Plenty of tears may have been shed by Blues fans after Chelsea went down 3-2 to Manchester City in the FA Community Shield last weekend. Or maybe not.
Of course, it is disappointing to lose any match against one of our main Premier League rivals, particularly when there’s a big trophy at stake. But with the match coming as it does in that odd nexus between the end of pre-season and the start of the new Premier League campaign, I think that many of us are prepared to let this one slide.
The good news for those feeling genuinely aggrieved that we didn’t win the Community Shield is that it is only one of seven trophies that Chelsea are in the running for this season. In fact, we will have a chance to add more silverware to the bulging cabinet before the month is out when we meet Europa League winners Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup in Monaco on August 31.
The Super Cup came about in 1972 after the idea of an annual match between the winners of the continent’s two main competitions – the European Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup – was proposed by Dutch journalist Anton Witkamp. Chelsea fans can of course feel genuinely aggrieved that he didn’t get his brainwave a year earlier because it denied us the opportunity to watch the likes of Osgood, Cooke, Harris and Bonetti taking on an Ajax Amsterdam side at the peak of their powers.
The competition received official UEFA recognition in 1973 but it would be fair to describe it as a bit of a mess during the next quarter-century due to the problem of trying to get the two competing clubs to arrange a two-legged tie over the course of the season. It meant that in some years the match was played as early as August or as late as March, in other years it took place over one leg and in other years, it just wasn’t played at all.
So in 1998, UEFA got organised and decreed that the Super Cup would become a single match, played in Monaco in August as a curtain raiser for the new season of European competition. And having just missed out on the competition in 1971, it was somewhat fitting that Chelsea finally got a chance to play in it as Cup Winners’ Cup holders.
Interestingly our opponents that evening were Atletico’s city rivals, a little-known club called Real Madrid who we had also beaten in the Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1971. And thanks to an 81st minute goal by Gustavo Poyet, Gianluca Vialli’s side (which included current Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo in the starting line-up) prevailed 1-0 to lift the Super Cup for the first time.
That was the first of 15 consecutive Super Cups at the Stade Louis II, a venue where we would experience some heartbreak in 2004 when we lost 3-1 to AS Monaco in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
And having won the first Super Cup to be played there, it would give us the unique opportunity to provide the other bookend and be the last club to win it there as well before it becomes a movable feast in 2013.
And if we don’t win that as well, we still have the FIFA Club World Cup, which (happily for Blues fans in Asia) means a trip out east to Japan for the team in December for a tournament that could see Chelsea genuinely crowned as world champions.
A view from the (Far) East Stand: are the thoughts of a Singapore-based writer who has avidly followed the Blues from afar since the days of Kerry Dixon and Pat Nevin.
Please note : the views in many of our blogs are written by fans of Chelsea FC and are not necessarily the views of the club