There was dancing in the streets around Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. Blue and white bunting hung from lampposts, young women blew kisses at passing strangers and “Blue is the Colour” was belted out on many a pub piano.
The carnival mood was inspired not so much by Chelsea’s comfortable passage into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup at the expense of Middlesbrough, but by the news that unloved manager Rafa Benitez would definitely not be staying on in west London beyond the end of season.
Indeed, after the Spaniard’s extraordinary post-match interview with Radio Five Live, there is even serious doubt whether he will still be in charge of the team for Saturday’s visit of West Brom.
The trip to Teesside and the routine 2-0 victory that followed may not live long in the memory, but Benitez’s sensational outburst afterwards will surely become an iconic moment in Chelsea’s recent history.
Read on for more thoughts about yet another dramatic day for the club and its fans…