For a season or two after Manchester United won the treble in 1999, as the teams ran out on the pitch at Old Trafford, the stadium DJ played the Stone Roses song "This Is The One". It was the tune the United fans had adopted as their anthem for the Champions League final in Barcelona, its title a reflection of the tournament's meaning in United history.
This is, indeed the one. Moscow 21 May 2008 represents the biggest of all possible ones. But there is a line in the song's second verse that seems particularly apposite to this week's event: "immerse me," it says, "in your splendour."
There could be no better articulation of the hopes of the thousands spending small fortunes to head to Moscow to the game, to the tens of thousands watching back home on big screens in Manchester and west London, to the millions camping out in front of their television screens across the globe. It is a line that should be committed to the memory of those about to participate in English club football's finest moment. What everyone wants is a grand game, a showpiece, a night of unrelenting quality and excitement.
And it can happen. Within both teams there is the potential to make this a classic. Performers of the like of Didier Drogba, Joe Cole, Michael Ballack, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez have within them the capability to make this a game remembered across the generations. To make it the modern equivalent of the match in Glasgow 1960 between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt, the game the Spaniards won 7-3, the game that had a lasting effect on the imagination of one young spectator that evening, a certain Alex Ferguson.
The stakes, though, are much, much higher this time than 48 years ago. The financial rewards much greater, the accolade so much more substantial. This is a prize which is now, perhaps, too valuable to lose. Which presents the possibility of a cagey, safety-first approach, a tactical game of chess in which the extravagant talent of both sides is cancelled out by two of the best defences ever assembled. A game, in short, a bit like last season's FA Cup final between these two teams, a lengthy boreathon which disappointed every prediction of glory, a game illuminated only by Drogba's goal, a strike of a subtlety that was frankly too good for the context.
I suspect, however, that on Wednesday night such pragmatism will not win out. For Ferguson, who has won so much, his motivation now is largely to do with making his mark on history. He would like nothing more than for the glories of his team to echo down the generations. He would love Moscow 2008 still to mean something in four decades time. Equally, Avram Grant has the opportunity here finally to lay the ghost of his predecessor and to give his boss, Roman Abramovich, the grandiose homecoming he craves. After all, the Chelsea owner will not be inviting half of Moscow's monied classes along to the match to watch a tedious stalemate.
It all depends on an early goal. If, within the first ten minutes we were witness to a pinpoint pass from Michael Carrick, a lay-off from Ronaldo and a blaster from Paul Scholes then things will open up. Equally a shimmying run from Cole, a cross to the far post, a bullying leap from Drogba and Ballack there to tuck the ball home, then the game would become a testament to the attacking quality within each squad.
This is what the fans in the Luzhniki, who have paid out much of their life savings to be there, want: it is to be able to say in 48 years time I was there on the greatest night in European football history. The night when the football sizzled for 90 minutes, when the drama exploded, when goals rained on the Moscow turf, when the lead changed hands with more frequency than the ownership of Liverpool FC, when the entire world was perched on the edge of its sofa. And then at the end of it all, we won.