Chelsea show the rest how to do Saturday night drama… and prove Britain does have talent
19:05 GMT, 20 May 2012
The telly has always been a great thing to turn to if you’re looking for some heightened Saturday evening drama. Over on BBC1, it might come from the fictitious city of Holby, where a builder could well be reassuring his workmates ‘don’t worry lads. That roof looks like it will take all of our weight, no problem’.
Or perhaps on Channel 5, from within a house full of hopefuls, where you may find a skinny fella in even skinnier jeans called Max, clutching a bottle of beer and pouring out his heart to an orange-coloured girl called Minxy through a fringe the size of a 747’s wing.
Or it may even happen on ITV, where a performing dog called Pudsey has so captured the nation’s heart, a certain bear with an eye patch is furiously dialling his agent from his front room to find out if they can sue the multi-talented mutt for copyright, or unfair trading, or deformation of character, or something!
Real drama: Chelsea's players celebrate after winning the Champions League
However, none of the above will ever likely match the real human drama that took place on Saturday evening inside a giant lampshade in Munich, when after a day of footballing thrills and spills, it came down to an extraordinary penalty shoot out to prove that Britain HAS Got Talent!
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Of course for both ITV and Sky Sports there were hours of fun to be garnered from their mutual coverage of the build up and Champions League Final game itself.
Of the former, the terrestrial channel had some really decent pieces, including Ned Boulting’s Arjen Robben interview, during which Ned told us Munich’s ‘flying wingers are barely on speaking terms’, that after Arjen had told him ‘I don’t want to talk about it’.
He does have an eloquent left foot though, Ned.
And there was also a really chirpy chat between Christine Bleakley’s ‘former TV husband’ Adrian Chiles and her actual boyfriend Frank Lampard.
Which had both men perched precariously on a massage table, during which a laughing Frank informed us ‘ear flicking has been around for ages’, whilst managing to resist leaning over and giving the Chiles lug hole a little tweak.
During the game itself, both Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend were as ever, on their game with the lead man prophetically suggesting ‘Chelsea really do need a hero now’ after the Bayern goal, and the former Chelsea man exclaiming of Drogba’s header ‘that is a bullet’, through what was left of the poor fella’s croaking voice’.
However, they couldn’t quite match Martin Tyler and Gary Neville’s response to the Chelsea equalizer over on Sky Sports.
Real excitement: Both ITV and Sky commentators showed their emotions when Didier Drogba leveled late on
Tyler managed to add at least 342 extra ‘a’s to the end of Didier’s surname, and was joined about half way through his ‘Drogbaaaaaaaa’ epic in near perfect harmony by the new England assistant coach, who let rip with the kind amazing primal scream that Tarzan would have been proud of.
Was it me, or were they quite excited
This sense of excitement, and indeed occasion was then owned, for me, by Sky’s men in the booth.
As Tyldesley rather abstractly threw to an ad break with the words ‘you won’t miss a single moment of the drama’, Sky’s anchor Jeff Stelling was setting up Jamie Redknapp, Ruud Gullit and Graeme Souness to bring a genuinely tense, emotional, first-hand insight into the theatre of the 12 yard stand-off.
Fully kitted out: John Terry wore his Chelsea strip to collect the cup despite being suspended from the game
Gullit admitted with a nervous laugh that he couldn’t stand ‘the walk from midfield to the penalty spot’, but added that when you get there ‘you must smash it as hard as you can’.
Souness then recalled that in his own Liverpool European shoot out experience, ‘(as) I put the ball down to take my penalty, I felt this is not a problem. Whether I was kidding myself..’
While Redknapp was analysing the players on the field and spotted an ailing Schweinsteiger: ‘(He’s) gone down with cramp. I’m sure he’ll want to take one (but) running up, I know it’s like a three or four yard run, but it’ll feel like a marathon’.
Heartbreak: Bastian Schweinsteiger is consoled after the game
A ‘marathon’ in which, we soon discovered, the unfortunate German would fail to cross the finishing line.
From that point, both channels could of course share a fabulous kaleidoscope of images that ran through the full marathon of emotions: There was Schweinsteiger on his knees, head hidden in his shirt and buried in the grass.
Chelsea’s old guard of Lampard, Drogba and John Terry in an emotional hug (when I was a kid, I used to wear my kit under my clothes to go and watch football, too, JT).
Riding high: David Luiz and Fernando Torres celebrate on the crossbar of the goal
Roman Abromovitch texting (‘on to Drogba’s agent’, quipped Neville).
Ivanovic riding the crossbar like it was a bucking bronco.
Ashley Cole, lip trembling, asserting ‘THIS is the reason I come here’;
Boswinga’s mambo through a Blue-shirted guard of honour; and Roberto Di Mateo lifted aloft by his players to hold the trophy even higher.
OK, so that little lot may not be a dancing dog, but it wasn’t half bad.
Tuesday morning on BBC News, and Dickie Bird was at the Palace picking up a much deserved OBE and apparently explaining the LBW law to Prince Charles in the process…
Wednesday on ITV’s London Tonight, and Perri Shakes-Drayton not only helped Will Smith improve his hurdling technique, she also delivered a pretty decent rendition of the ‘Fresh Prince Of Bel Air’ theme…
Friday on Sky Sports from Lord’s and Bumble – stylish new hairdo on show – explained to Nick Knight how he knew fans had been queuing outside HQ since 4.30 am: ‘I’m always up once or twice in the night – it’s me age’…