Bling when you’re winning
Remember that time you were walking home from a grubby one-night-stand with Jessica Alba, only for a limousine filled with a gang of amorous women to stop and drag you into their car?
Er, no, me neither.
But if you ever do find yourself in this position, then it might just remind you of the last few glorious weeks in European football.
After fans thought it couldn’t get any better, following an English Premier League season with more twists and turns than Hitchcock falling down a spiral staircase, we were greeted with another spectacular weekend of action to bid adios to the 2011/2012 club season.
There were thrills, spills and – best of all – no nil-nils.
While this drama may be good for the fans, the reality is that football is a big business – think Clive-Palmer-scoffing-a-sausage-roll-in-a-pair-of-speedos big – and the difference between winning and losing is not just pride, but mountains of cold, hard cash.
One choked spot-kick or linesman brain explosion and a club can fall into the red quicker than Maradonna got into the white.
Here are three games from the weekend just gone and how the results may affect the team’s future fortunes.
Champions League Final: Chelsea 1, Bayern Munich 1 (Chelsea win 4-3 on penalties)
Despite having a host of players guarding John Terry from himself on the sidelines rather than actually playing, Chelsea managed to come back from seemingly certain defeat three times to knock over Bayern Munich in front of their stunned home crowd.
By securing the cup Chelsea has earned around $77 million in prize money from competition organiser UEFA this season.
Not bad for a ten year, £1 billion investment, Roman!
These winnings may not let them keep Didier Drogba from dining on the world’s most gourmet spring rolls next season, but they should help in adding extra seating for the 42,000 capacity Stamford Bridge.
Alternatively, it could help hasten the construction of a life-sized solid-gold statue of Peter Cech.
As for Bayern; another trophy-less season won’t be pleasing to their accountants; the team’s supply of beer steins and lederhosen will have to hold out for another year.
Championship play-off final: West Ham 2, Blackpool 1
In an absorbing contest, West Ham struck a winner to join the big boys next season and put the tangerines to pulp.
Financially speaking, the championship play-off final is one of the biggest in the game with an estimated £90 million the difference between winning and losing. No pressure, ref!
Adding to the importance of West Ham’s win was the club’s recent financial struggles.
Also, the money they spent on this year’s promotion campaign – rumoured to be more than the expenditure of some Premier League clubs during 2011-2012 – could not have been matched if they were forced to play another year in the championship.
A loss for Blackpool – a club who spent the least out of any Premier League team in their 2010-11 campaign – has not only financially affected the club, but also the city.
As a major tourist destination for English people impressed by rubbish dumps passing as beaches, Blackpool relies heavily on the dollars of visiting football fans.
Suffice to say, you normally get more of those from Manchester, rather than Millwall.
Scottish Cup Final: Hearts of Midlothian 5, Hibernian 1
Remember how I compared last weekend’s football results to amorous women? Well, now it is time for a cruel life lesson that every man must learn: not all amorous women are attractive ones.
Sometimes it just gets plain ugly – occasionally with Scottish people involved.
After all the hype surrounding a big football game in Scotland not involving teams from Glasgow, the cup final proved to be more one-sided than a paraplegic triangle. The Hearts of not-Melbourne flicked their boogie-green Edinburgh neighbours into the next postcode.
For Hibernian, a team that’s been chasing the Scottish Cup for longer than the Terminator has been after John Connor, it is back to the drawing board.
The five loan players they signed in January to stave of relegation are now all likely to flee the club as soon they pass yesterday’s haggis.
It isn’t smooth sailing ahead for Hearts either, who only just escaped a winding-up order last October and still have debts in the tens of millions.
One can’t help but think that if Scrooge McDuck really cared about the Scottish Premier League he would be a little looser with the purse strings.
Women and football; they may beautiful to look at, but don’t forget there is a price to pay!