CECH: DRAMATIC SEASON'S FINAL ACT

Posted on: Sat 19 May 2007

Seven months ago today, the most Petr Cech could surely have wished for was at some stage he would be able to resume his playing career.

 

Just five days earlier, he had been on the wrong-end of a skull-breaking collision and even less time had passed since the operation to repair the damage. He was only just beginning to regain memories.

 

A place in the domestic season's big finale must have felt a long, long way away.

 

Indeed there was a lengthy road to travel and it took a mammoth effort by both the player and the people caring for him before his comeback could be made four months ago tomorrow.

 

Now no-one thinks twice at suggesting the 24-year-old keeper may be the difference between winning and losing as the big man looks to keep Man United at bay.

 

'If you had told me on October 17th, when I was three days after I couldn't remember anything, that I would be in this Final, maybe I would not believe it,' Cech decides.

 

'But I am really happy as a club we are in the Final, not only for me because everyone in the club deserves it.

 

'When I started feeling better, the one thing I didn't really enjoy was sitting in the stands and watching the team play. As a footballer, it is one of the worst things you can experience.

 

'It has been a difficult season for me but I am really proud I can be part of the team for this game.'

 

Cech has not forgotten some of the reasons why he is able to walkout at Wembley this afternoon. Earlier this week, he welcomed representatives of the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital and the Headway brain injury charity to Chelsea's Cobham training ground where they watched the team prepare for the Final.

 

Chelsea and photo agency Empics donated the proceeds from the sale of pictures of Cech during his first days after returning to training. Each of the three organisations received £1,000 for their charitable trusts (pictured).

 

Cech said: 'To come from where I was back in October to preparing for an FA Cup Final is a tribute to these people and their skill and dedication, not just towards me but towards everyone they help. They do a truly remarkable job.

 

'Some of the people, they were looking after me in the hospital and it was nice to help.'

 

A potential film script of his remarkable season would surely climax with our star joining Wembley goalkeeping legends like Bert Trautmann, Jim Montgomery and even Dave Beasant by producing an extra special display today. Cech however is not interested in a crowning glory.

 

'I will be more satisfied if I was not the hero of the game and we win 6-4 or something like that. Any victory would be acceptable for me.

 

'The winners of the league against the former holders of the title, it is going to be a great game.

 

'We know that we have done really well in the circumstances and we aim to keep that going and have a trophy at the end.

 

'In the circumstances we have had all season, personally I think it is a great season. Of course it would have been much better if we got to through to the Final of the Champions League but everybody has given the maximum we could.

 

'We have one trophy already and if we win on Saturday, we can consider the season a very good season.'

 

Just seven months ago, who could have been certain Petr Cech would be declaring that come mid-May?