ALEX Ferguson was back out on the training pitch this morning as the countdown continued to David Moyes' appointment as his successor as Manchester United boss.
With a crowd of TV crews and photographers waiting, Ferguson took a different route to work before turning his attentions to Sunday's Barclays Premier League encounter with Swansea.
It must be an odd experience, even for someone as single-minded as the Scot, for his 1499th game as United boss will also be his last at the ground he has watched the development of into one of the finest in the world since his arrival in 1986, when the Stretford End was still mostly terrace and all four sides of the stadium had some form of standing.
Ferguson has already decided he will not speak publicly ahead of the game, preferring instead to address supporters ahead of the trophy presentation after the final whistle.
Yet the build-up to such a significant occasion is being overshadowed by the imminent appointment of Moyes.
The Everton boss had talks with his chairman Bill Kenwright in London last night, at which he is believed to have confirmed his intention to leave when his contract expires in the summer to move into the United hotseat.
Moyes was due to address his players this morning, with the likelihood of a formal statement being issued by United later today.
Some have viewed the task Moyes faces as impossible given Ferguson's achievements.
News that Wayne Rooney has asked to leave underlines just how all-consuming the United job is, especially as Moyes must decide whether to try and talk the 27-year-old round or opt to sell England's biggest star for a second time.
But far from being too difficult to contemplate, United chief executive David Gill believes the job represents an opportunity of a lifetime.
"It is a dream job," he told MUTV.
"We knew this day would come. We have been preparing for it.
"The new manager will inherit a great squad and infrastructure off the pitch, with a great staff.
"He will be walking into a difficult situation in terms of the number of trophies, but the positive of also having the support of the Manchester United family."