Watching a play was all very well, but anticipating the drama ahead was an even more exquisite experience.
His comment would strike a chord with any rugby fan who has stood beside a pitch in August. The grass is a flawless, emerald sward, the lines are freshly painted, even the posts seem to stand a little straighter at this time of year.
Granted, pregnant possibility all too often and all too quickly gives way to crushing disappointment, but let's leave that all-too-familiar pattern to one side for the moment. The days before a season gets under way are a time to indulge in dreams, not wallow in morose consideration of grimmer, and likelier, reality.
There was something of that uplifting freshness in the air at Kingston Park yesterday, as the Newcastle Falcons players gathered for their pre-season photographs. As they joked, joshed and jostled on the pristine turf, the cares of the world were beyond them, although those cares will turn up soon enough when the Falcons mark their return to the Aviva Premiership when they take on Bath in their opening game in just over two weeks' time.
This is a fascinating time for the north-east club. The Falcons led English rugby's headlong rush into professionalism 18 years ago but, after winning the Premiership title in 1998 - the team was brought together by the power of Sir John Hall's chequebook - they flirted with the drop almost on an annual basis before falling through the trap door and being relegated to the second-tier Championship last year.
Their trip downstairs was brief. A few months ago, after a season that would have been all-conquering but for a minor wobble near the end, they were promoted back to the Premiership. The headlines at the time were dominated by the fact promotion also meant a return to the top flight for Dean Richards, their director of rugby, who was banned from rugby for his part in the Bloodgate scandal four years ago, but there was no doubt that the players had earned the right to strut among the elite once more.
Not everyone was overjoyed by Newcastle's success. There are some in the English game who consider it a tiresome inconvenience to have to trek up the A1 once a season to fulfil a fixture with the Falcons. Yet Newcastle's return maintained a healthy distribution of clubs in England's topmost tier, where the balance of power had been tilted towards the south in recent years.
It is not only the English who should be celebrating, though. Even in the amateur era, Newcastle was a convenient home for Scots who wanted to dip a toe in English rugby, with players like Duncan Madsen and Jim Pollock serving time there - the club was known as Newcastle Gosforth at the time - before they ever popped up on the Murrayfield radar screen.
Post-professionalism, however, the trend accelerated. The SRU were still bumbling about in the dark in the early days of pay-for-play when Newcastle mounted cross-border raids that took the likes of Gary Armstrong and Doddie Weir to Kingston Park. Indeed, the SRU's ham-fisted implementation of any sort of professional strategy was largely the result of the panic Newcastle caused.
And the Jocks and the Geordies are still doing business. For the past few seasons, only a handful of Scots have been playing regularly in the Aviva Premiership, but the number will grow dramatically as Newcastle return to the fold. Richards' summer signing spree has brought Fraser McKenzie, Mike Blair, Scott Lawson and Phil Godman to the club, ramping up the Caledonian content at a club that already had Scott MacLeod, Ally Hogg and a number of lesser-known Scots on its books.
For many of them, being so close to Scotland has benefits in terms of proximity to their families. Lawson made the move north from London Irish specifically because of that. MacLeod still lives in Hawick, commuting daily from the town where he first played senior rugby almost 15 years ago.
For years, there has been talk of the SRU strengthening its foothold in English rugby, with a more formal tie-up with London Scottish as the most commonly voiced proposal. However, there is a far stronger argument for working more closely with Newcastle, a city whose population probably feels a closer affinity to Edinburgh and Glasgow than it does to London.
Certainly, that was the feeling at Kingston Park last February when Scotland A scored a notable victory over England Saxons. Personally, I don't go along with the notion that Geordies are just Scots with silly accents, but I'd wager that most of them would feel more at home watching Glasgow at Scotstoun than taking in a Harlequins match at the Stoop.
And I'd bet that quite a few aspiring Scottish players would relish the opportunity to spend some time at Kingston Park over the next season as well. So long as Scotland can offer only two professional teams as platforms for the country's most promising players, then every effort should be made to help those who are squeezed out by a lack of opportunities to get experience.
Of course, there are obstacles and hurdles in the path of formal alliances. The largest of them comes from the fact that Newcastle, and other Premiership sides, get a large part of their funding from the Rugby Football Union, whose officials might not be overjoyed at their clubs getting cosy with another governing body. Yet, as Newcastle have always been happy to get what they can out of Scottish rugby, there is surely something to be said for making that relationship a two-way street.