Mike Calvin: five reasons why I hope Bayern beat Chelsea
Protocol demands we are all Chelsea fans on Saturday night. There are ancient rivalries to observe, traditions to be maintained. A Premier League side, denied a neutral venue, are facing a German team in the Champions League final. They deserve to be treated as a national treasure.
Er, sorry. Not playing that particular game. Chelsea’s progress to the final has involved admirable defiance of all odds. Yet the prospect of Bayern Munich becoming European champions in their own Allianz Arena doesn’t make me want to chain myself to the nearest railings in protest. Here are five reasons why:
The Cockerel Kebab
Before the guerrilla warriors of cyberspace get tooled up, I am not a Spurs fan. But as a neutral I admire the style and fluidity of the team Harry Redknapp has created. If Tottenham are denied Champions League qualification because of a Chelsea win in Munich, it will have far-reaching consequences. Market forces will ensure players of the quality of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale leave White Hart Lane. Redknapp, whose contract talks are in abeyance, may even decide to opt for a quiet life and retire.
André, the Work Experience Kid
André Villas-Boas has been airbrushed from history with Stalinist efficiency. Despite Liverpool’s interest in him, he’s dismissed as the remnant of a bad dream by Chelsea loyalists. He deserved better than to be treated as a work-experience kid by his players. He made huge mistakes, but his instincts were correct. Chelsea’s culture needs to be addressed, sooner rather than later. Too much power is in the wrong hands.
The Old Boy Factor
Arjen Robben is a difficult character. He has an ego the size of a small planet, and a penchant for rubbing up his teammates the wrong way. His brusque rejection of Manchester United in favour of Chelsea has not been forgiven. He did not fit the Galáctico culture at Real Madrid, and his decision to extend his Bayern contract until 2015 didn’t result in too many street parties. He does score goals, though – and he’s a winner.
The Nice Guy Factor
Roberto Di Matteo has handled the impossible job with aplomb. Measured and diplomatic, he has morphed into Mr Chelsea with impressive ease. Hang on, I hear you say. Isn’t that a reason for hoping he enters folklore, as a Champions League winner? Not quite. Di Matteo accepts his likely fate, but if he is jettisoned in the summer it means Roman Abramovich has learned nothing. He doesn’t deserve to have his obsession satisfied.
The Ghosts of Bloemfontein
An “English” win, over Germany’s most charismatic club, will tempt some to put memories of the last World Cup into a more flattering perspective. Big mistake. We’re nowhere near as good as we should be, tactically or technically.
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Bayern Munich v Chelsea, live 6pm, 19 May, Sky Sports 1 and live 7pm, ITV1 (Champions League final)
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