Date:Friday April 25 2008
'It's getting tickly now - squeaky-bum time, I call it'. These were Fergie's immortal words but they are not sufficient to describe our current situation.
If the second leg of the quarter-final against Roma would not have been a complete non-event, I might not be alive now. After all, the home league game against Arsenal came up after that - and I was so nervous that it had to be seen to be believed.
Fortunately, there was a week off but even that did not pass in a calm and peaceful manner as our title rivals Chelsea played two league games - and fortunately, dropped points in one of them.
But all hell broke loose since. I'm always dreading the trip to Ewood Park as our record there is quite abysmal in all honesty - and this fixture could go a long way in deciding the Championship. All the calculations, all the fervent hoping - it drains even the most robusts.
And after that... Barcelona, away, in the Nou frigging Camp. I barely had time to recover from the excitement of Saturday's game, wasn't allowed to settle after Tevez's equaliser, could not really work it out for me.
And it's getting worse. We've drawn away at the Nou Camp, missing a penalty, all set up nicely balanced for the second leg at Old Trafford. However, we barely have the time to contemplate our chances because we have a massive game coming up.
I simply can't change my focus so quickly, hopefully the players will do. I am not thinking about Chelsea at all, it looks strangely detached as if it was only a prelude, a friendly game before the big one. And that's because of the emotional effort of Wednesday. I just can't help but all of my focus is directed towards Tuesday...
All the better though for if I found the time to fret about visiting Stamford Bridge where we haven't scored since 2002, I might simply die of mental exhaustion.
It's even worse than in 1999. Back in the Treble season anything that came close to this feeling was the terrible nerves before the first leg against Juventus that was immediately followed by the Cup semi-final against Arsenal. But then after the replay we at least had the momentary pause (a stroll in the park at home against Sheffield Wednesday) before the second leg in Italy where we had little to lose after a disappointing result at Old Trafford.
In the next five days, we'll learn an awful lot about our season. An away draw and a home win would be fantastic - but regardless of the result I will be finally let off the hook after Tuesday. Home to West Ham in these circumstances is as close to relaxation as it gets.
Date:Friday April 25 2008
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