penalties to win the European Cup is a routine matter in this part of the world. What followed was not in the script, not in the one written by a certain Ivorian. The sight of Didier Drogba make his way to within 15 yards of a kick of a ball that would deliver immortality unto himself and his long-suffering teammates would have made the most strong-willed tremble with trepidation. No such apprehensions from the man himself, obviously. It was going in before the ball had been kicked, Chelsea had won the European Cup for the first time in their history.

The Champions League campaign this season has had a funny feeling associated with it throughout this season. The do-or-die home game against Valencia, the Napoli legs that accelerated Andre Villas Boas’ demise, the understated efficiency against Benfica, the tremendous backs-to-the-wall masterclass in Catalunya and the crowning night in Munich have all had an underlying theme of inevitability running in the background. Yet, ‘inevitability’, ‘written in the stars’, ‘fate’, ‘destiny’ and myriad other such terms do scant justice to the sheer bloody-mindedness, togetherness, desire, grit and fortitude this Chelsea team has made a habit of turning to in order to forge the greatest achievement in the club’s existence. Make no mistake; luck was never a factor here. Yes the title wasn’t won in swashbuckling manner but it seems to me a better option to put in a gutsy winning performance on the biggest night of them all than to be lauded (pitied) as gallant losers. Yes outsiders will cast aspersions as they please, but all we have to do is point to the star above the lion crest that shall adorn the royal blue shirt for as long as this institution lasts.

The win itself is not just that – a win, it is the crowning moment of a golden generation, one final footprint of the legacy they shall leave behind on this club’s future and it’s psyche, the culmination of years of outstanding commitment. It embodies a tangible ode to their services and serves as a bigger accolade than the tag of 'legends' ever can .. in some sense it is as much of a gift from them to us as it is a gift to themselves. What better way to claim their moment under the sun than to do it when they'd been written off, vilified and ridiculed beyond belief. Time and time again, the big names stepped up when big names ought to step up. They carried the dream on their shoulders, determined to set the record straight and claim the one honour that had eluded them for so long, for too long. Legends yes, but better still - Champions.

Exorcising demons has never been such a ruthless, poignant exercise. What better way to bury the ghost of Overbo than by defying monumental odds at 2 goals and a man (the captain, no less) down at the home of the reigning champions? What better way to forget Moscow than by not slipping up at the final kick? We shall not be denied. Symbolism and metaphors are to found everywhere you look here but at the end of the day what nobody can ever take away from this great club is the one they call Big Ears.

And for that, all I have to say is this - Thank You.

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