Sitting in block 225 of the South Stand at Old Trafford last Tuesday, just to the right of the bench and beneath the press box, my eyes were drawn to the banner that proudly hangs on the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand.
It reads “The Impossible Dream, Made Possible”. It’s a banner paying tribute to the former Manchester United manager and the ridiculous number of trophies he helped bring to the club - most notably 13 English Premier League titles and two European Champions League triumphs.
But seeing that banner while watching the post-Ferguson United take on the might of European champions Bayern Munich in a Champions League quarterfinal first leg – it made me chuckle.
If there there was an impossible dream, it was this.
United were trying to beat the best team in Europe - not to mention reigning world and German champions - who have also just retained the Bundesliga in record time and happen to have stepped up three gears since the arrival of Pep Guardiola last year.
And that’s even before you consider that United came into the match seventh in the Premier League table, led by an under-fire manager, short of confidence and without star striker Robin van Persie.
But David Moyes’ side put up a fight more like the United of old. Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and co. battled to a 1-1 draw, with a resurgent Nemanja Vidic getting on the scoresheet and showing signs of returning to his imperious best.
Certainly not the worst result to take into Wednesday's second leg at Bayern's Allianz Arena. And into the darkest corners of my mind, popped that thought that just maybe United could pull off something special.
And then came the weekend.
Guardiola’s Bayern were beaten for the first time in 54 league games - suffering a 1-0 defeat to eighth-place Augsburg - leaving them without a win in their last three games.
Admittedly Guardiola rested a host of his biggest stars with an eye on Wednesday’s clash - describing the second leg as a final.
On Saturday United stormed to an impressive 4-0 win against Newcastle – Moyes also having to do without a number of big names.
It was another win on the road that makes them the Premier League’s most successful team away from home this season. That’s now three games unbeaten for United.
“There is a big expectation at Old Trafford,” said Moyes by way of explanation. "Whereas away from home, maybe there isn’t that same expectancy.”
There certainly won’t be any expectation as United head to the Munich. But where many fans had given up hope last week... now there might just be a glimmer.
I haven’t lost my marbles – I know that big-money signing Marouane Fellaini isn’t anywhere near a Champions League player. There’s no hiding the fact that veteran defender Rio Ferdinand is being held together by sticky tape and a whole pharmacy counter. And you can’t even compare Moyes’ CV (zero major honors) with Guardiola’s (11 major honors - nine with Barcelona and two already with Bayern.)
But if the spirit of the last couple of games is anything to go by, United's players seem to have steeled themselves after much criticism. Moyes has even started striding down the touchline with something that resembles purpose.
And - as we keep being reminded - no team has ever successfully defended the Champions League crown.
In the 30 years that I’ve been following United, and going to games with my Dad, our mantra has always been “keep the faith”. Why change the habit of a lifetime now.