What is it about the Champions League and Chelsea? Penalty shootout heartbreak against Liverpool, the width of a post in Moscow and now 3 blatant penalty appeals turned down and a last gasp equaliser from Barcelona. I’m choked. Along with tens of thousands of others.Football can be a cruel game but this was the injustice equivalent of being run over by a car and being sued for tyre damage. It hurts and it hurts bad. All I can say is that last year’s Terry penalty in Moscow was far more heartbreaking and we came back as strong as ever. It’s how you react to defeats that defines you, not how you celebrate victory.
In the 80’s and early/mid 90’s Chelsea were labelled as the ‘nearly Club’ as neutrals drooled over our football yet curiously omitted the fact that we got thrashed 4-0 at Wembley by the Mancs and turned over by Zaragoza and Lazio in the Cup Winners Cup semis to name but three incidences. Top of the list was our draw with Leicester and defeat by West Ham at home which cost us the league in 1999. Nearly Club.
Since then we’ve progressed to the top of the pile. Almost. We’ve buried our Premier League ghosts, buried our FA Cup and League Cup yearnings and our attention is on the Champs League. But just like in the Nineties, we are now the nearly men of Europe. We’re not there yet
All we need now is patience. We’re one of the top three Clubs in Europe. Eventually our time will come. Just like it did with the Premier League and just as it did with the regular FA Cup appearances and League Cup victories.
Our name is massive all over the world and deservedly so. I was walking down a street in Cologne last year and saw a Chelsea themed bar run by Germans. Our Club crest was there on the high street in big letters. IN GERMANY.
Tonight we were the better team. We played against twelve men and Mr Platini, an ever-present shadow resenting our great Club.
We’ll be back.
If Hiddink goes we’ll need a new manager (a top class Champions League specialist who has the respect of the players) and a re-building job to get a proper age balance in the team. A new striker and winger must be our priorities as well as a midfielder.