It didn't matter a jot that there wasn't a solitary soul on the terraces or in the grandstands of Wembley Stadium as I walked up the tunnel to the famous field of my dreams.
For in my head I could hear the full-throated roars of 100,000 fans greeting my entrance into the legendary London venue.
All around me, in my imagination, were the ghosts of the greats from FA Cup Finals of yesteryear that I'd watched religiously in my boyhood on the TV. Like Danny Blanchflower, Stanley Matthews, Harry Gregg and Jackie Milburn.
I was at the citadel of world football in the 80s for the first time in my life to film a report for Ulster Television on the man who was in charge of tours of Wembley Stadium, Charlie McCracken from Omagh who was a hero of a different genre, having been Rory Gallagher's bass player in the iconic Irish blues group Taste.
Charlie had the good grace to leave me alone as I strolled onto the famous Wembley turf to film pieces to camera and, more importantly, to indulge in my flashbacks to the FA Cup showdowns of my formative years.
It was the old Wembley, of course, but the new stadium still has a special allure all of its own and it's where the FA Cup final of 2020 should have been happening this coming Saturday if it hadn't been for the coronavirus crisis.
Not that it would have been in quite the same league as the finals of yore when the Cup really did runneth over with magic.
Back in the day, the final countdown really was the highlight of every football fan's calendar, before the clash became for many just another match in just another season.
Live games in the 50s, 60s and 70s were few and very far between and the TV companies knew they had a captive and captivated audience as they extracted every ounce of drama from the cup finals which always kicked off at 3pm, in stark contrast to today when the TV companies dictate the starting times at the most ungodly of hours for supporters, especially the ones travelling any distance to London.
Back in the good old days, the build-up began early on Cup Final Saturdays.
The TV treats started with the obligatory features on how the finalists reached the biggest game of the season along with profiles of the players.
Later, the cameras filmed the two teams leaving their hotels to board their buses for the journey to Wembley, shadowed by police cars and camera crews who eventually took to the air to record the trips from helicopters.
Occasionally, the clubs permitted the TV people to share the ride and, as the buses inched ever closer to Wembley, the excitement levels soared with scores of fans struggling to get a closer look at their idols.
The supporters would often wear outsized and outlandish rosettes or carry lamentably lame FA Cups made out of tin foil and they would gabble away to TV interviewers on Wembley Way and invariably say nothing of any import apart from predictable predictions of victory for their team.
As the players arrived at Wembley, one of their first rituals was to wander onto the pitch dressed to the nines in natty new suits and roses in their buttonholes - though Liverpool's white 'ice cream vendors' jackets and trousers in 1996 should have seen their tailors carted off by the men in white coats.
As the stadium filled up, the singing started and in our house we'd all fill up with tears as the Wembley crowd sang the emotion-charged football anthem Abide With Me.
But the FA managed to kill the mystique stone dead in later years by employing plummy-voiced professional singers with microphones to drown out the crowd who didn't need to take a lead from anyone.
In our house, the BBC's Grandstand was always the match of our day for the Cup Final. The less trusted ITV, who were to pay my wages for 30 years, also broadcast the game but there was no commentator kinder on the ears than the polished Kenneth Wolstenholme, though Brian Moore later gave him a run for his money on the other side.
But the more straight-laced BBC soon tacked on tackiness to their Cup Final coverage, introducing special editions of It's A Knock-Out with supporters and past players from the finalists making buck eejits of themselves in daft games as Eddie Waring and the subsequently disgraced Stuart Hall wittered on in the background.
There was none of that nonsense for the first televised final in 1938 between Huddersfield Town and Preston North End, who had a 24-year-old Bill Shankly in the number four shirt. Around the UK, there were only 10,000 TV sets at the time which meant more people saw Preston's 1-0 victory live than on the box.
The first final I remember with any degree of clarity was in 1958 the year after Newry's Peter McParland had scored twice to win the cup for Aston Villa against a Manchester United side which included east Belfast's Jackie Blanchflower, who was soon to be badly hurt in the Munich air disaster.
Not long after the tragedy, Jackie's Northern Ireland colleague Harry Gregg was in goals for a depleted United side who lost again, this time to Bolton Wanderers, but their second goal from Nat Lofthouse would never have been allowed to stand today because the big centre-forward unceremoniously and illegally bundled the Coleraine-born keeper, and the ball, into the net.
For years, a supposed injury hoodoo hung over the Cup Finals and in the days before substitutes were permitted, teams were often reduced to 10 men - or 10 men and a passenger who hobbled manfully but uselessly on the left wing.
The Wembley turf was regularly blamed for the jinx which in 1959 even struck Elton John's uncle, Roy Dwight, who broke his leg after scoring for Luton Town in their 2-1 defeat by Nottingham Forest.
Billy Bingham played in that Luton team and the appearances by other Northern Ireland internationals in the finals added an extra bit of spice for fans over here.
Danny Blanchflower led Tottenham Hotspur to two cup final triumphs in 1961 and 1962 with respective victories over Leicester City and Burnley, who had Alex Elder and Jimmy McIroy in their ranks.
But from memory, the biggest number of Irishmen in a final was eight. That came in one of the most thrilling cup deciders of all time between Arsenal and Manchester United in 1979, when five of players were from north of the border and three from the south.
Pat Jennings, Pat Rice and Sammy Nelson were the Ulstermen in Arsenal's side who were also managed by Northern Ireland's Terry Neill.
Frank Stapleton, David O'Leary and Liam Brady were the Gunners from the Republic, while the Manchester United team featured Jimmy Nicholl and Sammy McIlroy, who equalised for the Busby Babes in the 89th minute before Alan Sunderland won it for Arsenal 60 seconds later.
There were better times, however, for United six years later when Northern Ireland star Norman Whiteside scored one of THE Cup Final goals with a wonder strike that gave the Reds victory over Everton.
Another memorable goal that won the FA Cup was scored by former Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez in 1988, when the Crazy Gang of Wimbledon beat the much fancied Liverpool 1-0.
In pub quizzes, a popular Wembley question is to name the two former Linfield managers who won FA Cup medals.
The best known was Jackie Milburn, who shocked the football world by leaving Newcastle United to join the Blues in 1957.
Milburn played in three cup winning teams for the Geordies in 1951, 1952 and 1955 and former Irish League players Alf McMichael and George Hannah also turned out for Newcastle in some of the games.
The other lesser-known Blues boss with a cup medal was Scot Ewan Fenton, who was in charge at Windsor Park for three years from 1967.
Fenton was part of the Blackpool team who sensationally won the famous 'Stanley Matthews' final at Wembley in 1953 with a dramatic 4-3 victory over Bolton, who had been leading 3-1 at one stage
Stan Mortensen grabbed a hat-trick for Blackpool but the triumph was inspired by mercurial Matthews on the wing.
I got the chance to meet Sir Stanley at Westminster in 1994 when he launched a book by Tony Blair's sidekick, Alastair Campbell, called Football and the Commons People, which included the memories of 30 MPs, including the late Unionist MP Clifford Forsythe, who played for Derry City and Linfield.
Before I interviewed Sir Stanley, I said I was going to ask him the question I thought he must be sick of answering.
He knew what I was on about right away and said he never tired of talking about the 1953 final. The gentlest of gentlemen then gave me his autograph which I have unforgivably lost.
But it wasn't my only regret about Cup Final autographs. Several months after Everton won the 1966 final against Sheffield Wednesday, the Toffees came to the Oval to play a friendly against Glentoran, who were to be briefly managed by Merseyside legend Alex Young.
Waiting patiently at the players' entrance to get the Everton team's signatures on my 1966 Cup Final programme, an official who said he was from the Goodison Park club offered to get it autographed for me.
He never came back and neither did my prized programme.