Maybe the experience had become mundane for the Spurs fans. They'd been journeying to Wembley every other week throughout the season. But for us, it was the usual all-day extravaganza trip down south, via bus, train or plane, with thousands of us filling service station concourses down the M6, singing and getting ramped up for the match. When the lads eventually took to the pitch late that afternoon, we’d already been having a laugh, singing and whatever for five or six hours. We'd been discussing the trip for weeks before even that.
After all, it’s not just about Wembley itself. It’s the mythology of the stadium; the songs you sing all season as you ebb closer to that final (or semi-final) destination. For northern football fans, it’s arguably a more exotic, thrilling experience than for Londoners, who merely have to venture a few extra Tube stops down the line. For us, it’s a kind of Mecca-like pilgrimage.
And that special aura holds true even for the players. When I asked Jesse Lingard for his best moment as a United player, late in 2017, he picked out two, both at Wembley. He settled upon the 2016 FA Cup final, where he netted a sizzling volley which turned out to be the winning moment, as his favourite. But the first moment he mentioned was Anthony Martial’s semi-final winner against Everton.