Right behind the goal line, on both sides of the goal, a group of photographers stand, sit, smoke and talk, must be at least 20 of them. Then, when a player lies on the ground, about ten guys with cameras run towards him to get a better picture, taking care to stay behind the line. Then they all run back to their mates next to the goal.
There are more people around the field, lots of them, walking, standing, doing things. Every ten metres on the touch line a ball boy sits on his knees. Later on in the match some of them form little groups discussing, pointing at players, throwing kicks to show what they would have done.
Then a white van shows up. It's an ambulance of sorts, it drives along the touch line, stops, turns around and parks. Men jump out, more men walk towards it, a gurney is pulled out of the back. What, how, why, we will never know, play is now at the other half of the field and a little later, as the camera turns back to the middle, the van is gone.
Silently the Juventus coach sits smoking his pipe in the dug-out.
This was a really bad match. If finals are often a bit boring and almost never live up to your expectations, this must have been the mother of all boring finals. You wonder what the plan was. I know what Ajax intended to do: to score as quickly as possible, which they did within 5 minutes. But what was Juve's plan? The players kept walking around as if they were stuck in three feet deep sand, seemingly unable to attack. They had no idea how to.
It seemed Ajax knew Juventus would never score and Juventus couldn't care less. Only in the very last minute did they finally launch an attack, all out, including the goal keeper, but Gugulovic did not grant them any stoppage time. He had enough of this.
Gugulovic was a big, tall guy. No one seems to know when he was born, but he looks already in his 50s and doesn't seem very fit. Luckily in this match that was not a problem. The Serbian looks relaxed, he stands still for seconds, just turning slowly when needed. He sees a lot more fouls that I do, maybe to establish his leadership. I think Gugulovic was too far off sometimes and just whistled because he didn't really know what happened.
He made many little mistakes, most of them concerning Johan Cruyff. It's hard to not follow Cruyff all the time, since no other player showed any initiative. The Dutch star player was always good in avoiding kicks by jumping quickly. But by doing so he doesn't fall and the ref doesn't see the kick for which it was: a bad foul.
And when Cruyff accelerates he is way too quick for old Gugulovic who kind of lost it in the last twenty minutes. A fight, kicks long after the ball was gone, he didn't see it anymore.
A modern day ref would have showed his yellow card at least 9 times, mostly to Ajax players, and the one Gugulovic did show would have been a red in our century.
Things sure have changed, I look back at this matches in bewilderment: so much talent and such a boring match, and how come these bad fouls are of no consequence what so ever? But then I realize that Nigel de Jong also got away with his martial arts act during that (boring) final in 2010.
best man on the field: Barry Hulsoff