Sir Alex Ferguson picked David Moyes. Like a high priest answerable to no one, he anointed his successor.
He ordered the players and supporters to fall in line behind his chosen one. He tolerated no dissent.
He entertained no disagreement, no debate.
Moyes was his man; his appointment, his decision, his club.
Ferguson was infallible. His word was law. How could Manchester United's minions question the autocrat who built the money-making machine from which they all profited?
Ferguson's success at United was unique, so was his relationship with the board of directors. They were his bosses, but only on paper. He ruled the Red Devils.
So as much as he deserves remarkable credit for United's rise, he must also accept a degree of responsibility for the club's dramatic fall.
Despite two titles in three years, United's perceptible decline arguably dates back to the moment they lifted the Champions League in 2008.
That was the moment to head to Germany and Spain and plug the midfield gaps left by Roy Keane and a slowing Paul Scholes.
The fertile breeding grounds of the Bundesliga and the Catalan academies were the obvious incubators to poach fledgling talents to succeed Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in defence.
Instead, Moyes has been left with a brittle backline filled with a regressing left back, a soft centre and a potpourri of unfulfilled, youthful promise.
Ferguson patched up this weary squad with bandages of bluff and bluster and tied the lot together with generous dollops of fear.