Monday, 14 May 2012

Munich - 5 days to go

It’s only Monday, another 120-plus hours until kick-off in European football’s greatest club match and I’m already a nervous wreck. From grinning excitedly, to goosebumps, to rocking in the corner of the room, I’m certainly on that ever-clich├ęd emotional rollercoaster and it’ll only get worse as Saturday approaches.

Since the nerve-wracking wait to find out if I’d even get a ticket (as it turns out it was a lot more comfortable than my paranoia would have me believe!), I’ve been flipping between certainty that this has to be our year and blind panic that we’re missing not only our captain, but two of our three contenders for Player of the Year as well (and thankfully Raul Meireles).

But we will do it. We have to do it. I was one of the tens of thousands who witnessed the heartbreak in the Moscow rain. After an epic game, a superb Chelsea performance, it came down to penalties. The worst way to go. As Terry stepped up for a title-winning spot-kick, I was shaking with tears in my eyes. I thought that would be the moment, we all did. And who better and more fitting to clinch Chelsea history. But it wasn’t to be on that night four years ago. But all the best sides bounce back.

Since then we’ve reached another semi-final and now have a second shot. There’s no doubting Chelsea are the underdogs. But at what stage of the season's competition, since going 3-1 down away at Napoli, have we ever been favourites?

3-1 down in Naples, nearly blowing our lead at home to Benfica and then being drawn against football’s golden boys. Yet under the guidance of Robbie Di Matteo, we’ve made it to the promised land, on enemy territory and without three key figures.

For the likes of Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, this could be their last hurrah. Their last chance to lift Ol’ Big Ears. And boy do they deserve it. What careers those three have had, not to mention suspended skipper John Terry. No doubt Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Ramires et al will have many a big night to come, hopefully in Chelsea blue. But for the oft maligned ‘Old Guard’, those who have guided us to European football’s biggest stage, they deserve to go out on the highest of highs.

For Lampard, with 150 goals in 11 years of floorless service at Stamford Bridge, for Drogba with 100 goals in eight years and Ashley Cole who, against all the odds following his arrival from Arsenal six years ago, has become a Chelsea legend, with one Premier League title, four FA Cups and twice Player’s Player of the Year. These players deserve to make history.

Whatever the result on Saturday night, every one of the squad are heroes in my eyes. To get this far, with all this season’s ups and downs, when all looked lost at Camp Nou and to fight back, they’ve done their bit. One final push would just be the icing on the Chelsea bun... But I'll be bloody gutted if we don't!

Come on boys.  Do it for JT, Brana, Rambo & Meireles. Do it for the Moscow heartbreak. Do it for Robbie. Do it for Ossie, Matthew Harding & all those we've lost. Do it for the fans. But most of all do it for yourselves. Be the ones to make history. It may be the last chance for some, don't let it slip away. Walk onto the Allianz Arena pitch as players, walk off it as legends.

Come on you Blues!!!!