Benfica v Chelsea, Europa League Final: Mine's a triple – Victory over Benfica will see Chelsea join a most exclusive European elite

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Glenn Moore recalls the boozy beginnings of the Blues' victorious escapades in Continental cups

Chelsea can join an elite club should they win in Amsterdam, completing an odyssey which began with a nine-hour drinking session by an Athens hotel pool 42 years ago. The London club will become only the fourth team to win all three Uefa trophies: the European Cup/Champions League, the European Cup-Winners' Cup, and the Uefa Cup/Europa League. Only Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich, three of the Continent's most garlanded clubs, have previously achieved the feat and such stellar teams as Real Madrid, Internazionale and Liverpool never will.

That is because one of the trophies, the Cup-Winners' Cup, was discontinued in 1999. Like Liverpool, who lost to Borussia Dortmund in 1966, Real have reached the final, but lost to Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen in 1983 and to Chelsea in 1971.

In a golden era for English football in Europe, it was victory over the holders Manchester City in the semi-finals which took Chelsea back to Greece, where their campaign had begun against Aris Salonika. They faced a tougher proposition in the Athenian port of Piraeus. Opponents Real boasted six members of the 1966 European Cup-winning side, including legendary winger Gento and midfield maestro Pirri, but Chelsea should have won outright in 90 minutes. However, having led through Peter Osgood's 56th-minute strike, they conceded in injury time following a miscued clearance by John Dempsey. Real were the better side in extra time but Chelsea hung on.

 

Follow all the latest news on the match and keep up-to-date with developments in Amsterdam by clicking here

 

In those days a drawn match meant a replay, not a penalty shoot-out. This was arranged for the same ground 48 hours later, a Friday night. Chelsea had been billeted out of town as manager Dave Sexton did not want his team, which had already acquired a reputation for living life to the full, succumbing to temptation. But after the final Sexton told them they could spend the "rest day" doing whatever they liked, explaining "they had performed terrifically for me over a long, hard season". Osgood, Charlie Cooke and Tommy Baldwin headed for the Athens Hilton, where the club's directors were staying. Beers were ordered, and cocktails, then more beers, and more cocktails.

"We were a bit pissed when we got back to the hotel," admitted Baldwin to author Clive Batty in Kings of the King's Road (Vision Sports Publishing). Baldwin insisted he only drank beer but Osgood said: "Me and Charlie were definitely on the cocktails. I had quite a few. I remember Alan Hudson coming past and saying, 'Come on, lads', and I said, 'Look, son, don't worry about us, we're on the top of our form, just worry about your own game'." Hudson himself recalled to Batty: "Ossie [Osgood] said to me, 'You go home and have an early night because you've got to do my running for me tomorrow'. They were already pretty pissed."

After eight hours' drinking they headed back to the hotel, arriving too late for the 7pm dinner. Sexton told Baldwin, who had been a late substitute in the first match, he was fined – and he was playing. If he had known, said Baldwin, who was nicknamed The Sponge for his capacity to soak up alcohol, "I'd probably have gone out anyway".

The following night, with Baldwin in for the injured John Hollins, Osgood playing only after his second cortisone injection in three days (which would be frowned upon today), and Hudson carrying a dead leg, Chelsea went two up by half-time. Dempsey volleyed in from a Cooke corner, Osgood added an equally well-hit second following Baldwin's pass. Real, themselves hindered by an injury to Pirri, pulled a goal back with 15 minutes left but were this time unable to force extra time. The Chelsea players celebrated in style, that night, on the plane home and then on an open-top bus which collected them at Heathrow on the Saturday morning and took them to Stamford Bridge.

That team broke up under the weight of its own indiscipline and it was another 27 years before Chelsea beat VfB Stuttgart, managed by current Germany manager Joachim Löw, in the same competition. Gianluca Vialli was Chelsea's player-manager, having unexpectedly taken over from Ruud Gullit three months earlier. A groin injury confined Gianfranco Zola to the bench but he came on to score with virtually his first touch. Though Dan Petrescu was dismissed with five minutes remaining, Chelsea held on.

Since then the quest has been to win the Champions League, an aim finally achieved, famously and improbably, in Bavaria last May. Chelsea hoped to be defending that trophy this month, but victory in the junior competition will give them a very rare treble.

 

Follow all the latest news on the match and keep up-to-date with developments in Amsterdam by clicking here

 

Up for the Cups: European multiple winners

Juventus

The first club to win the triple crown, lifting all three in a heady eight-year period under current Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni. A 1977 Uefa Cup triumph was followed by the Cup-Winners' Cup in 1984 and the European Cup against Liverpool a year later in a final marred by the Heysel tragedy.

Ajax

Inspired by Johan Cruyff to a trio of European Cups in the early 1970s, Ajax added the Cup-Winners' Cup in 1987 before the 1992 Uefa Cup completed the set.

Bayern Munich

Bayern won the Cup-Winners' Cup in 1967, defeating Rangers in Nuremberg, and added a trio of European Cups in the 1970s. It was not until 1996 they achieved the treble with the Uefa Cup.

Mighty managers

Two managers, Trapattoni and Udo Lattek (Bayern, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Barcelona), have won them all. Arsène Wenger has lost the finals of all of them (with Monaco and Arsenal).

Nine players have lifted all three trophies, including Arnold Muhren, with Ajax and Ipswich, and Gianluca Vialli, who had already done the treble with Juventus and Sampdoria when he won the Cup-Winners' Cup again with Chelsea in 1998.

Close but no cigar

Barcelona won the Inter-Cities' Fairs Cup, the forerunner of the Uefa Cup, as well as the Champions League and Cup-Winners' Cups. However, Uefa does not recognise the Fairs' Cup, primarily as the organisation did not run it but also as it had odd qualification criteria (in Barca's first final they beat a London XI).

Chelsea finals

European Cup-Winners' Cup 1971

Chelsea 1 (Osgood 56), Real Madrid 1 (Zoco 90) aet

Replay: Chelsea 2 (Osgood 33, Dempsey 39), Real Madrid 1 (Fleitas 75)

European Cup-Winners' Cup 1998

Chelsea 1 (Zola 71), Stuttgart 0

Champions League 2012

Chelsea 1 (Drogba 88), Bayern Munich 1 (Müller 83) Chelsea won 4-3 on penalties

Suggested Topics
News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat