As the second half started, so did the rain. When it passed from torrential to monsoon setting, most of the 40-strong Lewes fans headed for the covered terrace, leaving the hardcore LLF on behind the goal. Our dedication was rewarded on the hour mark when Sam 1 (Crabb) beat his man on the right, crossed to the penalty spot where Sam 2 (Cole) met the ball on the volley and gave Louis Wells absolutely no chance.
If you are in any doubt about the anticipation for the Champions League final at Wembley then go an ask your average season ticket holder at the Allianz Arena or the Signal Iduna Park where they will be watching the game on Saturday night. Over 1 million people applied, but failed, to get tickets through the small allocations given to Bayern and Borussia for the most eagerly awaited European Cup final in decades. I cannot remember a final that has created such as buzz among the neutrals fans, none more so than the English who look on so enviously at the way German football is run. Make no mistake, this is THE best final the competition could have asked for. In some ways there is a poignant irony that the two teams competing at Wembley in the FA’s anniversary year are from our fiercest footballing rivals but in my opinion we are lucky enough to be watching two of the best teams in Europe at the moment compete for the coveted trophy.
Their good humour lasts about eight minutes; Azpilicueta is deemed to have handled the ball, and after a few seconds of confusion, a penalty is awarded. The Benfica section away to our right celebrates as Cardoza scores although closer to home, one Chelsea fan in our section takes umbrage with a celebrating Benfica supporter, and for a few minutes is facing away from the game, as he points and looks like he about to clump him one. The Benfica fan is just ignoring him, although it does look a difficult job.
Wembley Stadium played host to one of the most dramatic finals in FA Cup history on Saturday as Ben Watson headed home a last minute goal to give Wigan Athletic their first major trophy in their 81-year history.
I applaud his words 100% and this should be a message every club takes to heart. As a fan of Lewes I know we are in a better position than most clubs at our level thanks to our home support and backing of the town. As a member I am also eternally optimistic that the club is genuinely owned by people who care and as a Director of the Club I am grateful that we have a plan for the future. So why did we get today so wrong on the pitch? Who knows. I do not believe in bad luck (as Adrian said to me near the end of the game “There is no such thing as bad luck in football, just bad technique), nor do I buy into the “bad day at the office” theory. Games are won and lost in the preparation for the game and that is why Hendon won, and Lewes lost. There will be other cups (starting next Sunday in the FA Trophy at home to Lowestoft Town) but it is the dream of every single Non League club to reach the 1st Round (or further) and draw a Sheffield United or a Portsmouth this season. That dream will have to be put back in the box for one more year.