Vieira remains the man for the big occasion
Manchester City's training ground, Carrington
Manchester City midfielder Patrick Vieira may be nearing the end of his illustrious career but the bad news for Stoke City fans is that he remains a man for the big occasion.
The veteran Frenchman has undisputedly been there, seen it and won it - you cannot argue with his haul of domestic trophies in England and Italy, or his World Cup and European Championship winners' medals with France, so he can speak with authority when he talks about what ending a 35-year trophy drought would mean for City.
It is something that he mentions frequently when he does the rounds in an improvised mixed zone at City's media day ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final against the Potters, joining David Silva, Yaya Toure and, eventually, Edin Dzeko to answer questions in a temporary marquee erected on one of their training pitches at their Carrington base.
While Toure and Silva held fort on the top tables, Vieira danced around the journalists on the edge of the tent, giving the whole occasion the air of a particularly surreal wedding. Dzeko played his part in the analogy too, keeping to the tradition of such events by arriving extremely late.
Vieira (second from left) provides a wise old head in the City dressing room - photo: Getty
I followed Vieira as he made his way around the room, sometimes facing the same question in quick succession for the benefit of TV, radio or the written press. What was most telling about his thoughts on the consequences of some long awaited success for his club, was the fact they often came after he had been asked about what winning his fifth FA Cup would mean to him.
It seems that for the 34-year-old, the significance of this weekend is less about the possibility of another personal accolade, and more about the chance to help kick-start a period of success in what could be his final act for the club.
"You cannot compare it to the trophies I have won elsewhere," Vieira explained. "The Cup might not be so important for other teams or be less of an achievement than a league title, but this club has been looking forward to winning something for a long time now, and we all understand how difficult that has been for the fans.
"It is easy to forget that four or five years ago, City were fighting to stay in the Premier League. Now we have qualified for the Champions League and are in the final of the FA Cup, and that is a big step forward. It has been fantastic to be part of something like that, and Saturday is a big chance for us. The first trophy always means a lot because people always remember it.
"I think the people here are building a football club for the future. If we can win the Cup, I think it will be the start of a new era, and some really successful years."
Given he is unlikely to be around to be a part of that potentially bright future, you could understand it if Vieira had wanted to focus on adding to his own achievements. The Cup has offered him a rare chance to shine this season and, whether he starts the game or not on Saturday, the Senegal-born star has already played a big part in getting City to Wembley.
He has only been a bit-part player in the Premier League, making a mere four starts during this entire campaign, but he has started six of City's seven FA Cup ties so far (including two replays), scoring three goals to help his side progress.
There have been other contributions to the cause too. Vieira may no longer have the legs to be the driving midfield force he once was for Arsenal but he makes up for his fading playing powers when he is off the pitch, and has been a huge influence in the dressing room. The volatile character that is Mario Balotelli was joking when he recently referred to Vieira as "my dad" but he is not the only one in City's relatively young squad to see their experienced team-mate as something of a father figure.
So, even if he always intended to use him sparingly, you can understand why Roberto Mancini brought Vieira back to the Premier League 16 months ago after seeing first-hand the influence his winning mentality had in their triumphs together at Inter Milan.
It is that lack of action which might see Vieira leave Eastlands, and indeed England, during the summer.
He is out of contract at the end of the season and, when asked if he would be staying at City, replied: "I hope so, but I don't really know. I am really proud of what I've done in my time at this club and if I am part of it next season I will be happy and excited. If not, I will be grateful and think about what happens next. We will get to a time when I have to make a decision, but it is not the time yet."
There would be a certain symmetry if Vieira were to bid farewell to the Premier League after helping City win the Cup because that was the way he signed off at Arsenal, scoring the decisive spot-kick against Manchester United in the penalty shoot-out that decided the 2005 final.
But history suggests Mancini would be well-advised to try to persuade him to continue. As Gunners fans know only too well, their side has not won a trophy since Vieira's departure, and City want Saturday to be the start of their success story, not the end.
You can follow me at Wembley on Saturday on Twitter @chrisbevan_bbc