So close, yet so far
16th May 2002
The piercing noise of my alarm clock woke me from my deep slumber. I didn’t want to be woken; I just wanted to sleep and forget. How had it all gone wrong? We nearly had it all. We nearly won the Treble, following in Manchester United’s footsteps only a few years earlier. Leverkusen’s very own golden era, with their own chance to make history in German and European football. Taken. Gone. Destroyed.
I rolled over in my bed to rummage around for the TV remote that I knew was somewhere on my mess of a floor. BBC Breakfast was rambling on about some new film that had come out, and it was giving me an even worse headache than the previous night had. Drinking in Glasgow was a very unforgiving place, especially when the barman could tell you were a disgruntled and upset Leverkusen fan on the night of the Champions League Final. In fairness, to lose to that goal was understandable, but to throw away a five point lead in the league with four games to go! That was simply unheard of.
Nevertheless, I had to stumble into my shower and get ready for the day ahead. I was coming to end of my third and final year at Glasgow University, and today was the day that mattered the most out of three years in the city. Today was the day that I could forget about Leverkusen’s season and move on in life, hopefully with my degree in psychology. My whole year’s study had been ruined by travelling all over Europe to watch Leverkusen play: the mighty cauldron of the Nou Camp, the hostile Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Istanbul and of course the Theatre of Dreams at Old Trafford. What a fun year it had been. But now it was time to move on.
And like myself, God thought the same thing of the Leverkusen team, with little luck being given to them the following year. A disappointing 15th place in the Bundesliga, and only getting to the 2nd Group Stage of the Champions League only helped to compound the misery of the fans from the previous season.