John Dempsey on Cup Winners’ Cup win over Real Madrid: ‘It set a legacy for Chelsea’

For all that aura, it was Chelsea who were the dominant team, however. Osgood scored early in the second half and it looked to have won us the cup, only for a 90th-minute equaliser from Ignacio Zoco to take the game to a replay.

‘I like to say the final was a tale of two games, rather than halves. We weren’t thinking about a draw in the first game, especially as we were winning right up to the death. We should have won it then as we were the better team.

‘We weren’t too deflated after, either. Sometimes, when a team has had a win snatched from them like that, it can take the stuffing out of you. It can reduce your confidence a little for the replay, knowing you should’ve won. Dave Sexton wouldn’t let us even think like that. Immediately he was impressing onto us that we had the beating of Real, that we were the better team.

‘Dave was just so confident. His talks between the two games were all about getting at them, causing them problems, being on the front foot.’

While the Chelsea players took heed of their manager’s advice in the days between the first game and replay, it soon became clear that many of the Blues fans who had travelled to the Greek capital had missed their flights home in order to stay on and support the team for their second shot at Real. With many sleeping on the beaches and unsure of whether or not they would get tickets for the replay, the players stepped in.

‘Ossie took all our allocated tickets for the replay and nobody was quite sure what he was going to do with them. Then we found out he was giving them to the fans who had stayed in Athens and had been sleeping on the beach just so that they could be there still. 

‘The fans wanted to be a part of it and we knew that had Real not equalised so late on in the first game, they would have been. Ossie doing what he did, with the support of all us players, just showed how close we were to the Chelsea fans – those who could make it to Athens and those who watched us every week in the Shed.

‘We had such a strong bond with them. They would be there every week to watch us and it made us feel like we knew them. We respected them. You would come out onto the pitch, hearing them sing, and it was spinetingling. Ossie just did something small for them to show what we as players really felt.’

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