The moment I knew we were going to win the Champion’s League final was when Ryan Giggs stepped up to take our seventh penalty. It’s clichéd, but football is a funny old game and the footballing gods always delight in providing us with ‘Roy of the Rover’ drama.
50 years after Munich, one Man Utd legend breaking the record of another, wonder boy Ronaldo’s penalty being saved and Chelsea warhorse Terry slipping. The scene was set for a hero’s swansong. And Giggsy, got bless him, didn’t let us down.
I figure that in any penalty shoot out it’s likely that one player will miss, or hit the woodwork, and the goalkeeper will make one save. And of course, Van der Sar saved his ‘save’ for the perfect moment.
Like the 1999 victory, the last few moments were a bit of a blur and a rollercoaster of emotions. I couldn’t even remember who else had taken the penalties. I’d gone from feeling defeat was inevitable, when Ronaldo’s shot was saved, to knowing for certain that we were going to win.
In truth either team would have been worthy winners. We dominated the first half-they were saved by Cech; they dominated the second-we were saved by the woodwork. It was a fitting game for a Champion’s League final and great credit to two teams who have been consistently the best in Europe, but the omens were definitely red. The pre match entertainment was red, even the Russian Army were slipping on United shirts by the end of the game.
When Van der Sar made that save and the whistle went I finally embraced that Spanish custom of kissing everyone in the bar; male, female and anything else that happened to be near. Everyone that is except a saddo Scouse bint who obviously has masochistic tendencies. In the last couple of months she’s cheered on Roma, Barcelona, Wigan and now Chelsea. I don’t know what it is with some Liverpool supporters. At every major game I’ve watched there’s been at least one cheering louder for Man Utd’s opposition than anyone else. Personally I’m not arsed how any other team does, I’m only interested in our performances, so I can only assume, by their obsessive interest in Man U, there’s some sort of closet adoration going on there. Anyway, the reaction on her face as she skulked out of the bar made an already sweet victory that little bit sweeter.
There’s only one final thing to say
“…so keep the faith and never fear, we’ll keep the Red Flag flying here…”