In the second instalment of a new feature focusing on the story behind a classic match relevant to our next fixture, club historian Rick Glanvill looks back at when Chelsea channelled the force to beat Real Madrid...
Chelsea’s maiden bow in the Uefa Super Cup on 28 August 1998 was an auspicious one, and not only because the Cup Winners’ Cup winners were set to re-enact the 1971 final of that competition by playing seven-time European Cup victors Real Madrid.
Most previous editions of the European showpiece had been played over two legs, but Chelsea-Real was a one-off affair, and the first of 15 held each summer in the diminutive but advantageously located home of Monaco, Stade Louis II.
Current members of the Blues’ coaching staff, Eddie Newton and Jody Morris, watched from the bench as the teams lined up before kick-off while the Super Cup anthem was played.
Wait … anthem? What actually blared out from the sound system was the fanfare and closing title music from the original ‘Star Wars’ film. It is called ‘The Throne Room’ and was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, and as the Champions League theme was recorded by the Royal Philharmonic, we can broach no ‘wrong mix-tape track’ excuses, please.
As it transpired, channelling the Force, Gustavo Poyet secured an Obi-Wan-nil win with the only goal of the game, and Gianluca Vialli continued his Jedi-like ability to attract silverware to Chelsea – this was the player-manager’s third cup success in just five months.
On top of that, since neither side had previously lifted the trophy, the Blues had stolen a march on the storied Castillians in one European competition, at least. New hope, one might say.