Columnist and Chelsea legend Pat Nevin naturally chooses the passing of 2012 to look back on a momentous 12 months, but he needs some assistance…
Another year slides away and no doubt all of us have had our good times and our bad times, unforgettable days to savour and days we would rather forget. I often try to think at the end of the year, which day this year will still be fresh in my mind in five years’ time? Everything seems so serious each day, but in the end, unless you have an oddly fantastic memory (which I do not have and don’t think I would like to have), there are only a few days which stick.
The personal ones are fantastic of course. Personally I will never forget handing my daughter her exam results back in the summer and seeing her face as A after A came out of the envelope. Pity she is so slapdash at choosing winners for the quiz at the end of this page every week. There are other moments I treasure now, that in my heart of hearts I know will slip away and be forgotten unless someone surreptitiously took a photo to jog my mind just at that moment.
There is however one memory that everyone reading this page will never manage to shift, exactly where you were, what you were thinking and what you did when Didier scored that final penalty in Munich. Of course there have been ups and downs, grumbles and complaints along with the celebrations and joy this season, but in reality, spool forward five, ten or twenty years and this season will supply one night far and above any other for grey matter stimulation.
If you are British generally and just happen to support Chelsea it has been an incredibly uplifting 12 months. Choose your own favourite medal-winning Olympian or just celebrate them all equally, it doesn’t really matter it has all been glorious. And at the heart of it delivering the spectacle with equal measures of grit, determination, style and class was our own card-carrying Chelsea boy, Sebastian Coe. I suspect he will look back on this summer as being pretty damned hard to equal as life goes on.
There have been difficult times as well supporting Chelsea, but whatever you think of finishing a pretty average sixth in the league, about Didier leaving, Robbie going too and then Rafa replacing him, these should all pale and will do when we remember those we lost, none more so than Dave Sexton.
I was pretty tempted to have a long lingering look back over the year right here, but I think I will leave that to you. If you have a moment email me to say what was your favourite memory of the year for Chelsea other than anything that happened in Munich. It could be big, small, important or just funny. The email address is the same as the usual quiz one at the bottom of the page.
Certainly your favourite moment wouldn’t have been clocking yours truly on Match of the Day 2 the other night (sorry if you are reading this outside the UK and have no idea what I am talking about). The game I least like talking about each season is between Everton and Chelsea, two clubs I played for and still have great passion for, but of course that is the one they drag me into the studio for. I am pretty open that Chelsea are obviously MY team, but it is hard to cheer against the Toffees fans, they were too kind to me while I was there. Happily I was able to do my analysis without being particularly negative about either side, it was an excellent game and luckily for me it was tactically intriguing as well.
Once again Rafa managed to fashion a win at one of the hardest places to go to in the country, but one man totally stole the show. I wrote glowingly about Frank last week on this page, and ‘bigged him up’ on the telly on Sunday, so I am not going overboard on him again….but wasn’t he spectacular?
When doing the BBC analysis Alan Shearer was casting his expert eye over the two goals but I suggested he should add something that I had clipped up separately. I noticed that in injury time at the end of the game Frankie boy was sprinting past David Luiz to help the defence, not bad at all for a ‘wrinkly’. It just underlined what we all hoped for – that his fitness levels have remained exceptional even in his 35th year and even after a few injuries, he has actually aged phenomenally. However long he is with the club, I just hope he manages to at least equal Kerry Dixon’s goal-scoring tally. It is incredible to think anyone in the modern era would actually get near the bold Kerry, but for it to be a midfielder never fails to amaze me.
And so the year ends thinking about a couple of Chelsea legends, joined over the years by their amazing exploits. More good memories. It also has us looking forward, first of all to QPR (who officially will not be as bad as they were in the first half of their last game against Liverpool, it is not possible) and then to the league campaign in particular. Everyone except for the most diehard of Chelsea fans felt the title was going somewhere with a postcode starting with M, but the table right now allows just the slightest little glimmer of hope after a great little run. It all depends on how the players continue to react to the manager and if the odd acquisition that seems likely to come our way over the next few weeks turns into a great success. Personally I can’t wait, thanks for the memories and I look forward to a few more in 2013.
Last week’s quiz question was ‘Could you tell me how many times have Chelsea scored seven or more goals in the Premier League era?’ Well the question was worded very specifically to say in the Premier League ‘ERA’ and not just in the Premier League. As such the answer was 7 and they were Premier League Games; Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa (2012/13), Chelsea 7-2 Sunderland (2009/10),Chelsea 7-1 Aston Villa (2009/10), Chelsea 7-0 Stoke City (2009/10), Chelsea 8-0 Wigan (2009/10),FA CupChelsea 7-0 Ipswich Town (2010/11) and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Chelsea 7-1 Tromso (1997/98)
Hundreds answered (shouldn’t you have been doing Christmassy things?) but among the very few who got it right were Chantelle from Ontario Canada, Andrew Brayson from London Ontario Canada, Justin Chok from Vancouver BCin Canada, Alex Mattson from Wisconsin, USA, Graham Brodier from France, Sam Shah, Ankit Gupta, Alon Eran, Alex West and Professor Fraser Brown PhD from Leeds.
Only one winner however and drum roll…it is Justin Chok. The Canadian supporters’ branch will be delighted!
This week’s quiz is as above, what is your best moment regarding Chelsea in 2012? Send your answers to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and the winner chosen will get a copy of the Kings of Europe book, signed by one of the players. Good Luck with that and thanks for reading my musings throughout 2012.