As sport sometimes does, this match sets up a brutal binary: win, for glory and an end to 44 years of humiliation and suffering; lose, for yet another tragicomically heartbreaking failure, and, even worse, to hand triumph to our great rivals.
I ran 20 miles on that May Sunday in the previous millennium, through the Windsor Great Park. When I got back, a friend took me to my first City match, at Wembley stadium. In almost inconceivably dramatic fashion, we managed to win and scrabble out of the potential oblivion of the old Second Division. In a few hours, the same friend and I will watch the match on TV here in Texas; we live just a few miles apart. Funny how life works out.
I have a few videos I always keep on my iPhone just in case I need cheering up. This is the one, from that day, that I've watched the most over the years:
Let's hope, that a few hours from now, I'll have a new happy video to put on my iPhone.
UPDATE: My run went very well, 20.5 miles in a bit over 3 hours, and I'm feeling pretty good, if I say so myself. And as for the football, well let's just say that after a dramatic repeat of that match in 1999, I have a new happy video: