Just don’t wake me up OK? It’s like there’s a Chelsea genie who not only grants each of my wishes but in an even better way than I could dare ask for! “You want to beat Tottenham? We will humiliate Tottenham!!”; “you want to make it to the Champions League Final? You will not only make it, but you will beat UEFA darlings Barcelona – with two amazing goals, with only 10 mean AND the best player in the world will miss a penalty!!”, “we must beat QPR” “Beating QPR is simply not sufficient – you will DESTROY them – you will break their resolve by scoring within a minute, John Terry will score and Torres will get a hatrick!!”
It has been an absolutely amazing couple of weeks – who could have predicted this when AVB turned us into a shadow of our former selves – a team (I use that term loosely) who looked confused and disenchanted on the pitch, consistently conceded goals in the last ten minutes of matches and who were out-fought almost everywhere we went.
Even the injuries and suspensions have failed to derail the team – there is a belief and a determination there that has helped us move monumental mountains. The Barcelona game especially seemed to bring about a shift change in the perception of Chelsea by the majority of the footballing fraternity.
Since Abramovich took over, and we dared to win the title (THREE TIMES!!!) and a couple of trophies too, we had become despised by many other supporters; many of the “big” teams especially who used to ignore us didn’t like the fact that we were playing with the big boys now – they sneered at our “new money”; they became besotted with “history” (you know who you are) and somehow believed that our achievements were less valid because we had had a millionaire who invested heavily to allow us to compete. They believed that all Chelsea fans were Johnny Come Latelys even though we have the 5th biggest support historically in this country. Most of them confused “history” with success because it suited their argument.
Anyway, I am not here to have that argument – my point is that following that game against Barcelona, the vast majority of football supporters forgot all passed pre-conceptions and admitted to being enthralled by the game at the Nou Camp and cheering like a Blue when Torres put the game beyond the Catalans. The texts I got as I danced in the aisles of fast dispersing Barca fans were from supporters of City, United, Newcastle, Swansea – even Tottenham and fellow blues all said the same thing. There are still some haters out there – but you can’t have it all!
Coming back to work, everyone was talking about the game – they all crowded round my desk to hear the first hand experience – it felt fantastic – my team had had all these people captivated. Even people who said that they don’t usually watch football had been unable to take their eyes off the TV.
I am more than aware that we haven’t actually achieved anything yet – that no one remembers the losing finalists but no one can take these last few weeks away from us – they have been some of the most exciting I have ever experienced.
Of course, it could just get better, starting even tonight! Although our Champions League qualification is not totally in our own hands, it seems a very good time indeed to be facing Newcastle and as for Tottenham, it’s a shame the England job conjecture could not have gone on a little longer but so be it.
But the big game this weekend is obviously the Cup Final. I love Cup Final day but I admit to being a bit apprehensive regarding this game. The relations between ourselves and Liverpool have been poisonous for quite a few years now, and have only got worse since the semi-final. I won’t dwell on this aspect as I am hoping that my fears are unfounded and that there is banter of the right kind from both sets of supporters.
I have to admit to being nervous regarding this game despite our current amazing form. The old cliché that anything can happen in a one off game is on the money and at this point, we don’t even know if we are going to have two centre-backs fit to play!
Liverpool too, despite the Carling Cup win, have had a particularly poor season and are going to want the FA Cup to give it some sort of air of respectability. Their players will know that this is the last chance to give something back to the fans, where as our players will naturally have one eye on Munich.
We have fared poorly against the scousers this season but those games were played under AVB’s “project”, so hopefully the Di Matteo effect will be in full force. Our temporary manager has an affinity with Wembley having scored twice and won two FA Cups there – it would be fantastic to add a third to his haul as manager.
Every week I finish off by urging the team on that little bit more – and so I will do again – legendary status is within touching distance…..