Gritty Chelsea and Cech/Drogba heroics overcome deep-rooted prejudice

And thanks to Jake for another gem – and an appropriate colour scheme

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Salut! Sunderland salutes an English club’s triumph in Europe that, here in France, had L’Equipe drooling about ”miraculous Chelsea, little play but great warlike spirit”, ”Cech the superhero” and ”Drogba, for eternity” …

Martin Lipton describes himself at Twitter as ”Daily Mirror .. Chief Football Writer .. London (mainly)”.

If that means what it seems to mean, it encapsulates so much that is wrong about the sports-writing national media; they’re ALL mainly London. We all know the names of cities and towns where chief football writers, of all people, ought to be spending time. But they’re mainly on the Tube to and from Stamford Bridge or the Emirates or White Hart Lane.

It may also help to explain why so many people who are not mainly or even often in London feel resentful enough about the way their own interests and clubs appear to be covered – ie inadequately – to care little whether a Chelsea or a Bayern Munich should win the Champions League final.

But I bet a few of them overcame that prejudice last night. I did (just as I had when they played out of their skins, albeit in a mainly defensive mode, in the semis versus Barcelona: see The victory in Munich was a great achievement, produced against the odds by a team that was dominated almost throughout by opponents with home advantage but came up with magical flashes, when they mattered, at either end of the pitch.

I have never been a great lover of Chelsea and am unlikely to have another experience of the warm feelings of last night for a very long time. But the wonderful goalkeeping exploits of Petr Cech and the decisive role of Didier Drogba, plus sterling efforts from Cole, Cahill, Luiz and Obi Mikel overcame all anti-Chelsea, anti-much of London, sentiment.

OK, Cech might have done better with the headed goal. Yes, Drogba is one of the game’s most determined divers. But Cech fully earned his CL bonus with his fabulous penalty saves while Drogba stayed mostly on his feet and scored not only the crucial late equaliser, a bullet header from Mata’s corner, but the final shoot-out penalty, described by the French TV commentator I was listening to as he prepared to take it as an attempt to clock up ”the most important goal of his career”.

So bravo! and chapeau! to Chelsea. And perhaps Mr Lipton – I know lots of people in Fleet Steet, of course, but not him, I think, though the name is familiar – and his confr√®res, and indeed consoeurs, will reflect that this was not such a different backs-to-the-wall, defend and score performance than the one parts of the Londoncentric media dismissed as anti-football when SAFC beat Man City on New Year’s Day.

Monsieur Salut, by Matt

12 thoughts on “Gritty Chelsea and Cech/Drogba heroics overcome deep-rooted prejudice”

  1. They may not be the best team ever to win the Champions League but they are certainly the luckiest.

    How is it acceptable for Chelsea to play like that in Europe but unacceptable for Stoke to play like that against Chelsea ?

    The sight of toxic Terry donning the full strip to join in the celebrations was something that I would have expected from a schoolkid. He missed the final due to carrying out one of the most pathetic and selfish acts ever seen on a Europeon stage.A quite despicable individual

    They have a group of players who typify all that is wrong in the modern game. Overpaid and arrogant prima donnas who have by managed by bully boy tactics removed the last 3 managers.

    And don’t even get me started on the worlds worst commentator Clive Tyldsley.

  2. I did my best to support Chelski but couldn’t overcome years of loathing, especially when Bayern Munich deserved to win. The fans in red and white stripes clinched it…

  3. I was at Wembley for the Cup Final sitting in the Chelsea “end ” – which was just as well – as we wouldn’t have entry to any of the pubs without our Chelsea tickets . My preconceived thoughts on our Southern cousins , changed completely ; I found the Chelsea supporters to be good fun , humourous , and knowledgeable . Well done to them for winning 2 Cups and let’s hope they give De Matteo the job full time

    As far as being outplayed , Newcastle were outplayed in a lot of matches last season , and still finished 5th

    • Next year it will be 40 years since I saw SAFC win something.
      Yes, do get your wallet out, it’s time we booked an open-top bus.

  4. The reason our prejudices disintegrated is that we saw the foreign prima donnas at Chelsea incorporate the British qualities of grit and never-say-die into their game for 120 minutes spells of being under the cosh. They finally earned our respect – in fact more so than most British teams themselves. That plus the final triumph being earned without that imbecile at centre half being involved.

  5. Sorry M.salut but I can’t say I admired their performance.Undoubtedly beating Barcelona and then Bayern on their own ground is some achievement but it is an understatement to say they rode their luck., being clearly out-played in three games.Had this been Lyon or someone similar I can’t believe people would have been praising their fighing spirit.Abramovich’s approach has sullied football and even if you dislike Germans ,which I don’t ,their model of football is vastly superior to ours and ultimately if you are pleased by Chelsea’s success you are merely approving an unfair system.As for national pride, only 3 englishmen is hardly a case for celebration.

    • If SAFFC could win 1 game after being outplayed I’d be happy. What then if we did it three times?
      And if those three were among the cream of Europe?
      And if we were the away team..?

      I live in hope.

  6. Phil: I just about agree.Would I have been as chuffed to see underdogs from another country beat Bayern, Real, Barca or one of the Milans? No, just mildly pleased. So there must be a residue of national pride

    John: difficult to be too harsh. A header at his far post with the all hit hard into the ground and bouncing above his hand. Cd he have gone for the ball? Was it that hard a save to make? In the end it doesn’t matter given what he did later

  7. I didn’t see the headed goal so don’t know whether or not Petr Cech was at fault. But I did hear him after the game. something like “I faced 6 penalties, went the right way for all of them, got a hand to 4, saved 2”.

    That strikes me as a touch of class, worthy of anyone’s respect.

  8. I didn’t stay up to watch the game, so have only match reports, no doubt penned by southern scribes, to rely upon.

    However, most seemed to match your own and my dislike of Chelsea & John Terry, in particular, was overcome by my sense of pride that (yet again) an English team could overcome, supposedly, superior European opposition.

    Am I unique in feeling this way?

    I hope not!

  9. Chelski hardly played out of their skins yesterday. This defeat is really all down to Arjen Robben and his missed penalty. Another cynical player whose diving skills could win him a place on the Dutch Olympic team.

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