Standing at mid level in the Fulwell, slightly off to the Clock Stand side, I watched as the ball was squared along the edge of their penalty area. Until it arrived at his feet and he hit it with such venom, such accuracy, that big Joe Corrigan could hardly have seen it as the ball flashed by him.
We saw it though. Saw it and would never forget it.
To the 50-odd thousand there under the Roker Park floodlights was there ever a better moment than that Vic Halom thunderbolt against Manchester City on the glorious Tuesday night of February, 27, 1973?
There were great moments to come, of course, in that season of wonder. Great moments, courtesy of a razor-sharp Billy Hughes, in that game alone. But to me they all flowed from that single, defining instant.
It is 40 years since and so many things have changed. With me and with my team. Players have come and gone, promotions, relegations, even the ground we play on. In tandem, jobs, friends, wives and even countries have changed.
But that single moment never will, whether I die tomorrow or have the pain and privilege of watching Sunderland for another 40 years. It is etched in memory.
It should never have been, of course. City were then a giant of Division One. They didn't have the efficiency of Arsenal nor the ruthlessness of Leeds (we'd get to those later) but they had the most exciting of line ups, players such as Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Rodney Marsh.
It was Bell who'd predicted before the fifth-round tie at Maine Road that City would probably win 4-0. Being from this part of the world he should have known better. An inspiring second half against Boro the week before in which we'd rattled in three in five minutes gave a clue that something was stirring. The folowing, thrilling 2-2 draw would just be the appetizer for the replay.
Queueing for a ticket on the Sunday morning, with lines stretching round the ground, you could almost taste the change. After promotion in '64 few things had gone right, the Baxter experiment hadn't worked; we'd sold Todd and Suggett and brought in past-their best players such as Joe Baker and Gordon Harris. Relegation followed.
Crowds had dwindled to the low teens and the club was going nowhere.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, they returned. Just the faintest sniff of success was enough. Of all the change that alone has remained constant through the decades.
There were some awful days and nights at Roker. No amount of rose-tinting should hide that. But there were also nights of pure magic that are beyond compare. The crush, the roaring, the delirium, the sense of oneness live on in memory.
And as we went mental in that 15th minute no one thought or cared that here was a moment to be frozen forever. That on some day, maybe 40 years hence, those still around would, inside their head and almost, but not quite, on their lips, silently mouth Vic Halom Vic Halom Vic Halom.
Then smile and think, what the hell, it's been worth it.