As Gillingham schoolboy Ryan Bertrand walked off the pitch at the Allianz Arena in the Champions League Final last month, a chant began to rise from the massed ranks of Chelsea fans to his right.
“One Ryan Bertrand, there’s only one Ryan Betrand.”
The Gills youth team product and Robert Napier pupil could probably hardly believe what he was hearing. From my vantage point high in the upper tier I did a slight double take as well.
Just a year ago he was kicking his heels in the Blues’ Reserve team having been out on loan to a number of Football League clubs to build up experience.
How things change.
What was remarkable about his performance against Bayern Munich is that he didn’t look out of place. It was his debut in the competition, and the pressure on him would’ve been immense.
He was an assured presence on the left flank, diligently helping left-back Ashley Cole shackle Bayern’s attacking triumvirate.
Many watching back here in Medway would have been intensely proud.
There are the teachers at Robert Napier, in Third Avenue, who first came across his talent as a fresh-faced schoolboy.
Then there are those at Gillingham, where Bertrand spent four years before being spotted by Chelsea during an under-16s game at Chatham Town Football Club in 2005.
Seeing one of their own play so well in the biggest game in European club football is a great advertisement for the club. "If you work hard, this is what you can achieve" will be the message being passed on to the current crop of Academy players.
There is also a financial interest for the club. The more games Bertrand plays for Chelsea, the more money they get. The final total could be more than half a million.
The initial compensation when he moved in 2005 was £125,000, and the club received £50,000 when Bertrand made his first team debut in April 2011.
Installments of £100,000 are due for every 10 appearances up to and including his 40th. The final in Munich was Bertrand’s 16th game for Chelsea.
Now we wait to see how far he can go. From what I've seen he has all the attributes to carve out a successful career.
Next season will be key. Interim manager Roberto Di Matteo had faith in Bertrand and gave him chances to shine, will the new manager do the same?
Bertrand is learning from one of the best in the business in the shape of Ashley Cole, and if things work out he could very well replace him as first choice for club and country.
Many in Medway will certainly be hoping he does.