Posted: 5/26/2013


     Bayern's flying Dutch winger Arjen Robben got the headlines last night in the world's most famous stadium but he was only part of the five star classic.

     Both goalkeepers, Mauel Neuer of FC Bayern and Roman Weidenfeller, captain of Dortmund Borussia were superb in their respective nets, and the end to end battle for European supremacy was a thrill to watch, and with passion of the 50,000 German fans lucky enough to get tickets, and the 150,000 or so visiting fans estimated to have thronged TV vantage points in London, it was a night to remember.

    The saddest thing was that 36,000 tickets were reserved for THE FOOTBALL FAMILY, who were dished out HALAL friendly food in the main stand.  Some of course were a reward for distinguished service and for the many delegates attending the UEFA Congress in the city, but THIRTY SIX THOUSAND ??????. How many relatives of Michel Platini had to be accommodated???

     Both clubs were of course German and both have a massive fan base and REGULAR attendances of near 80,000 for home matches, at affordable prices, with local ownership and devotion for and by the people.

     Maybe we would have had a different outcome if Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli had brandished a red card and given Dante a second yellow card after he brought down the superb Mario Reus with a boot in the stomach. The result was a penalty early in the second half after Bayern had taken the lead through Mandzukic. Ilkay Gundogan confidently sent Neuer the wrong way from the spot.

     Last season I took a group of young Norwegian fotball players to Elland Road to watch a crap game between two crap teams, Leeds United and Doncaster Rovers. REDUCED prices for the kids at 16.00. Two nights later we went to watch Manchester United v Ajax in a Europa League match at The Theatre of Dreams and were only charged 8.00.  I can negotiate similarly inexpensive tickets at Bundesliga I and Bundesliga II and Austrian Bundesliga I matches.

     DFB, the German association has 5,500 A licence coaches and 28,400 B licence coaches. The FA in England has 895 and 5,500.!!!. Something to learn from that I hope?

     This wasn't tika taka football Barca style but joyful fussball with a Teutonic twist.

     I remember enjoying the daily talks with Jurgen Klopp on TV while at the FIFA 2006 World Cup while he was in charge of lowly Mainz and have followed his energetic, inspirational, passionate and knowledgeable managerial style at Borussia. He was standing and dancing on the touchline. Contrast with the more experienced and calmer 67 year old Jupp Heynckes and his penultimate match in charge of the Bavarians, with the German Cup Final in Berlin's Olympic Stadium next weekend to attempt the treble.

    He won the Champions League in 1998 with Real Madrid and was sacked. This time he will retire and hands the reins to Pep Guardiola.

    Food at Wembley is very expensive except for the Football Family and the press. The official programme was 10.00 although I received a free copy. In 1966 I went to watch NINE matches in Sheffield, Middlesborough, Manchester with 6 at Wembley, including the final, for a grand total of .9.50. The category 2 ticket for the final, near the Royal Box was 2.50.  The standing tickets up north were only 50d and the early round cat. 2 seats at Wembley to watch England were a pound.

     I have loved the European Cup/Champions League Final since I watched THE VERY FIRST ONE on a tiny, grainy black and white TV from Parc des Princes in Paris in 1956. Real Madrid 4 v  Stade de Reims 3. refereed by the legendary Arthur Ellis..

    Next year the final-the 59th- will be at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon with only a 65,000 capacity. Figure out how many REAL fans will be inside !!! The old Estadio Nacional in Lisbon was used in the 1967 final where Celtic beat Internazionale 2-1.