It was a very different world back then. George Bush was still president. Tony Adams and Paul Ince were still regarded as the brightest of the next generation of English football managers. Rafael Benitez reckoned Robbie Keane was destined to become a Liverpool great.
One thing, however, hasn't changed: Van der Sar remains unlikely to earn himself a berth on the chat-show circuit.
Judging by his straight-faced application of cliches whenever interviewed about the subject – a collective thing, thanks to his team-mates, interested only in trophies etc – he has not spent his time standing unoccupied in the Manchester United goal buffing up his after-dinner techniques.
Which is, presumably, one of the reasons why his goal has remained unsullied for so long.