The huge timber entrance gates made Max Lonsdale shudder with apprehension, but not as much as the image waiting to greet him at the other end of the driveway.
Sir Alex Ferguson had advanced a yard or so from his front door and was standing stock still, hands on hips, face expressionless and eyes boring into the visitor edging tentatively towards him.
Clutching a sheet of paper and a DVD from his days with Macclesfield, Lonsdale was about to submit a job application that took Ferguson's breath away.
The 18-year-old offered a handshake and told him: 'I want to play for Manchester United.' For sheer audacity, the United manager had never heard anything like it, but was curious to hear more.