PAT NEVIN: HIGH DRAMA
Having matched a certain ex-Man United player for behind-the-mic exclamations when the Blues beat Barça, Pat Nevin revels in a week that could fill a month's worth of columns…
This season is now officially beyond the wildest dreams of anyone who supports Chelsea, especially when you consider how things looked a few months back. We will talk about this period forever, no matter what happens in the next few weeks.
It does in some ways feel like a dream sequence in a movie by a Hollywood scriptwriter who has got a little carried away to say the least. What happened in Barcelona just doesn't happen in real life, does it?
The ten men, the two centre-backs off, two goals down against the best team in the world with the best player on the planet and quite a few others in the top ten there to help him. More than that it was at their home ground with a capacity crowd baying them on, the star missing a penalty, our centre-forward basically playing at left back and the much-maligned, and to us much loved, big-money buy ending the game with a pitch-long run to score the final goal in the dying seconds, justifying everything that we have been saying about him while nobody listened.
Just a moment now to think what was the signature instant of that game, it isn't easy. Ramires' outrageous chip after Frank's defence-splitting ball is a contender of course. Cech's superb save onto the post from Messi or what about the various last-ditch tackles from our defenders to save certain goals?
I could go on, but my moment is a TV moment. When Fernando broke away in the dying moments, the camera didn't show that there were no defenders between him and the Barcelona goal. In the stadium those lucky Blues fans could see the entire pitch empty in front of him but on the small screen it was a few seconds before you suddenly realised, there is nobody there, the defenders are all behind him!
There was a fantastic dawning realisation that this was Fernando's moment, the team's moment, our moment. I didn't doubt for a millisecond that the scourge of Barcelona during his days in the Spanish league was going to waltz past Valdes and slide it into the net.
The ecstatic, glorious celebration mixed with the massive release of tension was unforgettable; apparently Gary Neville felt it as well. No small thing for a committed United man. I have been saying for a month now that this could be the greatest season in Chelsea's history, notice I said it 'could' be.
I will openly say now that I only hoped it would be the case, I cannot say hand on heart that I truly believed it with all my being. Every Chelsea fan and indeed fans of any club will probably remember exactly where they stood when they watched this momentous occasion. It is easy for me, in that I was commentating for Chelsea TV and basically failed to control my jubilation… all very unprofessional I am afraid, but who cares?
Like any good melodrama there was also the sadness in the drama; Ramires, JT, Meireles and Ivanovic will not get to play in the final. JT accepts his own punishment but how unfair is it on the others? A few years back Manchester United's Darren Fletcher missed the final because on awful decision to book him in the semi. Did Uefa take into concern the unfairness of that situation? No chance. Did they then take the time to rethink the booking and suspension rules that no longer make any sense? Nope.
It is much easier to get booked in the modern game, but have the rulings been adapted to reflect this and increase the number of bookings that lead to an automatic suspension? Of course not, after all it is only players who have spent their entire life aiming towards one glorious highpoint who are denied, why should the rule makers care about that? I should mention here that this is not the official line of Chelsea FC, but my own opinion, but I bet I am not alone.
There is nothing to be done now and just like the rulings on technology, not doubt the rules will eventually be changed long after the horse as bolted from this particular unlocked paddock. The only positive side for those players is that they have an FA Cup Final to look forward to as some sort of comfort, I hope and expect all four to be starters at Wembley and with any luck they will finish it with winners' medals.
Any other week in history I would have started by waxing lyrically (or at least as close as I can get to it) about the 6-1 thrashing of QPR and indeed the Cup Final itself on Saturday. Torres's hat trick was of course a master class of effortless and high-standard finishing just underlining to the nay-sayers about his pace, quality and attitude which of course were never 'lost'.
The pressure on Spurs and Newcastle is also palpable now and I am sure one or two Liverpool fans as well as players might just have noticed that Chelsea are doing quite well at the moment. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Liverpool will be waiting at Wembley and I can hardly think of a better club to be facing. The sweetness of overcoming our fierce European rivals last week will be matched by our delight if we put Kenny's men to the sword as well.
The recent history between the two clubs needs no reiteration and as a former Chelsea and Everton player I find myself in a slightly difficult position this weekend. I will be co-commentating at the match for BBC Radio 5 Live and I will be expected to at least attempt to be impartial, that may well be a rather tough ask for me to be honest, but I will endeavour to do my best, wearing a blue scarf surreptitiously tucked under my jacket.
So to everyone involved in the team I would like to offer my congratulations for their success thus far and also my thanks for once more reminding me why I/we all love this game and our club. It has been one extraordinary ride and right now I can't wait to see if the person who is writing this mad story can come up with the perfect ending.
Last week I asked what was the aggregate score in the games between Chelsea and Barcelona in the Champions League?The answer was Chelsea 16-16 Barcelona before last Tuesday's match. The scores in Champions League ties/games were:
1999-00 Barça - Chelsea 6-4
2004-05 Barça - Chelsea 4-5
2005-06 Barça - Chelsea 3-2
2006-07 Barça - Chelsea 0-1
2006-07 Barça - Chelsea 2-2
2008-09 Barça - Chelsea 1-1
2011-12 Barça - Chelsea 0-1
The winner who has been chosen at random this week, and what a week you have had, is Petty Officer Lee Taylor from HMS Heron. As far as I know he is the first serving officer to win this competition.
To have a chance of being the lucky, randomly chosen winner of a copy of a DVD collection of Chelsea FC Cup Finals, signed by a player, can you name the player/players who have scored winning goals for Chelsea in extra time in FA Cup Finals? Answers as ever to me at email@example.com