What if … Drogba missed?
Champions League Final, Bayen Munich
Just imagine, for one moment, what life might be like if Didi hadn’t slammed that header into the net on the 88th minute; if Cech hadn’t guessed that Robben was going to go for power and dived the right way; if Didi, again, hadn’t stood up and slotted home the most important penalty in our history.
In the olden days, before we were the greatest team in England, Britain, Europe and soon to be the world, I would often wonder what life might have been like had JT not fluffed his lines in Moscow. Where would we be now? (I thought) who would we have signed? and what would a happy Avram look like? But we were destined never to know. As Barcelona got stronger and stronger and our own dominance waned, I saw that one kick as the only chance we were going to have had. The one chance, blown.
And now the reverse is true, and I can’t help imagining: what if we hadn’t seen Didi’s header fly in? Two minutes later, the final whistle would have signalled the end of a dream, we’d have been out of the Champions League for at least a season, we’d have no manager, no decent signings and with five teams better than us in the league (and Liverpool a bête noire) we would have been staring into the abyss…
But Didi didn’t do a Terry and now DiMat has one year to mess about until Guardiola and Messi arrive and we get nominated the greatest team in history. Then we get a message from another planet inviting us to join the intergalactic league and we battle it out in another dimension to be masters of the universe. (You can get reasonable odds on all of that happening, apparently.)
So the wind is in our sails and with a couple of wins under our collective belt already we’ve stolen the season’s momentum and are showing that attacking football pays dividends. Of course there are people out there who will say it’s a marathon, not a sprint, but if the Olympics have taught us anything it’s than Mo Farah runs faster during a marathon than I do in a sprint, so those people can button it because that metaphor bakes no pyjamas.
Can I just say, while we’re on the Olympics, that in all the wonder of the past month, three people just didn’t get it: that commissar who kept disqualifying Pendles; George Michael, who seemed to see the closing ceremony of a sporting extravaganza, an audience of billions and the entire history of British pop music as a warm up act for him to showcase his new, boiled goose of a single; and Stuart Pearce, who single-handedly screwed up the one opportunity of our lifetimes to see an actual British team play by cowtowing to bureaucracy and then hiding behind the euphemism “footballing reasons”. Not a single Scot or Northern Irishman? Craig Bellamy? Micah Richards? Micah Richards? I mean come on. We all know he should have got Giggsy, Scholesy and Becks back together and gone out in a blaze of glory. I drove all the way to Cardiff to see team GB play. We lost on penalties while the rest of the country was watching “Super Saturday”, the greatest night in British athletics. Stuart Pearce, you’re an ass.