Date:19th May 2022 at 8:00am
Written by:

Stamford Chidge interviews Gary Thacker, author of a new book focusing on Chelsea’s extraordinary Champions’ League campaign of 2012, culminating in the club’s first European Cup trophy.

By the early months of 2012, it was clear that the appointment of Andre Villas-Boas as head coach at Chelsea wasn’t delivering the required success. Instead, the club was spiralling towards its worst season of the Roman Abramovich era. On 4 March, Villas-Boas was dismissed, with his former assistant Roberto Di Matteo made interim head coach until the end of the season. Struggling in the league and with their place in the Champions League in peril, it was an appointment designed to make the best of things until a permanent replacement could be sought in the summer. Instead, under Di Matteo’s guidance, Chelsea embarked on a run of performances that not only led to an FA Cup triumph, but resurrected their European hopes with improbable victories over Napoli, Benfica and Guardiola’s all-conquering Barcelona before, against all odds, winning the Champions League by defeating Bayern Munich in their own stadium. This is the story of a triumph that came out of the blue.

Out of the Blue is the extraordinary story of Chelsea’s recovery from a season seemingly in terminal decline and describes the story of how the club’s worst season in more than a decade ended with ‘The greatest night in the history of Chelsea Football Club’ (Martin Tyler – Sky). It relates how Roberto Di Matteo took over a club in turmoil and delivered FA Cup and Champions League triumphs against all odds

The book picks up the story from Terry’s tears in Moscow and takes it on, through various managers, to the triumph in Munich and tells the story of a team that was on the brink of elimination so many times, but survived to triumph.

It gives the details, plus many of the surrounding stories, of all Chelsea’s Champions League games together with exclusive insight from interviews with celebrated journalists and authors in Portugal, Spain and Germany as Chelsea toured the continent in search of glory.

Out of the Blue relives the rollercoaster and emotionally draining events in Barcelona and Munich that almost defy belief and contains interviews with a collection of Chelsea fans, including Chelsea FanCast’s Mark Worrall, as they followed the club’s progress: their hopes, fears and, ultimately, celebrations.

Gary Thacker is an established author and journalist who writes for numerous magazines and websites, including The Guardian Sports Network and newspapers in Spain. He was shortlisted for Blogger of the Year by the FSF in 2017, and has guested on BBC and talkSPORT radio. A member of These Football Times’ Senior Leadership Team, he also appears on podcasts and hosts the popular ‘Political Football’ series. This is his sixth book

Out of the Blue can be purchased from Amazon, around the world, for £16.99 or cheaper using this link