Recreating Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Champions League final winner in 1999 is my first life memory.
My dad played the role of Teddy Sheringham, flicking the Tigger soft toy towards me so that I could volley it over the sofa.
My second memory is accidentally giving my brother a nosebleed after Michael Owen scored past Brazil in the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals, only for Rivaldo and Ronaldinho to ruin the fun.
There are events I remember between 1999 and 2002.
I remember being shit scared of the world ending because of the Millennium Bug when 1999 nervously ticked over into 2000.
I remember 9/11, although I didn’t understand the gravity of what was going at the time.
But the only events I vividly remember- to the extent that I can still recollect the electric silence when celebrating Solskjaer’s goal quietly so as not to wake my mum up- are all to do with football.
Which brings me on to tonight.
Whatever happens- win or lose- you’re going to remember the events of tonight for the rest of your life.
That’s quite a weird thought.
Whether England are beaten comfortably, scrape through on penalties or win 6-0 through Sir Harry Maguire headers, you’re going to remember how the night unfolded forever.
The people you were with. The potentially shady establishment you watched it in. The face of the stranger you hugged as soon as the final whistle went. How that pint tasted in the midst of joy or despair.
All of it.
We sail through life in a bit of a daze.
I can’t remember what I was doing last month, let alone four years ago when England ended their World Cup campaign with a brave 0-0 draw against the mighty Costa Rica.
So embrace tonight. Make it count. Don’t go jumping on ambulances. Create a story you’ll be happy to tell for the rest of your life.
And, if it all gets too much and you find yourself on Nelson’s Column at 8.30am tomorrow morning, Wrighty and Shearer have got you covered…