Hello good people and here we are… into the football wilderness.
It really is all over and what a way to slam the door shut until pre-season friendlies kick off in July!
Well, You’ll Never Walk Alone and you’ll only have two trophies to carry between you, alongside some baggage packed with unrelenting arrogance.
Thank the football gods that the dream of a historic quadruple deteriorated to two domestic cups won on sudden-death penalties.
Now I know all y’all Reds out there will be thinking (amongst other words beginning with F and P) “Chelsea won nothing” (which isn’t entirely true) and two trophies are a successful season” (which it ordinarily is).
But let’s be honest, you’re just keeping a brave face if you aren’t totally devastated. As you know, I believe Liverpool are the best side in the world currently, but the stats don’t even back me up…
Hear me out: finished second in the league, failed to score in any cup final (310 minutes) and failed to beat any of their top-four rivals. They are a great side… but not that great.
So as the famous Scouser saying goes “Caaalm down”. Of course, as a lover of the game, I have absolute respect for Jurgen Klopp and his team. But as @wuppy tweeted me “[Manchester City boss] Pep [Guardiola] and [Real Madrid’s] Carlo [Ancelotti saved football”.
It would have been too much for the rest of us. Can you imagine (following what we went through after their first league title in 30 years)? This would have been that 1 000 times worse.
Liverpool came out firing and made ‘the snake’ Thibaut Courtois work, but Ancelotti’s masterplan was unfolding as the minutes ticked on: neutralise the wingbacks, stay tight and central and absorb.
Had Liverpool scored (and they should have), perhaps a different story but the Spaniards held out, frustrated and started getting to work in the second half, gradually taking control.
As for the disallowed goal? Once the dust settled, post-match analysis from all quarters generally agree that the officials got it wrong. But hey, in the end it didn’t matter.
So well done to Real, there is something to be said about the importance of a 14th European Cup. Psychologically, a club that “knows” how to win the big occasions.
On to a couple of side notes.
I thought it was absolutely disgusting the way Liverpool fans were treated around the stadium. Uefa are claiming a “counterfeit ticket” narrative. But either way, modern security systems and match-day planning should never arrive at the point where fans (and kids) are baton charged and pepper sprayed.
Considering the gravity of the occasion and the huge money spent by the travelling support, I’m surprised they didn’t tear the place down!
Conversely it was great to see Scousers out in their tens of 1 000s… 200 flights were grounded in the UK on Friday and Saturday leaving many stranded, unable to get to Paris.
A group of eight mates made a plan, got a train to the coast, hired a rubber dingy and crossed the English Channel!
Do you know how dangerous that is? The loyalty is amazing. Something we really miss in SA when it comes to supporting football.
It was an intense occasion… I watched at the FN Rangers clubhouse in Maitland.
Despite the fun on the night, it is truly sad that perhaps the biggest celebration this season has been Manchester United winning the “Liverpool lost the Champions League Cup”.
I celebrated this weekend as well!
There was the official club announcement that Chelsea has been sold (so it looks like back-to-business next campaign) and with Real winning the Champions League, the Blues receive £15m as part of the Eden Hazard deal!
Thanks to all of you for a great season of debate and banter, sometimes a bit fruity to say the least. But we all love the game, love our clubs and hopefully don’t take it too personally.
But you buggers did laugh at me when I said “they’ll only win two”.
Anyway, looks like it’s gonna be a busy transfer window and an early kickoff to the 2022/23 season, so lots to talk about.
Before I go, a shoutout to the guys at Nottingham Forest for their return to the Premier League after 23 years.