Johan Cruijff: “Chelsea winning the CL final is a defeat for proper football. I’d rather not win it than to have to play this way.”
Recently, I have been extremely grumpy and needed a bit of time to reflect on a bad week for honest, beautiful football, which started with the Northern Oilers succeeding in buying the title, and finished six days later, with the London Oilers getting their greasy hands on the ‘Cup with the big ears’.
Of course, these teams required incredible amounts of luck and it could easily have gone another way, but it happened nonetheless: sadly, Citeh and the Chavs have had a return on their £1bn investments this season.
In both events, the pain was somewhat mellowed through pleasant side-effects. Citeh’s win meant that Fergie and the red part of Manc-chester won nothing this season, and the chavs’ cashing in on the biggest ‘luck-cheque’ ever issued, meant the Spuds will not take part in next season’s Champions League, which could mean the beginning of the end, that never really began in the first place, for them. Dare I whisper it though: I feel it bit sorry for the Spuds having to miss out on CL footie, as the number six of the PL takes their spot despite their dismal domestic season.
It became clear to most, if not all of us, especially after such a difficult start, that we would not be challenging for the title this season. And although it hurts to see the Northern Oilers being successful in buying the PL title this season, with an incredible loss of £194m this year alone, it did not affect me anywhere near as much as seeing the Chavs take the CL-cup back to London – the first ‘local’ team to do so.
As a modern-era Gooner – I slowly but steadily converted to Goonerdom in the mid-nineties – I have build up a big loathing of the Chavs in recent years. The biggest reason for this is what they have done to football since the arrival of Abramovich and his brutal attempt to buy titles at any costs. Mourinho was brought in and his approach to the game, which is basically parasitical – they let others play entertaining football, whilst they grab as many cups as possible with boring, anti-football – did a lot of damage to the beautiful game in England.
Luckily, it was his ‘style’ of football combined with his loathsome, self-loving personality which did not meet with the long-term approval of the equally repulsive and egotistical Russian Oligarch, and he was sacked after only a few years in charge. After his departure, football in England was able to liberate itself again from the Portuguese Catenaccio-esque shackles, with which he was able to win a number of prizes whilst killing the beauty in the game with his uber-defensive, and therefore boring, football.
If every team would play the same football as Chelsea did under Mourinho nobody would watch football games anymore.
Now, the better part in me tells me to show some magnanimity – to congratulate our fellow Londoners with bringing the Cup back to the capital, but however hard I try I just cannot do it.
On Saturday, the chavs showed no desire to entertain their world audience, there was a total lack of adventure and courage, and although their game-plan might not have been written physically by Mourinho, it had all the hallmarks of that odious ex-Chav.
For the Southern Oilers to stick to such negative tactics in the final, I can only have disdain. They were exactly the same as in the semi-finals against Barcelona, and although it was not anything to sing high praises about, you can understand why RDM chose this strategy against the Catalans: it was their only chance and it fitted perfectly with their culture and style of players.
They still needed to cash-in a big part of this season’s enormous ‘luck-cheque’ though, and this combined with relentlessly and shamelessly parking the bus for 180 minutes paid-off for them handsomely. However, football died a little in those semi-final legs last month, as we witnessed a gross case of injustice. But that’s football.
Arsène Wenger would rather have quit football altogether if he was forced to play with such a philosophy and strategy. In our games with Barcelona, we always tried to escape their suffocation; we always wanted to play our game of football, even though the Catalans were successful for large parts in both encounters to force-feed their style of football to us. We never surrendered, we did not let them bully us, and we showed the rest of the world how Barcelona can be beaten in style.
The Chavs never had such desires, never tried to play attacking football, and the main reason is they lack the class of Arsenal, as almost always is the case with the nouveau -riche.
Bayern had been humiliated by Dortmund in the German cup final, only a week ago, and are nowhere near as strong as Barcelona. Yet, Chelsea chose not to play football, to let Bayern look after the entertainment side of things, to just wait and sit back – like a spider in the web: in order to pounce and kill off Bayern from a set-piece, or a risk-free counter-attack.
This was the football of cowards, of parasites, of the shameless – of those who have no pride, and of those who do not love the game for the beauty it ought to bring to people around the world.
They succeeded and (for this occasion only) the good guys lost. There is nothing for us to be magnanimous about: a team that approaches a final with such negativity deserves nothing but contempt. On top of this approach, they also enjoyed another dose of incredible luck, and it just seemed that whatever happened, and whoever they would play against, they would somehow always end up collecting this year’s CL-cup.
But what will the world remember from this game say in 24/25 years time? Well, let’s go back 24/25 years to illustrate how utterly empty and mortal the chavs’ capture of this year’s CL-cup soon will become.
On 25 May 1988, PSV Eindhoven won its only ever Europacup 1 (now CL) title, beating Benfica in the final on penalties (6-5), after a boring, goalless draw for 120 minutes. How many of us can still remember anything of this?
After relatively easy rounds against Galatasaray and Rapid Wien, PSV beat Bordeaux with the advantage of having scored the away-goal (1-1, 0-0), only to repeat exactly the same feat in the semi-final against the hot favourite, Real Madrid (1-1, 0-0). PSV were the first Dutch team to win the EC1 after the incredible successes of the total football machine of Ajax in the early seventies.
The contrast could not have been any bigger as Hiddink’s PSV were totally happy to sit back and defend solidly, hoping to pounce on any mistakes of the opponents via breaks and set-pieces – so very similar to the chavs, 24 years on.
Although PSV and their fans will always be able to claim they have won the biggest club competition in Europe, the rest of the world has long forgotten about it. The final and the previous rounds have almost totally been forgotten, and PSV’s winning of the cup has simply been reduced to a statistic – a written fact.
I have no doubt there will be plenty of Chavs saying they simply don’t care how they won the CL – that all that matters is they did it, and that Arsenal have never won it.
But I agree with Cruijff: Chelsea’s victory was a defeat for proper football.
And one thing I know for sure: as long as Arsene Wenger is our manager, we will always aim to do anything that we do with style, with respect to our opponents, with loyalty to our philosophy of playing the beautiful game, and with the sheer desire to play the sort of football that sets hearts on fire, and entertains a crowd, whether it’s a small or XXX-Large one. Wenger is not perfect, but you cannot fail him for his desire to play beautiful football.
One day, hopefully soon, Arsenal will win the CL and when we do so, it will be unforgettable, and just like we did with the Invincibles, Arsenal is likely to leave something behind for eternity, something utterly immortal, something to talk about for generations.
We will show the chavs how it should be done. Arsenal would aim to play proper, beautiful, entertaining football and do London proud across the globe. And that’s why there is nothing better in the world than to be a Gooner.
Written by TotalArsenal.