I did. Here are some things I can remember about it:
- Kayo Odejaye taking the ball on his chest, turning and simply running at some of the world’s best defenders. Time, after time, after time. They didn’t like that. They were rattled by it, and all they could do was foul him. After twenty minutes of this, we started to believe.
- Barnsley defenders throwing themselves into every tackle as if their lives depended on it, putting too many bodies in front of Ballack and Anelka, showing no fear: they shall not pass.
- Martin ‘Disco’ Devaney keeping his nerve and waiting… waiting… waiting… until the perfect moment to send in his cross and pinpoint Odejaye’s head.
- The sheer audacity – seasoned by a sprinkling of knowing irony – of Barnsley fans – their club four points off the relegation zone in the Championship – singing to Chelsea – one of the best teams in the world – “You’re shit, and you know you are.”
- The sheer audacity – seasoned by a sprinkling of knowing irony – of Barnsley fans – their club four points off the relegation zone in the Championship – singing to Chelsea – one of the best teams in the world – “Are you Wednesday in disguise?”
- The Barnsley fan, minutes after the final whistle, being interviewed by Look North. While the rest of us were still trying to get the result to sink in, he’d already jumped past the prospect of a semi-final, an FA Cup final for the first time in almost a century, and was talking enthusiastically about Barnsley winning the EUFA cup next season. The life was crushed out of this town twenty years ago when Thatcher gang-raped it and left it desolated. It’s a town that can now dream again.
- Meeting the chaps from Acorn Brewery, who brew Barnsley Bitter, in the town’s only decent real ale pub half an hour after the game. Everybody in the pub was drinking Barnsley Bitter – how could you not? On the bar next to it? A guest ale by the name of London Pride. Sometimes you find perfect poetry in the most unexpected places.
- The deluge of text messages, phone calls and messages to this blog over the last day and a half, as if I’d scored that divine goal myself. Only football can do this.
So what if the Sunday Mirror dropped their feature on me? They probably figured that I would become unbearable if it had run on top of all this. What a weekend…