The older we get the less frequently life puts us in the kind of peculiar situations that make it worth the trouble, one of the many reasons going to the game endures when we think we've experienced it all. Thus I forced myself to be thankful when, relaxed in a cubicle at Molineux Asda, suddenly I was being stared at by a packed gallery of fat, sweaty men, the now-open door tantalisingly out of reach.
Not having been to Wolves for a while, I'd forgotten what a dive the ground is, and not in a good way, stands down the sides a totally unnecessary distance from the pitch. Neither they, nor the tactic of stationing away fans along the entire length of one of them, do anything for the atmosphere, though when the home fans are satisfied with karaoke Hi Ho Silver Lining, I suppose it's a losing battle.
Unfortunately the players no longer emerge from separate tunnels, Premier League self-importance dictating a slow march that I guarantee is practised in far fewer gardens and bedrooms than was the slightly inclined jog. But slow marches it is, preceding a "respect handshake" that ought really to be a fist bump. Then, trying to succeed where the crowd failed, the Wolves players indulged in a very long, very useless, very unintimidating huddle whilst Mick McLobanovski looked on, mind pregnant with innovation.
Because United were so poor in the first half, there could be no possible ambiguity as to whether or not a half-time rollocking was required, although the players were also hindered by the selection. In the absence of Rooney, it was risky to rest Fletcher, the midfielder most likely to run beyond Berbatov and the team's next best player. And as a consequence of his absence, we were subjected to yet another useless effort from The DFG, unable to spell his name, let alone lace his boots.
On what should have been a 4-4-2 day, Owen's injury was felt immediately; he isn't the standard required, but not to notice how sharp he looked at Wembley would be to ignore it on purpose, and chances are he'd have found at least one vital goal in the run-in that who knows where it'll come from now. Though should United manage any more trophies, he'll look very smart stood clapping in his suit.
Things improved with the introduction of Diouf, offering more of a presence up front despite delivering probably the most inept cameo since the heady days of Forlan. But like Forlan, Diouf appears to have a knack either for making things happen or for stumbling across them when they happen to be taking place – if he could learn some composure, he might turn out to be useful.
Which brings us nicely on to all-round hero Paul Aaron Scholes. A goal that's certain before it arrives is a rare occurrence, but the extended moment of expectation, excitement and relief duly began as soon as he picked up the loose ball. No matter that it was a difficult chance; that it would be stuck away in consummate fashion was never in doubt, Craddock and his girly name put on their arses for good measure.
The importance of winning a record 19th and fourth consecutive title meant that I'd hardly thought about Milan until after Wolves, though it was hard to see them containing the brilliantly elusive Rooney well enough to win, playing Machida to Thiago Silva's Thiago Silva. Predictably, Fletcher was also to the fore, elbows sharper than Florian and Loiseau combined, whilst Park – far more convincing as a midfielder than a winger - ran like a beserker, and is a genuine alternative to Carrick in that position. Thus his goal was well deserved, coming from close enough range so that even he could muster the force to get the ball over the line, though there was of course a typical stumble in the process.
Most happily of all, the defence looked close to regaining its old solidity. This was despite the presence of Gary Neville, a selection explained by the ever-insightful Mark Lawrenson, on the basis that "he brings lots and lots of pragmatism". In a newspaper interview last weekend, Neville referred to the hype that surrounds football as "noise and fluff" – pretty much all he contributes nowadays – but credit to him on this occasion. Similarly, Ferdinand and Vidic played with authority and calm too, the former even winning the kind of crucial but dangerous header his dashing good looks usually insist he bottles.
United also deserve praise for their approach. In the two seasons since Quieroz left, the attacking emphasis that underpinned the 1999 European Cup win has returned, even if Fergie's half-time snap that "we don't defend a lead" was not a small bit rich - though not as rich as his comments after the game, when he said:
"Paul Ince unfortunately went to play for Liverpool so they weren't exactly throwing garlands at him when he came back but normally they always appreciate the players who have had great careers at this club."
So who might "they" be, then? "They" who caned him in their autobiography and publicly referred to him as a "big-time Charlie"? It must also be "they" who were responsible for the various briefings against Beckham, van Nistelrooy and the rest, as well as the countless negative European performances that are suddenly such an affront; damn them!
If the tedium of the Beckham angle ruined the pre-match anticipation, it was well worth it for his post-match scarf-wearing. Of course it's not going to make the Glazers sell, and presumably we'll have to suffer the annoyance of anything green and gold suddenly termed "David Beckham-style", but job done nonetheless. And at least he diverted attention from Fergie's dark coat, light trousers faux pas, unusual for someone who usually looks bang on when in official gear.
The fuss over Beckham unfortunately distracted people from footage capturing the Glazers, pointing and laughing at protesting fans; yes, they were suggesting that other people look stupid. Whilst the contempt with which they regard supporters has never been in doubt, this was clearly a pre-meditated gesture, and it tells you that they're rattled; the door is well and truly open, and they know we're watching.