After the leave of enforced absence, after that failed heist masquerading as a Super League, after a year and counting of isolation and anxiety. Well, here comes everyone.
With 34 minutes gone at Wembley there was a moment of authentic match-going beauty. João Cancelo played a wondrous fizzed, flat, crossfield pass to Riyad Mahrez. He took the ball with a super-soft touch, jinked inside – as he must always jink inside – then spanked a thrilling shot back on the same zigzagging angle just past the far post.
In the Manchester City seats there was a gurgle at the pass, a ripple of automatic applause, then a gasp and a howl as the ball flew wide. And there it was: that shared energy, those moments where you really do just forget everything else and speak and shout and sigh in the same shared voice.
There was a nice moment at the end, too, as the pieces of cardboard podium were hauled across the Wembley turf for the trophy-lift to celebrate City’s dominant 1-0 win. The players came across to the supporters and waved and clapped and…