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In the return of our version of the ubiquitous ‘list of stuff’ feature, Things That Make You Go mmm… looks at the fixture that welcomed a good proportion of our current fanbase into the fold.  Chelsea come into town on Saturday and whilst the game might not carry the same romance that it did last season, it’s still one to look forward to.  Here we look back to that glorious day in August and remember 5 things that warm our little cotton socks.

The Anticipation

The nerves were no where near as jangly as they were some 3 months earlier, something to do with expecting to get hammered all over the pitch, but they were there all the same.  Sky hadn’t helped, selecting the game for Super Sunday and running features every 5 minutes on Sky Sports News, there was the sneaky feeling that they were setting us up for a fall. 

If you needed any convincing that this was something special, hearing the “Official Tune of the Barclays Premership” and seeing the teams line up for the handshake drove it home.  Then again it’s the only game where those things have felt anywhere near necessary.

The Crowd

That it was a home sellout was one thing, seeing the East Stand baked in sun and full of blue and white stripes was something completely different.  When you’re used to small(ish) crowds making the most of what you’ve got, feeling the force of a full stand excited and up for it is a special experience.

The Defence

One word, magnificent.  This performance was built from the back, and if you didn’t get loads of pleasure from watching Chelsea’s wingers desperately switching sides to get some joy against a kid and an unknown Frenchman (although at the time we all thought he was Caribbean) you aren’t wired up right.

Those two minutes

As Lampard lined up that free kick it was a certainty, we’d battled for 90 minutes and were now going to have it all snatched away from us and then before you had realised that his shot had rebounded off the wall we were up the other end and Johansson was making the best of Teale’s cross, he may have had more time, he perhaps could have done better, but it would be unjust to criticise.  The next thing you know is that the resultant goal kick has been flicked onto Crespo, whose curling shot ended up in top corner of Pollitt’s goal.

The managers

Well just Mourinho, really.  You can’t help feeling that a lot of what he does is calculated and to some bigger end, but his hug and kind words for Paul Jewell followed by his post match comments seemed genuine.  That he then went on to spill a Poole’s chunky steak (I wonder which red wine goes best with that) down his suit shows that underneath all the bemused arrogance there is a human being. 

And it was all down hill from there really, once you’ve seen that the champions are human it sort of takes the sheen off the whole thing. 

No doubt you’ve got your own memories of what will always be a special day (why not tell us all about them?) but they’re mine.  I’m under no illusion that this year’s game will no where near reach the same heights but for very different reasons, both teams are desperate for a good performance and could do with the points, so you never know. Maybe we can go three minutes better this time.

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