Pompey youngsters like Matt Taylor and Gary O’Neil had to pinch themselves.
A player of the calibre of Paul Merson had just walked into their dressing room at their unremarkable Eastleigh training base.
Dodging the hockey-playing youngsters from King Edward VI School who owned the facility, was one of the stars of the English game.
The hungry, young talents at Fratton Park could scarcely believe what they were seeing back in 2002.
See, the beauty of Merson’s jaw-dropping arrival from Aston Villa wasn’t just the majesty he brought to Fratton Park.
He made his team-mates better players, too.
That was unequivocally witnessed as Pompey went from Division One strugglers to champions in 12 months, with Merse a key catalyst in that ascent.
Which leads us to the arrival of Brett Pitman from Ipswich.
Landing a player of proven Football League goalscoring repute and convincing him to step down to League One at the peak of his powers, is undoubtedly a coup for the Blues.
A look at his career goal record underlines the point.
The standouts read: 2008-09 - 17 goals (League Two), 2009-10 - 28 goals (League Two), 2010-11 - 16 goals (Championship), 2012-13 - 19 goals (League One), 2014-15 - 14 goals (Championship) and 2015-16 - 11 goals (Championship).
Now, no one is comparing Pitman to a hall of famer who resonated so profoundly at PO4 as Merson. Let that be abundantly apparent.
But there is a parallel to be made in the manner the 29-year-old can impact his new dressing room.
And, let’s face it, one explosive goalscoring talent in particular.
The manner in which the craft and experience of the new arrival can dovetail with the vibrancy and youth of Conor Chaplin is a prospect to get Pompey fans salivating.
That potential, and the way in which he can help develop Pompey’s crown jewel were undoubtedly big factors in his arrival.
Would, say, non-league striking target Ollie Hawkins have resonated in the same way with Chaplin?
There are no givens, of course. The best partnerships on paper don’t always materialise on the pitch.
But the potential impact and gravity of Pitman’s arrival is obvious.
The new season just got a lot more exciting.