Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let's All Raise a Glass to the Miraculous Return of Grand Old Aristos to European Football's Top Table

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let's All Raise a Glass to the Miraculous Return of Grand Old Aristos to European Football's Top Table

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN CHADBAND

A FOOTBALL club can lose their money, their status and even their reputation over lean years but a great one never loses their soul.

On one of the most epic, intense and deafening occasions offered up on an English sporting field in recent memory, this felt like the night that our most garlanded club, Liverpool FC, truly rediscovered themselves.

"Yes, I felt the power of Anfield," acknowledged a rueful Jose Mourinho, his ears still ringing from the incredible cacophony an hour after the finish.

"And it was magnificent."

Mind, he may not have quite been in the mood to also acknowledge that, for English football, it is also magnificent that Liverpool are back in another European Cup Final.

Yes, back where they belong.

This is not to join the tedious chorus of those who will doubtless revel gleefully in this night as comeuppance for nouveau riche upstarts but simply to accept that, to most neutrals here and abroad, the return of grand old aristos to European football's top table in Istanbul three weeks hence is something worth celebrating.

Sure, in one sense, one could hardly hail it as a victory for the game when, as Mourinho was keen to point out, the team who showed all the ambition and played almost all the football eventually lost.

Yet when "You'll Never Walk Alone" is sung as it was here last night, you had to be from either SW6, the red half of Manchester or the blue half of Liverpool not to wish that unreal swell of passion to be rewarded.

In the stands, Mr Abramovich was presumably told by more than a few Reds 'you can't buy that, lad'.

"This club have been built on fantastic nights like this but they'd been taken away from us in the last few years and we were desperate to get them back," reckoned Jamie Carragher, once again their totem. …

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