The 14.24 out of London Euston, heading towards Northampton, was not a football train. Its first stop was Watford Junction, but the carriages were populated by shoppers and families. Vicarage Road was not their destination.
But there was one man, kitted in a vintage red and black Manchester City away shirt, with two large bottles of Staropramen lager partially supped and mobile phone in hand. He kept refreshing his live score app.
The train left the station just as the dramatic events at the London Stadium concluded.
Bernardo Silva helped Manchester City to a routine 3-1 victory against Watford on Saturday
The Portugal international netted City's second goal to put the game out of Watford's reach
The internet caught up. The result was in. A knee bashed a table, and out came a loud, disbelieving shout of, ‘West Ham have won!’. A lady opposite, her scarf doubling up as a mask, jolted nonplussed. The City fan carried on, giddily gabbing to nobody in particular, just filling the air.
He FaceTimed a friend who supported Liverpool. They briefly jousted, playfully. To watch him was to witness how much this absorbing title race is gripping those involved.
It is consuming fans. A proper race. The first one for three years, really. After Chelsea’s defeat on Saturday lunch time, Liverpool played one of their hits from 2018-19 at Wolves, a late Divock Origi strike to rescue victory.
City then gave a rendition of one of theirs from that relentless season, too, steamrolling Watford, with the scoreline not reflecting their dominance.
Pep Guardiola’s players attempted to steer clear of watching their Liverpool counterparts that year, only tuning in when they looked like dropping points.
As they pressed the remote, Jurgen Klopp’s side always found a way of winning. It became a running joke around the Etihad. The next six months look like following a similar pattern and, while Guardiola was right last