The final day of the season brought tense feelings at the bottom of the league, emotions at the Britannia, and total relaxation everywhere else, except for Stamford Bridge where the champions Chelsea played host to Sunderland.
Stamford Bridge was set up for a huge day of celebration, reminiscing and euphoria. The 90 minutes of the match took a back seat as there were more pressing issues to be had.
It was Didier Drogba’s second shot at a final game at Stamford Bridge, and this time he meant it, but obviously it was the day Chelsea finally lifted the Premier League trophy after winning it three weeks ago.
The atmosphere before the game was incredible, with fans waving the free flag they each received under their seat creating a rippling wave of blue as the old team that won the title ten years ago was introduced onto the pitch. Players such as defender Riccardo Carvalho, goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini and striker Eidur Gudjohnsen being welcomed by a rapturous cheer as they enjoyed a lap of the pitch.
The atmosphere during the match was typical of Chelsea; reserved with the occasional song about being champions and appreciation for their captain and manager. Sunderland fans tried to get a response with chants pointing out that they have won the top tier prize six times, even though the last time was before World War 2, but nothing was going to bother the Chelsea faithful today.
The game started comfortably with player of the season, Eden Hazard, playing some attractive football with Willian and Drogba. But it was Sunderland who struck first, Steven Fletcher with the goal. Shortly after, Drogba was substituted off, as he was playing with an injury, and he was taken off in style as his team-mates carried him off like a king.
But I am sure Drogba was especially disappointed to go off when he did, as seven minutes later, Chelsea earned a penalty, and there would be only one candidate if he was still on the pitch. But it turned out to be his replacement, the newly fit Diego Costa, who would be the one to fire the ball into the bottom corner past Vito Mannone.
The game trundled along without too much drama, maybe a slight hint of a penalty appeal for Hazard but nothing too concrete.
Before half-time, ex-Newcastle striker and therefore enemy of Sunderland, Loic Remy, came on for the injured Cuadrado. It would be him who would then score the two goals to give Chelsea their eventual 3-1 win, first in the 70th minute and then again in the 88th. A comfortable win but in no way was the match competitive.
Then came the celebrations, the trophy, and the moment Chelsea fans believed would come since August: John Terry lifted the trophy and what followed was pandemonium, with Didier Drogba making a speech thanking the fans for their support and hinted at a return in another role.
Then there was singing, there was Champagne and family members accompanying the players as they completed a lap of honour, showing off the trophy and their medals, before they disappeared down the tunnel to carry on the celebrations.
The fans carried on singing outside of the ground, with Fulham Road bellowing the sound of ‘Blue is the Colour.’ And today, along with tomorrow when the Trophy Parade takes place, London is blue.