Monday, 20 May 2019


“I really enjoy your colyoom, except when you write about football.” they say, so if I do, I usually try to engage those soccer agnostics, by contriving newsworthy reasons to be scribbling about the Beautiful Game.

Not this week.

I make no apologies this week.

This week I just want to celebrate the drama and yes, on rare occasions, majesty of the sport.

Thank you football, for bringing me a week of miracles!

If Chelsea aren’t involved, it takes something special to have me leaping out of my chair and punching the air with exuberant joy, but that’s what I’ve been doing.

Chelsea and Tottenham are traditional hardcore rivals, but I went doolally when Lucas Moura put in his third goal last Wednesday night.

Just like Liverpool the night before, Spurs came back from a three goal deficit to win their Champions League semifinal, against a young and vibrant Ajax team.

Like a begrudging sibling who’s not allowed to go on a family trip, I’m happy for Spurs, particularly as they did what they always do in the league.

Perched deservedly third, safe and proud for most of the season, Spurs faded and died, just like the bubbles in the West Ham song.

Schadenfreude is too weak a term to describe how football fans share their rival’s defeats. On May 4th, while Chelsea played elsewhere, news came in that Tottenham had lost to Bournemouth FC.

Armed with heartwarming memories of the many ways Chelsea have historically scuppered Spurs’ dreams of Europe, the crowd at Stamford Bridge lifted their voices in a rousing rendition:


“It’s happening again!
It’s happening again!
Tottenham Hotspur…
It's happening again!”

With the top two teams over 20 points ahead, there was a heck of a scramble for 3rd and 4th places, which offer the kudos and moolar of Champions League footie next year.

Tottenham were tumbling, Arsenal were evolving and Manchester United were a bored and boring bunch of mercenaries.

Thanks to these three teams playing even less well than us, Chelsea somehow ended up third, with a Europa League Final against Arsenal to come.

Arsenal made it by going to Spain and giving Valencia a proper pummelling, while Chelsea did it in classic Chelsea style and fashion, on the last nail-biting kick of a penalty shoot-out against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Personal London needle: it’s the Gooners in the final. Grrrr.

Just as well I was able to harvest glee from the glories of other teams, as this season Chelsea were typical Chelsea.

Depending on the transience of Venus in relation to their own backsides, Chelsea players decided they’d only play in either the first or second halves of games.

In True Blue fashion we were lead by an eccentric manager, in nicotine junkie extraordinaire, Maurizio Sarri. Wearing his glasses on his forehead, he picked his nose in interviews, and played the best holding midfielder in the world out of position.

To be fair, N’Golo Kante did a fantastic job on the right wing, but that’s like saying a perfect apple did a great impression of an orange.

Why, Maurizio?

I watched the last day of the season with my excellent friend Whispering Blue. A lifelong Manchester City fan, his team were in charge of their own destiny, needing to win their match to win the league.

Pep Guardiola’s finely-tuned, immaculate and intimidating Ferrari finished once more at the top of the pile,

It was the only game that mattered, but try telling that to the fans at Anfield.

Manchester City and Liverpool occupied a title race so relentlessly perfect that Liverpool finished second, having lost only 1 game in 38.

Throughout their final league game, the adoring fans at Anfield sang and roared, and when it all got too much for that legendary Liverpudlian Twelfth Man, they just spontaneously rose to their feet as one to applaud.

Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool is a sleek, smoothly engineered BMW 7 series, filled with luxurious skills and reliable abilities. They replied to legendary Barcelona’s 3 goals with 4 of their own, in a match that left fans around the world jaw-droppingly blown away

Liverpool’s miraculous victory inspired us all to believe that we never need to accept defeat, while the game - or life itself - goes on.

Daring to dream, Spurs did the same the next night, and now all 4 teams in the two major European finals are English.

I call the teams English, but of the 88 players who started in those Champions League semis, only 8 were English, 12 were Spanish, 9 Brazilian and not one of the managers was English. No English payer scored a goal

Mind you, while it’s easy to dismiss the Premier League, to say it’s full of foreign players and owners, and only money counts, that’s overlooking a unique and vital factor.

The cliché claims “There’s no easy games!” because that’s the truth.

Other European leagues have only two or three powerful teams, but in England the grounds are packed for every match, and there is no weak opposition.

Chelsea legend Petr Cech summed it up, when asked why he’d refused to play elsewhere in Europe:


“I’m not a big fan of the Italian league. You go from stadium to stadium and it can be half empty. In the Premier League the stadiums are full. The football is played with passion.”

It is the best league in the world and I love it.

©Charlie Adley

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