or those who follow the Premier League elite, the overwhelming excitement of West Ham fans may be greeted with bewilderment tinged with disdain.
Not that the supporters of the club are too bothered by what anyone else thinks. Only seven English teams had a chance to reach a European final this season — and West Ham were one of them.
Yes, the Europa Conference League is the third-tier competition in Europe, but who cares? Certainly not the thousands of Hammers fans who have made it out to Prague, many without tickets, for tonight’s final.
The fact remains that only Manchester City and West Ham can return home with a coveted European trophy this season, so cue the collective fever-pitch mood.
Back in 1965, the European Cup Winners’ Cup was also the third-tier competition in Europe, but that mattered not one jot to the 100,000 people who descended on Wembley to see West Ham beat 1860 Munich 2-0, with both goals coming from Alan Sealey.
Born, as I was, a handful of yards from Stratford Station, it was natural, back then, to follow your local team, largely because, if funds were low, you could walk to games.
Somehow, though, that May day 58 years ago, I had saved up enough to buy a return train ticket to Wembley to watch Bobby Moore lead out the Hammers against 1860 Munich.
It was a great match, a suitable finale and led to West Ham being named Team of the Year in the BBC Sportsview awards.
Years later, Moore was asked to pick the greatest game of his career, and this match, rather than the World Cup Final a year later, was his choice. “We had all come through the ranks together,” he said. “It was like winning the cup with your school team.”
If you did not have a ticket for the showdown, then you tried to buy one from a tout — and if that was unsuccessful, you went home.
I had been to Wembley once before that night, to watch West Ham beat Preston 3-2 in the 1964 FA Cup Final and I was back again in ’66 to watch Moore wipe his hands on the velvet
rail of the Royal Box before taking the Jules Rimet World Cup trophy from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Somehow, it has not been quite the same since then. I might have peaked too early.
Since West Ham’s last European final, in 1976, when they lost against Anderlecht, there have been good and bad times. The fans have been sometimes optimistic, often anxious and occasionally rebellious.
All that is forgotten tonight, though, as they come together to sing their songs, ether inside the Eden Arena, elsewhere in Prague, or back home.
When you are a club like West Ham, whose last European final was almost half a century ago, you really savour these moments, you take them in — and you never forget them.