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Inside Chelsea’s 2012 UCL celebrations and the parallels to this year’s final

The party was still going strong when the sun came up and Didier Drogba jumped into the swimming pool.

It was the greatest night in Chelsea ’s history after winning the Champions League in 2012 and the similarities are so stark they will probably give Thomas Tuchel’s men belief they can repeat the success on Saturday.

Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in their own stadium to win the European Cup, Drogba scored the winning penalty in a shoot-out after the most remarkable season ended in glorious triumph.

Chelsea legends Roberto Di Matteo and Eddie Newton were put in charge after Andre Villas Boas was sacked in March and just over two months later the pair guided the club to their first ever Champions League trophy.

Chelsea celebrated deep into the night after beating Bayern in Munich

“We had family and friends at the party afterwards and I remember one of my friends came who I’ve known since we were both five years old at primary school,” recalled Newton.

“He just said to me: ‘Can you imagine we were playing on the playground one day, the next we’re in Germany celebrating winning the Champions League, on a rooftop watching the sun come up while Didier Drogba is jumping in the swimming pool!’

“How life is so mad! It was a good party – obviously! The players let loose and enjoyed themselves because they deserved it.”

Newton, 49, formed a brilliant partnership with Di Matteo in 2012 and sees the similarities this season as Tuchel took over in January with the club going through a bad run of form, gave them a lift and also guided them to a European final.

Tuchel is sweating on the fitness of N’Golo Kante and Edouard Mendy for the Manchester City game and, incredibly, Newton remembers how Chelsea were not sure about whether David Luiz and Gary Cahill would be ready.

“I remember that we had Gary Cahill and David Luiz who both had hamstring injuries and we were worried they might not get through the warm-up let alone the game,” recalled Newton.

“We had no left winger, so Ryan Bertrand and Ashley Cole played left back and left wing. We were on fumes the whole night.

“I do see similarities to what’s happening now. Manchester City will be favourites but Tuchel has done a great job and Chelsea have beaten them twice.

Chelsea were worried David Luiz might not make it through the warm ups

“The final in 2012 was incredible because the whole city believed, the whole of Munich thought it was Bayern’s destiny to win it in their own stadium. But it was so quiet, so focused and they were so determined.

“There’s loads of positives for Chelsea to take to the final. They both know each other really well but Chelsea know they can beat them, to do it three times in a row and win the Champions League is a big ask but they will believe they can do it.”

Newton was the homegrown hero who joined the club at 12, returned as an academy coach, became Di Matteo’s assistant and then branched out into his own and took over at Tranzponspor in 2020 where he won the Turkish Cup.

He is still in Turkey as his wife is Turkish, is enjoying life there but is open to offers again as he lost his job earlier this season but his real buzz comes from working with players.

Roberto Di Matteo and his assistant Eddie Newton proved the perfect duo for Chelsea

He added: “In football there’s no patience… and in Turkey there’s even less patience! I’m not bitter about it but people need to understand it was a difficult season, it was a valuable experience because there’s so much politics here.

“I like the challenge, I’m open to a challenge here, in England, wherever, I love being on the pitch with players, developing young players, working with senior players, tactics, visiting different cities and I’ve seen a lot of Turkey and I love it.”

Newton remembers how Ruud Gullit and Gianfranco Zola helped pave the way for Chelsea to become trailblazers in English football.

Former Chelsea boss Gullit signed Zola in 1996 as one of their big name foreign signings and the overseas stars blended in with the home grown players just like with Mason Mount and the rest today.

Newton, who graduated through the club’s academy, said: “I think we were the best at having a nucleus of home grown players and then having foreign players. You saw other clubs where it was very cliquey but Glenn Hoddle and Ruud deserve a big pat on the back for making that happen.

“I remember Rudi insisting upon everyone speaking English. He told them they were in England and had to observe the English way. Speak your own language in your own time but in the drying room or at training, then make sure you speak one language.

“I remember him organising a Christmas do one year. The European lads wanted a meal, nice food, glass of wine, The English lads wanted to go to a nightclub.

“Ruud pulled everyone together and said: ‘The first part of the night, we have a meal together and everyone has to come.’ They were all smiling, thinking they had got their way. ‘But,’ Ruud said… ‘afterwards, everyone is going to the nightclub – and no-one leaves till they’ve had two beers!’”




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