What Dean Windass did next
There was no-one near him as the ball dropped out of the dazzling blue sky and Dean Windass demonstrated a technique many might have thought beyond him to make the cleanest of contacts.
The ball violently changed trajectory and flew into the net while he peeled away in celebration.
The fans seated around me inside Wembley stadium erupted, none more so than my wife, who may not be an expert on football but certainly knows enough to recognise a corker of a goal when she sees one.
As it turned out, the goal by Windass, 39 at the time and sporting bleached blond hair more suited to a boy band member than a senior pro, sealed a 1-0 play-off final win over Bristol City and fired Hull City into the top flight for the first time in the club's 104-year history.
It was a goal that consigned me to months of boastful excitement about the fortunes of a team in which I previously had only the most cursory of interest. Only recently has the interest from my better half started to wane.
It also sealed legendary status on the Humber of the local lad done good, the boy from Gipsyville who from the age of nine had set his sights on becoming a professional footballer.
There was talk of naming a street after Windass and a petition has been sent to the Downing Street website. There is a Facebook group calling for a statue to be erected of Windass in Hull.
Would Windass attend the unveiling if they did build a statue of him?
"Of course I would, without a doubt," Windass told me. "It would be an honour."
I spoke to Windass on the Monday when the snow came and he had been unable to drive to training from his home near Leeds.
Windass, of course, now drives west and not east to reach training because his role in Hull's Premier League adventure proved to be disappointingly peripheral. Four substitute appearances, one start (the 5-1 drubbing at Man City on Boxing Day) and one goal (a last-gasp equaliser at Portsmouth in late November that made him the club's oldest ever scorer) were not enough for someone who just loves to play football.
Windass claimed at the turn of the year that manager Phil Brown had not spoken to him in three weeks. Indiscreet words perhaps, but frustration was starting to get the better of the striker, whose love of Hull was trumped by his desire to play.
And so instead of driving to Cottingham near Hull each morning for training, Windass heads for the M62 and travels towards Oldham, the home of his new club.
A proud Yorkshireman, Windass could not resist the observation that "once you get past Saddleworth it is like you are in a different country" but he is clearly enthused about his new challenge with the League One promotion candidates.
"The one thing about it is I have nothing to prove to anybody - I can just go there, enjoy my football and try to score goals," Windass told me.
"Manager John Sheridan wants his team to pass the ball and keep it. There is a good blend of youth and experience - and I want to make the play-offs."
Windass isn't joking about the club being rich in experience. He is 39, as is keeper Mark Crossley. Andy Liddell is 35, Sean Gregan reaches the same age next month and Lee Hughes is no spring chicken at 32.
It is a side built around Oldham's very own Dad's Army, but I don't think Windass is all that familiar with the 1970s television sitcom of the same name. When I asked him which character he would be, he said: "The old geezer with the flat cap and the moustache." That would be Captain Mainwaring, grammar school educated and with an inflated sense of his own self-importance. Not really Windass at all.
Windass is one of those footballers who has done it the hard way. He was initially rejected by Hull and played non-league football for North Ferriby before Terry Dolan offered him a deal with the Tigers. Windass was in his early 20s and had worked as a labourer on building sites and in factories by the time he turned professional.
"Some young footballers need to go out and earn £140 a week on a building site, then when they do earn money in football they will appreciate it," he said.
Two spells at Hull and Bradford and time with Aberdeen, Oxford, Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United pay testament to a player that has absolutely made the most of the ability he has.
It has not been without its problems. Perhaps not surprisingly he describes being sent off three times in one match for Aberdeen (foul play and then verbal abuse before laying into a corner flag) in 1997 as the low point of his career. But he hardly covered himself in glory by leaving the Sheffield United squad prior to their 2003 Championship play-off final after Neil Warnock left him out of the squad. Windass watched the Blades lose 3-0 to Wolves in a pub.
Windass is suitably contrite about his behaviour in walking out on the squad. "One thing you learn as you get older is that managers make decisions for a reason," he told me. "It was devastating at the time but it is a learning curve and I have no animosity towards Neil Warnock."
If Windass sounds like a player who now sees his behaviour from the other side of the fence it is perhaps because he recognises that he himself might have to break that sort of news one day. He has got all the Uefa badges below the Pro Licence and is qualified to manage in the Football League.
When Windass left Hull, his Dad claimed he would one day be back as manager. Windass isn't so sure about that but he does want to give management a go. "It is not an overnight thing. It has always intrigued me to watch a manager and see what they do," he said.
It all makes sense in a way. Windass says that he "eats, drinks and sleeps" football and he has no desire to step away from the game when he has retired. His wife cannot understand why he chooses to spend the occasional Tuesday wandering up the road from his house to watch Guiseley AFC standing in the cold. Why? "It is in my blood," he replied.
On the day I spoke to Windass, he was due to commentate on a Bradford City fixture for a local radio station and the striker has an increasing media profile.
But for now all that lies in the future.
Windass has a more immediate goal. This season's League One play-off final will take place exactly one year to the day that Windass fired Hull into the Premier League. Can Deano do it again?
"I don't get too carried away, but maybe that is fate," said Windass.