Liverpool's Last European Semi-Final Against Barcelona Was Delayed Because Of Phil Mitchell And Eastenders
Liverpool and Barcelona will slug it out in the Champions League semi-finals at the start of next month and we're expecting a pulsating, swashbuckling feast of attacking football over the two legs.
There's a lot to live up to, however, because the last time the two European giants met in a European semi-final, kick-off at the Nou Camp in the first leg was delayed by 10 minutes due to Eastenders - specifically the culmination of the 'Who shot Phil Mitchell?' storyline.
The BBC had the rights for live coverage of the game at the time and were somehow able to convince UEFA to push back kick-off so that the viewers would find out who the perpetrator was in a 40 minute episode.
Some effortless link-play from Lineker here on the night the BBC inexplicably managed to *persuade UEFA to delay the kick-off of Barcelona vs Liverpool by 10 minutes* so EastEnders viewers could find out who shot Phil Mitchellpic.twitter.com/ItlWYmlRDi
- Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) April 18, 2019
Speaking about the rare, unprecedented move, BBC Sport's Mike Hales said: "We asked both sides nicely and they agreed to start later because of EastEnders.
"It is a well-known programme so the Spanish realise it was important for the BBC. The nation will be on the edge of its seat."
Albert Square hard-man Mitchell, played by Steve McFadden, was gunned down outside his home and five weeks later, just before Barca and Liverpool played out a 0-0 draw, it was revealed that his former girlfriend Lisa Shaw was responsible for the shooting.
Liverpool would win the second leg 1-0 courtesy of a first-half Gary McAllister penalty to take them to their first European final in 16 years.
The Reds then completed a treble of the UEFA Cup, League Cup and FA Cup by edging out Spanish side Alaves in a nine-goal thriller in extra time in Dortmund.
Two years later, another bizarre kick-off time involving Barcelona occured when the Blaugrana had Ronaldinho's home debut against Sevilla kick-off in the very early hours of a Wednesday morning, at 12:05am.
As per Sid Lowe by The Guardian, Barcelona decided to add to the matchday experience for their supporters by opening their historic museum later as well as dishing out some top-notch scran free of charge.
The food included 25,000 free bags of Doritos with salsa dip, 30,000 Actimel yogurts, 100,000 KitKats and chorizo for the 80,000 that packed into the Nou Camp to see their new Brazilian star score the goal of the season.