Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Rivalries Run Deep for Fans of London Soccer Clubs

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Rivalries Run Deep for Fans of London Soccer Clubs

Article excerpt

Many hard-core English fans would absolutely hate to see Chelsea become the first London team to win the Champions League trophy.

In the layered world of soccer, there is no end of season, no lack of subplots.

A large swath of London-centric fans is likely to be screaming "Go, Schweinsteiger!" on Saturday during the Champions League final.

Many hard-core English fans would absolutely hate to see Chelsea become the first London team to win the Champions League trophy, which began as the European Cup 57 seasons ago, and just about every Tottenham fan in creation will be rooting for Bayern Munich.

Soccer creates odd and highly temporary alliances. After that stupendous Survival Sunday last week, when two rivals from Manchester struggled into the final seconds of simultaneous matches to decide the Premier League championship, the complicated dramatics continue. They hardly ever end, really.

If there is any other sport on Earth that provides so many concurrent thrills from club play and national competition, then I have never heard of it.

Nobody has more to gain from Chelsea's defeat than its crosstown London rival, Tottenham Hotspur.

It's not merely a major case of schadenfreude, either. Because of a glitch in the rules this season, by winning the Champions League final in Munich on Saturday, Chelsea would gain a berth in next season's Champions League tournament -- squeezing Tottenham out of that lucrative and prestigious continental competition.

This season Tottenham challenged for first place in the Premier League, ultimately finishing fourth, which under recent conditions would have qualified them for the Champions League next season. A ruling by U.E.F.A., European soccer's governing body, however, specifies that Chelsea would dislodge Tottenham by winning the final on Saturday.

This decision has kicked up all sorts of London antagonisms. Normally, Tottenham fans are more concerned with their North London derby with Arsenal. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.