Our First Final Ever.

Those of us who have supported the team for a while, we remember.

We remember the years in the 3rd and 4th divisions of the country, with no seats in the stadiums, and free tickets given all over town to fill the stadium.

We remember fighting to get promoted to the First Division, with a lucky goal that wasn’t even an intentional shot.

We remember the thousands who celebrated in the Plaza Major that day,who went into the fountain, who celebrated all night.

We remember our first goal ever in La Liga–in our first match. Against Real Madrid. At the Bernabeu.

We lost 5-1. It didn’t matter.

We remember that amazing win at the Camp Nou, 1-3, with the Barcelona president weathering the storm against 90,000+ spectators taking their white handkerchiefs and calling him out.

Up on the stands, a few thousands groguets celebrated. They put us in a glass cage in the top corner of the stadium.

It didn’t matter.

We remember the first European adventures, doing way better than we expected, and all of a sudden we were there, in the last rounds, and people were starting to talk about Villarreal, and Vila-real.

We remember so many times when we bent the knee just short of glory. Valencia. Oporto. Liverpool. Arsenal.

That Arsenal penalty in the last few minutes of the match. We did not make it through. We cried, but we were proud.

We remember getting relegated with a goal in the last two minutes of the last match of the season, and having to start all over again.

It didn’t matter.

We remember when Senna and Bruno (among others) told us they were staying, that they would bring the team back to La Liga, where it deserved to be. That we would tornarem (come back). We did.

And we will always, always remember today. The nervousness, the amount of times throughout the day where we played the match in our heads, winning it last minute, on extra time, on penalties. How little we ate, and how shaky we were through the entire match.

We will remember the two posts Arsenal hit, and how close it sometimes was from, again, falling short from glory.

This time, it was ours to take the chance and make it ours.

We are playing Manchester United, who has won over 60 trophies in its entire history, and we are doing so with a town of 50,000 people behind a small team from Vila-real, and with one trophy– an Intertoto Cup to our name.

It won’t matter. This is glory.


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