Seven years ago, this very evening, I was experiencing the most incredible moment of my life.
Standing in the top tier of the Nou Camp Stadium, Barcelona on the evening of May 26th 1999 I cried my eyes out as I embraced a series of total strangers. This was shortly after Edward Paul Sheringham had scuffed a right-footed shot into the bottom corner of Oliver Kahn's net in the 90th minute of the Champions League final to draw Manchester United level against the superior Bayern Munich side.
Less then three minutes later, super-sub and forever United legend Ole Gunnar Solksjaer poked Sheringham's flick-on into the roof of the net to win the 45th European Cup in the most dramatic of ways.
Walking through Norway, Solksjaer's homeland, on this seventh anniversary today brought all those memories flooding back. I spent that whole day in Barcelona - bumping into Terry Venables, seeing Arsene Wenger having luch with Ruud Gullit, meeting tens of thousands of United fans on the pilgramage to the Final. My first glimpse of the Nou Camp pitch as I walked up the steps to my seat. Looking at my brother several rows in front of me after eighty minutes and him turning round to me and simply shaking his head. The relief as the woodwork saved United twice in the second period of the game.
And then the euphoria of the goals. It was the first goal - Sheringham's equalizer - that created the most emotion. I think that is becuase the distance from "losing" to "not losing" is greater than the distance from "not losing" to "winning", if that makes any sense at all. The fact that we had rescued the game in injury time was at the core of the emotion - the second goal was almost somehow a bonus. We had done enough by scoring the first one.
The celebrations ran long into that night, and it is a day in my life I will never, ever forget. Even though I was there, I can still hear Clive Tyldesley's "...and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has won it for Manchester United....!!!" whenever I see footage or pictures of that game. I paid £500 for my ticket for the match. After ninety minutes I was reconciling this against fact that I had seen my team in the European Cup Final. Today, it seems like the biggest bargain of my life.
Anyone else have any memories of that night?