In the event city, friends and family gritted their teeth as English hopes were dashed in the tense final of Euro 2020.
England were playing their first major tournament final since 1966, and supporters endured 55 years of suffering.
Most of it involved fines, and there was tension in Trafford as another big moment for the three lions would come down to an exchange of fire.
And as the nation suffered again, applause for England’s finalists began before the brave faces of the spectators were disturbed.
England fans believed in their side before the game because they started arriving three hours before the kick-off – but they knew it would be difficult.
Incidentally, almost all of City’s supporters were too young for the 1966 World Cup final, but before that all had suffered from a major tournament.
“I’m very nervous,” said Taylor Smith, 24, of Bolton.
“I thought we would reach the final one day, but not in this tournament.”
Taylor was watching with old school friends from Broomely Cross, who had been playing football together since the age of six.
As he predicted a nervous victory, Paul Alex Hemsworth urged caution.
The 25-year-old said: “Let’s be real about it.
“England on fine – we’ll be lucky if we get there too. Italy is on the upside.
Chris Collier of Red Dash was in the event city with his teammates and predicted a 2-0 victory.
The 31-year-old said: “We have reached the final but I don’t think we have been tested.
“We are playing the best team in the tournament, so if we beat them we deserve it.”
This is the third time 24-year-old Jack Wright has visited Fan Park during the tournament.
He hoped that this would be a good omen for the country.
“I’m nervous but excited. I’m not really going to think about it until it starts,” he said.
“I thought we were unlucky in the World Cup so I thought we could reach the final.
“If we win, we’ll be out all night – I think the whole country will be.”
The audience included several families. England’s own memories were kept with different generations, good and bad.
Justin Underwood, 53, moved with his family to Trafford in south-east London.
“I’m very excited and nervous. We had hoped, but I didn’t think we would go through the quarter,” he said.
“We’re excited to be here.”
His 14-year-old son Jay was hoping for an extra-time victory over England 2-1.
Dancing in the rain when a crowd gathered in the middle of Fan Park, only fans were told to return to their seats.
After reaching the players’ pitch, the supporters warmed up their voices by offering three lions before playing the national anthem.
Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester directly in your inbox with the MEN newsletter
You can easily sign up by following the instructions Here
This sentiment could be fully felt at Wembley, as Manchester United’s Luke Shaw scored the opening goal.
Excitement spread in Trafford. All these years of pain, heartache, are they really coming to an end?
With the first half becoming more KJ towards the break, the good half-time came, and the fans were still confident that football would come home.
“I can’t believe we scored so fast, I’m surprised,” said Marie Meghan, 56, of Stratford.
“I didn’t expect them to do such a good job. There’s a sense of relief that we can enjoy ourselves. Now we have a goal.
Video not available
This relief did not last long, as Italy began to illuminate the second half much earlier, before a full circle could be found for equality.
Disappointment reigned around Event City – England’s disintegration to no avail and Italy defended with all its might.
Even former Manchester City winger Trevor Sinclair could not ease the tension as he picked up a microphone and asked fans at Trafford to “trust the action”.
England looked bright in extra time, but there was not much singing left in the audience.
Fear gripped me – and signaled a fine.
As goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made two impressive saves in the shootout, fans at Trafford went wild.
Like Beer flew in the air against Ukraine, and you could see football making its way home.
But all England fans know how fines usually go, and Trafford’s crowd has never been completely confident.
The ghosts of 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, and 2012 all hit – and when England’s fifth penalty was stopped, Event City supporters had already resigned from the team’s fortunes.
Video not available
As Italy celebrated on the big screen, applause came from Gareth Southgate’s England, who made everyone proud of themselves and the country.
But only after tears and hugs, as if the daring spectators were once again crushed by the fine.
It was a cruel fate for England, but we have been here before.
In just one corner of the World Cup, we will have a kettle ready, only when football reaches home.