Europe News

Money, Russia and Painful Football

When English football fans go abroad there is often a huge sense of relief if the next morning is dominated by talk of the game rather than of trouble. And that's one reason that I can be happy. Manchester United and Chelsea fans, despite all the pre-match concerns did themselves proud. The Russians did pretty well too. Logistically things seemed to go very smoothly.

The real plaudits must though go to Manchester United. They won their third European Cup in the most dramatic of circumstances. Despite being second-best for most of the game (we attribute this to the fact that despite CNBC's connections the blogger had a seat very high up in the stadium - ed) and having the woodwork to thank they held their nerve in the penalty shoot out to win the most prestigious prize club football has to offer.

But spare a thought for the Chelsea captain John Terry. He could have won it and had he slotted his penalty it would have been himself who would have lifted the famous trophy and made history for Chelsea football club. But he didn't and I for one found it hard to stomach, especially surrounded by Manchester United fans than clearly have never seen the inside of Old Trafford.

So what now for both teams? United have done the double and repeated the feats of their team in 1999. Their challenge will be motivating themselves to do it all again. For Chelsea they end the season without a trophy for the first time in three seasons. Motivation next season should not be an issue. Whether Avram Grant keeps his job will now dominate the summer headlines.

English football fans are said to have spent around a $100 million to have made their way to Moscow for the final. Those in blue are counting the cost of that penalty miss. At least John Terry can forget about football for a few months as England are not playing in the European Championships. Easier said than done.

I am of course in lots of pain as a Chelsea fan, but the following story did bring a smile to my face after the game. A father was trying to hunt down the toilets in the stadium at half time when his daughter called to say hello. He explained he was fine but desperate to find a toilet. She replied: "Daddy I have the choice of three at home. They are all free but I don't need to go." Kids!