THE FINALS I WON’T FORGET IN A LONG WHILE: Manchester United VS Chelsea 2008

“If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead” – Erma Bombeck

“Some people think football (soccer) is a matter of life and death. I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that” – Bill Shankly


It was going be a good day. I had many reasons to be optimistic and happy. First, I got some extra bucks designing a campaign poster for a prospective candidate for the Hall Governor elections. Secondly, tonight, I hoped my beloved club – Manchester United (the Red Devils) would crush Chelsea F.C. for good.

It was the Champions League Finals in Moscow. I already felt I was in Russia so I bought me a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka with the cash I made earlier in the day. I would use part of the cash to also pay Dr. Wood, the campus carpenter, to repair my shelf that was about falling off the wall. The remaining cash would be able to keep me alive for about a week before I got my monthly upkeep allowance. What a glorious day!

I didn’t attend lectures on that day so I spent the morning outside the campus, making sure the printer finished the job I had given him earlier because I had to deliver the posters to the client. Afterwards, I spent the afternoon at the toilet end of our hostel, smoking some joints with men and discussing how the evening would pan out. Cristiano Ronaldo would score at least two goals, I bragged. Big Joe would have none of that. Nonny-042 nodded in agreement and he whistled to the tune of Lucky Dube’s Prisoner playing from a stereo nearby. Mucor swore the Red Devils would not even have a shot on target. Nobody tried to argue with him; we knew the substance was already having effect on him. “O boi, this guy don dey dull o. Just one wrap, him don dey misyarn”, I said. Everyone laughed at the joke.

The Hall Governor had already told us he planned to show the match on the outside, just in front of the hostel. We would help him arrange the chairs and set up the stage and white screen, on which the visuals would be projected.

By 4pm, I had already placed bets with two people on what the outcome of the match would be. I bet that the Red Devils would score first and in the other, I bet the first yellow card would be shown to a Chelsea F.C. player. I couldn’t bet what the final scores would be; in as much as I wanted my beloved team to win, I still knew Chelsea sabi put sand for person garri.

After setting up the stage in front of the hostel, I proceeded to Nwanyiocha’s spot to buy my meal for the evening. I couldn’t eat a lot so I just had some boiled potatoes and fried plantain. I still discussed about the upcoming match with some guys at her place. Another person wanted to place a bet but I was short of cash. After I was done with the meal, I finally decided I couldn’t watch the match inside the campus. I would go off-campus to New Berries Garden, where it would be easy for me to destroy some properties in case the Red Devils lost.

I left the campus about an hour before the match started. I needed to reach the place on time so I could sit at a very strategic position and get chilled beer also. When I arrived, Chelsea fans had already brought a cow and placed at the corner near the suya spot. They painted the cow with the colors of the club – blue and white. They were singing and shouting on top of their voices. Noisy fellows!

I took my seat and watched the match preview. I saw the Luzhniki Stadium and the history of both clubs were revealed, including their head-to-head standings. It was the first all-English finals in the history of the competition. I saw the lineup and I cursed out. Why would Owen Hargreaves play on the right wing? I prayed the decision wouldn’t come back to haunt us at the end of the match. I also feared Michael Essien starting out as a right-back for Chelsea would cause some troubles for our wingers. Another issue I also had with the lineup was Ryan Giggs not starting. Well, nothing spoil sha; I’d have to trust Sir Fergie as always.

The match started. I felt we controlled possession fairly and Hargreaves was performing better than I expected. All of a sudden, Scholes and Makelele clashed in mid air. Holy Shit! I hoped the later was injured and that Scholes could continue. Evil Me! In a couple of minutes, we were rejoicing; Cristiano Ronaldo had scored from a Wes Brown cross. I requested for another green bottle and some cancer sticks. I felt good.

But it didn’t take long for our joy to be cut short. Almost be cut short, actually. I thought the ball had entered the goal area only for Van der Sar to pull off an incredible save. Wow, the World Best Stopper! We were still in control of the game. Peter Cech pulled off spectacular saves at the other end to deny us extra goals. Wicked Keeper!

All of a sudden, Lampard had a simple finish and the scores were level. The Chelsea fans that were quiet all the while erupted in jubilations and didn’t allow us any rest during half time. Chants of Abramovich, Lampard, Drogba and Terry filled the air. These guys no go fit shut up for once, I thought.

The match resumed some minutes later; I was on my third bottle by then. Throughout the second half, I was literally on my feet. O boi, Chelsea wan finish us. I almost fell off my seat when Drogba’s shot hit the post.

Extra time came and tension filled the whole arena. Any phuck up from any team now, na serious gbege. Lampard struck the underside of the bar and I screamed “Jesus”. The wicked John Terry almost broke my heart by clearing the ball off the line when I thought Giggs had scored. Later, Drogba was given his matching orders but it didn’t do us any good.

Penalty beckoned and eventually became a reality. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the shootouts. But hey, does it matter anymore; I wasn’t in the mood to destroy any properties again sef. So I chilled and had my fifth green bottle. Tevez scored, Ballack scored, Carrick same, then Belletti……and then the chosen one missed. Chai, Ronaldo why? I buried my head in my palms. So this is the end, I thought. Lampard, Hargreaves, Ashley Cole and Nani all scored. Then it was time for Terry, the Wicked to take his spot-kick. He adjusted his captain’s armband and then all of a sudden, lost his footing. It was all a dream. Chelsea fans cursed at him; we rejoiced. At least, this was a life line. Anderson then scored, followed by Kalou and then Giggs. Anelka stepped up; I prayed to God to please grant me this one last wish tonight. Van der Sar dived to the right and saved Anelka’s shot. We had won!

There was jubilation everywhere. Bottles were broken, chairs were smashed on the bodies of enemies, and I ducked as a green bottle flew in the air. The supporters of the two clubs clashed and were exchanging blows. Some sharp Manchester United fans rushed towards where the Chelsea fans kept the cow to slaughter the poor animal in anger but faced stiff resistance from the enemy line. There was chaos everywhere.

I escaped the venue by scaling a tall barrier set up by irate Chelsea fans. I went back to the campus that night and saw Dr. Wood dejected. Chelsea fans were mourning their loss. This was the final blow to those loud-mouthed folks, I thought.

That night, I had a dream. I was in Moscow getting a winner’s medal together with the Manchester United players. Mine was given to me after Ferdinand had collected his. As I was about to collect the medal, I suddenly woke up. I realized I was still in my room in the hostel and that my phone had just been stolen. Phuckery!

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