On Saturday, Chelsea finally reached the summit and lifted the Champions League trophy by defeating Bayern Munich in Munich on penalties. Chelsea achieved their longtime goal of winning the Champions League in decidedly un-Chelsea like fashion. After playing the role of rich, talented, European favorites for the last several years, Chelsea’s victory in 2012 was a shock. Here they were in a season in which they finished 6th in the Premier League, under an interim manager, without their suspended/disgraced captain, and playing a road game in the final.
Then in the final itself, Chelsea had to come from behind after Thomas Muller’s 83rd minute goal. Just when it seemed like they would be denied again, Didier Drogba equalized from a corner kick. The tying goal sent Sky/Fox announcers Martin Tyler and Gary Neville into euphoria. You may remember Neville’s screams of ecstasy from Fernando Torres’ semifinal clinching goal in Barcelona last month and he let out his now trademark sound when Drogba scored…
In the shootout, it was Drogba who had the chance to win the title for Chelsea with the last penalty kick after Bastian Schweinsteiger had been stopped by Petr Cech. As Drogba walked towards the spot, Neville claimed it was “written in the stars.” Hopefully those of you that slipped into MLB postseason flashbacks snapped back into reality long enough to see Drogba’s winning kick and the amazing commentary from Tyler and Neville afterwards. Video via SportsGrid…
Tyler: “HE’S DONE IT!! The greatest night in the history of Chelsea Football Club! European Champions! They’ve beaten Bayern in their own backyard! They’ve found the holy grail after adventure frought with danger! And Drogba may never play for Chelsea again, he’ll never be forgotten. He’s immortal at this football club, Gary Neville.”
Neville: “It can never get better than this for English football, in this season the most incredible season. The 19th of May 2012, FIFA, UEFA, stop, FOOTBALLLL!!!!”
Tyler: “But then it was Drogba, and Drogba, and here, Drogba. The last kick, the winning kick. The man who lives for finals. The bigger the occasion, the better the response.”
Neville: “They’re crying. It was Drogba, it was the angels, it was the heavens, it was the stars, it was the gods, it was everything for Chelsea. This is not anything to do with football. This is more than football, this is spirit. Never giving in, fighting to the end, that English spirit running right the way through this Champions League for Chelsea.”
Tyler: “What a road, what a journey, what a finish.”
We’ve been fond of Gary Neville and his excitable commentary, but here he went off into a world only Ray Hudson should inhabit. In his ecstatic state, I would have almost thought he was streaking on the field in jubilation had I not heard him still on the microphone. I’m still trying to figure out what he meant by randomly shouting “FIFA UEFA stop FOOTBALLLLL!!” By the time he credited all the forces of nature, I thought it was an Ultimate Warrior promo. Then, I laughed when he credited the “English spirit” seeing as how Drogba is from the Ivory Coast and Chelsea started a grand total of 4 Englishmen in the side.
As far as the play by play, Tyler’s call of Drogba’s penalty, like his call of Sergio Aguero’s premiership winning goal, is simply amazing. Is there any doubt he’s one of the best announcers on the planet regardless of sport? Nobody can so accurately embody the biggest moments and find the perfect chemistry of words and emotion. He’s on the short list of best announcers in the world and his call was fitting for such a monumental occasion.