It was a night they'd looked forward to with relish and anticipation, an occasion they had dreamed about, and, for some, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the glory of a Champions League Final, but everything came tumbling down for Manchester United when the driver of the coach taking them to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome for the match against Barcelona got lost on the way, leaving the Spaniards easy winners.
United had been staying at the Splendide Royal in the Villa Borghese district, only a matter of minutes away from the stadium, but somehow, their driver managed to take several wrong turnings en route.
Setting off from the hotel, the coach travelled first along the Viale del Muro Torto, and then northwards along the Lungotevere Flaminio, still on the east side of the river.
However, when approaching the Ponte Duca d'Aosta, the correct crossing point for the stadium, the driver decided to light a cigarette, and completely missed the bridge, and instead drove on, assuring the team that he knew what he was doing.
From that point on, United were never going to retain their Champions League title.
The Italian driver then took the next crossing point, the Ponte Milvio, but instead of taking a left and heading down Lungotevere Maresciallo Diaz, the idiot drove straight down the Piazzale di Ponte Milvio.
Only about a mile from their intended destination, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson finally decided to call it a day, and the group alighted from their coach, and ducked into a rather nice restaurant, where they enjoyed a tasty meal and some wine before going back to their hotel for an early night.
Speaking after his side had completed an easy 2-0 victory, the Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola told reporters in perfect English:
"It was easy for us. The Manchester United team just didn't turn up tonight."