Live: 2027/28 Champions League Final

“Hello and welcome to the Ernst-Happel-Stadion in Vienna! I’m Jamie Carragher, here with Gary Neville, for the Champions League Final!”

[The Champions League anthem plays in the background, as highlights from this year’s tournament play. The camera swings to Gary, clad in a full Panathinaikos kit.]

“Jamie-lad, this won’t be a game tonight. Nicolaj Bur and Greekland boys will do for these Spanish lightweights. Open and shut case. Like the one against your da’ for stealing from your nan.”

“Gary, you can’t… This isn’t what we’re here to…”

“Don’t be angry, Jamie-lad. Just because your crusty gym sock of a club couldn’t get past the quarterfinals–“

“Gary, first of all, we’re here as neutrals. Try to act accordingly. Second of all, count this you fuc–“

[The Champions League anthem begins blaring, as Jamie Carragher shakes 9 fingers in Gary’s face, representation of Liverpool’s 9 Champions League titles. The camera quickly cuts to commercial. A few minutes later, and we’re back. Jamie seems to have lost a tooth. Gary’s hair is mussed, but he wears a self-satisfied grin. A splash of blood is on the front of his Panathinaikos jersey. Jamie tries to regain some semblance of professional decorum. Gary is bouncing around the broadcast booth, singing Panathinaikos anthems.]

“Well, Gar, it looks like…Panathinaikos, the favored side…pressure has to be on them tonight. They’ve got the top goalscorer in the tournament, in Aymen Mejri, a young, confident side with the world at their feet. Whereas Sevilla appear to be a classic cup side, as they finished 5th in La Liga, 35 points behind Barcelona. But it all comes down to this, 90 minutes and a ball. And, here come the teams. Time from grandpa to drink his cough medicine, because we’re ready to kickoff here in Vienna… Live, it’s the Champions League Final!”

[Note: if you are here during the live blog, you will need to hit refresh to see new updates as the match progresses.]
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12th minute

“First blood to Sevilla! Sebok finds Diaby at the back post, a rare moment where the Greeks’ concentration has let them down. After some early looks at goal, it’s the Spaniards who strike first, Gary! Big questions will now be asked of Nicolaj Bur!”

[Gary screams incoherently, rending his Panathinaikos jersey in agony.]

18th minute

“A long ball into the box, Gary…Masek! Just over the bar! So close!”

[Gary is weeping inconsolably. Shouting profanities and questioning the legitimacy of Bur’s parentage.]

22nd minute

“Sevilla with all kinds of possession, but to little purpose…Mejri..he’s going to do it on his own?! DENIED BY CONOR CAHOON, THE BIG NORTH IRISHMAN! A RUN THAT BEAUTIFUL DESERVED A FINISH, BUT NOT TONIGHT, SAYS BIG CONOR THE KEEPAH-MAN”

Halftime

[The camera cuts to Gary, smiling for the camera. He’s wearing a Sevilla jersey. The tag is still visible.]

“It’s like I’ve been telling you, Jamie-lad. This Panathinaikos side is no steak, all sizzle. They’ve had their chances, sure, but they’re not going to go anywhere if they can’t find the back of the net.”

[Jamie is incredulous.]

“Gary…that’s…yes. If they don’t score, it’s over. That’s clear at this point. That’s just simple maths.”

53rd minute

“ANOTHER BIG SAVE FROM BIG CONRAD, JAMIE-LAD, I LOVE THIS KID LIKE HE WAS MY OWN BROTHER! HE’S STANDING ON THE BRIDGE, YELLING TO PANATHINAIKOS, YOU SHALL NOT PASS! ALL HE NEEDS IS A CODPIECE, HE CAN BORROW MINE!”

[Jamie looks increasingly nervous.]

71st minute

[Gary sings a Sevilla anthem, jumping around the broadcast booth. Down on the field, Bur is in the technical area, shouting instructions to his side.]

85th minute

[Gary continues to sing loudly. Every Panathinaikos opportunity, wasted. Sevilla with a chance to kill a few moments here.]

91st minute

“There will be four minutes of injury time…can Panathinaikos come unstuck?! Is this the moment for Sevilla, Gary?!”

“I ALWAYS BELIEVED IN THEM, JAMIE-LAD!! EVEN WHEN I WAS MANAGING VALENCIA, I BELIEVED IN SEVILLA!!!”

93rd minute

“YET ANOTHER MISSED OPPORTUNITY FROM PANATHINAIKOS! FAR TOO EASY FOR BIG CONOR THAT TIME! SURELY, THAT MUST BE THE LAST CHANCE, GARY!”

Full Time / Post-Match

[Jamie’s attempt to provide some context for Sevilla’s historic win tonight in Vienna is utterly and completely ruined by Gary, who screams and leaps about the broadcast booth with all the energy of a toddler on sugar. And, like a toddler on sugar, the come-down will be hard.]

[Nicolaj Bur stands in the technical area, long after the final whistle has blown. Alone, watching Raul Valbuena dance the flamenco in the centre circle. Bur is furious. A cold, hard anger deep in his eyes. He knows that Panathinaikos let themselves down tonight.]

I’m honesty gutted right now. This was a dream for me — Panathinaikos are flying, and Sevilla is a team I would love to have become eligible…all we had to do was win. Panathinaikos would be complete, and Sevilla would be eligible. What a nightmare. We blew it. Simple as that.

We’ll be back tomorrow with the standard season review, and a look forward to 2028/29.

If you’ve stumbled upon this post and are finding yourself a bit confused… Don’t worry.  The basic concept behind the Nearly Men save is explained here.  Just need to catch up? Each installment in Nicolaj Bur’s story can be accessed through the Nearly Men Archive.

And if you just can’t get enough…join us for The Ballad of Toothless Bob, a series that explores the world of Nicolaj Bur, away from the pitch. What is Project Arcturus? What lies beyond the twisted redstone door, deep in the bowels of the Santiago Bernabéu?


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