As Scott Chipperfield ran onto the Craven Cottage pitch as a late substitute in FC Basel's Europa League visit to Fulham, the few hundred travelling Swiss fans rose as one to applaud the veteran Australian winger.
As he enters his twilight years, there's no doubt the Socceroo has left a lasting impression on the Basel faithful with his loyal and successful service to the club since 2001. Chipperfield almost boosted his reputation with the fans even further as Basel tried to find a late equaliser at Fulham, only to be thwarted by fellow Australian Mark Schwarzer, who himself achieved cult status with the Cottagers after a spectacular first season at the club last term.
Chipperfield and Schwarzer are part of the current golden era of Australians who have qualified for two of the three World Cups in the nation's history. With Tim Cahill, Everton's talismanic midfielder, plus Harry Kewell, Galatasaray's new hero, this crop of players has the welcome habit of becoming popular figures at their European clubs.
It's nice to note, particularly for supporters back in Australia, that this current generation will not just leave a legacy for Australian football, but also for their various clubs. Loyal servants such as Brett Emerton at Blackburn (six seasons so far) and Jason Culina at PSV (four seasons) will forever hold a place in their club's history.
The success of these players only adds to the pressing question of whether the next generation of Socceroos will continue in the mould of the incumbents, or if Australia will face a drop in quality as the current players move past their prime.
Australia will arrive at South Africa with a first choice XI that could, remarkably, contain ten players who started games in Germany 2006. The main point of difference will be the lone striker, with Mark Viduka having made way for Josh Kennedy. Another fascinating statistic is the age spread of the players. Taking out goalkeeper Schwarzer, Pim Verbeek's likely line-up will all be aged between the limits of 27 (Kennedy) and 33 (Chipperfield and Craig Moore). With Kennedy, only Luke Wilkshire (28) will be younger than 29.
There wouldn't be many countries with a starting XI so consistent from the last tournament, with players all around the prime of their careers as well. Things are shaping up very well for the Socceroos, who will essentially have no inexperienced players on the field in South Africa (even Kennedy tasted World Cup game time off the bench).
But frighteningly, come Brazil 2014 the majority of those players will have retired from international football. Just as their position is uniquely good in the short term, not many nations will face such a sudden and challenging changing of the guard as Australia do. Just qualifying for the next tournament is likely to be a major hurdle.
Looking around the younger batch of players starting to emerge, it is tough to compare them with their predecessors, and the reading doesn't look too promising. Of those who are definitely young enough to feature with Kennedy and Wilkshire in Brazil, only Scott McDonald at Celtic and AZ Alkmaar's Brett Holman are consistently starting games at top-flight European clubs.
Others like Mile Jedinak (Antalyaspor) and David Carney (FC Twente) are trying to find their feet at new clubs, while some (including Kennedy) have settled for clubs in Asia, or in the cases of Carl Valeri (Grosseto), Nick Carle (Crystal Palace) and Brad Jones (Middlesbrough), second-tier football.
Situations could and will change over the next four years, but currently these players are not on the same trajectories as the golden boys once were. Consider that Kewell and Emerton had broken into the Socceroos first team by their early 20s - there are no equivalents in the current crop.
Youngsters such as Nikita Rukavytsya and Matthew Spiranovic promise a lot, but haven't yet achieved enough with club or country to indicate they will pick up where Kewell and Lucas Neill will eventually leave off.
Australian football was reborn this decade with a new governing body, a new domestic league and the joining of the Asian Confederation. When these events coincided with consecutive World Cup qualifications, fans perhaps thought being on the big stage was now status quo. Perhaps these landmarks have coincidentally coincided with a golden generation of Socceroos that may not be repeated for some time.
Future qualification through the taxing Asian confederation is far from guaranteed. The coaching team's biggest challenge is managing the imminent transition phase - something the Australian cricket team has found quite painful. Youngsters have to be introduced at the right time, and a core of senior players must be retained to impart knowledge and deliver results. Ultimately, it is up to the players to build careers in Europe and raise their own standards.
The challenge ahead is, in a way, a product of the benchmark the current group has set. So rather than worry about the future, it is worth taking a moment to join those Basel fans and appreciate the now.
Given that European sides traditionally struggle in World Cups outside their continent (they have never won on foreign turf), the opportunity is there for the Socceroos to improve on their round of 16 result last time around. Other nations might have more history in World Cups, but not many teams have played together as constantly as Australia's first XI have over the past five years, making the Socceroos an underrated threat.
I am excited to see what they are able to produce. Not every player will retire straight away, but as a unit, this will be the swansong of a truly golden generation.