We’re about 10 minutes away from kickoff in Moscow for the Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea, a match ESPN’s anchors (presumably with John Skipper aiming a gun at their heads) hopefully describe as “European soccer’s Super Bowl”. While that might bring to mind gratuitous pregame appearances by Kid Rock or Russia’s answer to Frank Caliendo, The Guardian’s Tom Lutz and Barry Glendenning found something meaty to mention from last night’s build up. Against all odds, I’d wager.
The Fiver couldn’t figure out which was more pathetic last night: the fact that Sky pundit Andy Gray was sitting in the Luzhniki Stadium on the night before Big Cup final analysing a Piggy in the Middle training drill being performed by Chelsea’s footballers, or the fact that we were slumped in an armchair watching. Just when we thought things couldn’t get any more surreal, they did. The Sky cameras covering the training session panned to a bank of press photographers taking pictures of the training session, prompting Richard Keys, who was anchoring coverage of the training session, to express his total astonishment that the media – which he evidently doesn’t consider himself to be part of – could be so interested in covering a mere training session.
THUNK! CRUNCH! YOWWWWW! YAEFFINBASTAAAD!!!!!!!!!
At last, something worth watching! Because if the sight of Claude Makelele upending Ashley Cole with a two-footed lunge isn’t, then the Fiver’s a Scandinavian tax inspector named Adelheidis Widforss. The result? No end of moral outrage in the Sky studio, thinly disguised jubilation in living rooms nationwide, and the sight of the Chelsea pit-crew working feverishly to apply 25 layers of strapping to Cole’s apparently knacked ankle. “After consultation between [Avram] Grant, club doctor Bryan English and physios Dave Hancock and Thierry Laurent, Cole resumed and took full part in the final training game,” declared a rectangular sheet of paper in the Chelsea press officer’s hand. Translation: he’ll play. Of course he’ll play. This is a non-story. But even if he doesn’t play we’ve got Wayne Bridge, who’s better than him.