And thanks to Jake for another gem – and an appropriate colour scheme
******* ******* *******
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 https://safc.blog/2012/04/chelsea-and-barca-when-the-torres-goal-went-in-i-applaiuded/). 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 confrères, 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.