Posted: 5/23/2010


       'We came, we saw, we conquered'.  Julius Caesar said it in 47 BC and Jose Mourinho, the OTHER special one, in AD 2010 in Madrid's Bernabeau Stadium.  A 2-0 victory for Internazionale over FC Bayern Munich was their first such triumph for 46 years.

    So, The Portuguese coach became the third to win Champions League, or European Cup titles with two different clubs, and may stay in the Spanish capital to coach Real Madrid, the world's greatest, and most successful European club, club next season. Ernst Happel (Feyernoord and HSV Hamburg),and Ottmar Hitzfeld (Dortmund Borussia and FC Bayern) also won with two different clubs.

       I vividly remember visiting the Bernabaeu for the first time and having some business with the general manager. I wanted to see their famous trophy room, so we walked down the corridor, the door was unlocked and there was this treasure trove of trophies, dominated by SEVEN EUROPEAN CUPS, so far!!. The guy had a phone call to make, so he told me to look around, take photos, lock up when I had finished and then return the key!! It is one of the seven wonders of the football world.

     The referee Howard Webb, 38, and his assistants were English for the first time since Philip Don in Athens 1994: AC Milan 4 v Barcelona 0, due to the fact that there has been at least one English club in recent finals. He had a pretty easy time of it, and his next big assignment will be at the 2010 FIFA World Cup next month.

    Next seasons UEFA Champions League Final will be at Wembley Stadium with 2012 scheduled for the Allianz Arena in Munich.  By the way, Blackpool, who won Saturday's Premier League Play-Off Final 3-2 at Wembley against Cardiff City are quoted at 10,000 to 1 AGAINST, to win the EPL next season. They MIGHT finish in the top 4 though and qualify for Europe and the chance to make it to Munich!! Tangerine Dreams???

     You have seen the comments from disgraced Lord Triesman, former communist party member and head of the England 2018 World Cup Bid and also Chairman of the Football Association. He had to step down rather quickly from both positions after it was claimed by a young former female aid that he was practicing other positions with her at her flat. She taped private conversations with the 66 year old and sold them to The Mail on Sunday, claiming that the Russia and Spain/Portuguese bid committees where going to conspire to try and bribe referees at the coming FIFA World Cup.

     Probably just bragging talk from the old man, but it is interesting to note that Russian referees have not been given any major assignments since the last FIFA World Cup in 2006..  In a knock-out match between Portugal and Holland that I attended in Nurnberg the referee Valentin Ivanov gave out 4 red cards and 12 yellow ones. It was definitely not his fault, as the two national team managers Phil Scolari and Marco Van Basten and their players, were totally out of control.  However for a number of seasons, with bribery and corruption a way of life in the Russian Leagues, their federation, RFU, brought in foreign referees for big matches.

        A couple of days ago there was a TV interview with a former Russian football journalist who said that all was not well in the country, and that their bid was not worth the paper it was written on. Lots of inadequate stadiums, and poor transport and infrastructure. I spoke with the media officer for their bid at the Red Cafe at a recent conference who showed me what they had to offer.

       Despite having a vaste empire stretching 9 time zones-(I have been on the Trans-Siberian Express from one end to the other), they are only using cities in 3 time zones and five areas, or CLUSTERS, in their bid. This leaves out the whole of Siberia including important cities like Novosibirsk, Irkutsk and Vladivostok, and then there is the problem of visas for spectators.