He absolutely had to do it. David Moyes had to have a spin in Sir Alex Ferguson's old swivel chair when finally finding himself alone in the manager's huge corner office at Carrington. Moyes wanted to do it with nobody in the room, getting a feel of this seat of power. So he sat there, settled in and looked around, surveying Ferguson's former lair. Moyes savoured the moment.
He had arrived but the hard work was soon to start, outside on the training pitch with players needing to be reassured that United's success story would continue under new management. There have been so many issues to address, from entering the fraught transfer jungle, to meeting staff, glad-handing sponsors, a demanding pre-season tour, a Community Shield date to negotiate and smiling time after time for the cameras.
Moyes was on public parade again this week, chatting away at a Premier League event in London, chiding English acquaintances about conceding two goals to Scotland, and conversing with his usual sense and eloquence about the challenge of inheriting the United hot-seat from Ferguson.
But Moyes's eyes revealed the desire to be back at Carrington, suit off, tracksuit on, back in that chair, dictating operations, preparing to meet those expectations, beginning today against Swansea City. The chair signifies so much for Moyes. "Sitting in the chair for the first time felt odd," admitted Moyes.
"I did it myself with nobody looking. I thought I'd have to see how it feels in case anybody thought I looked stupid." It felt incredibly poignant for Moyes. Like so many managers, he had long been in Ferguson's shadow. Now he was in his seat. For 11 years as Everton manager, he had pitted his tactical wits against Ferguson. Before that, during his time at Preston North End, he had borrowed players such as David Beckham off the United manager. Ferguson loomed large in Moyes's career and still does. "Look, Sir Alex is still here [on the board] and I want him to be around,'' said Moyes.
"I've probably had half a dozen conversations with him already. I went to see him at home the other day. He was great. "He's recovering from his hip operation. I will use him for advice. He'll be a great mentor for me. This club has ways and means of attracting the top players to the club and if we needed to use Sir Alex he'd be more than happy to help. "Within the first 10 minutes of him telling me I was getting the job [in May] we'd already had discussions about the team, what would have to be done and what was expected, like sponsors, media, all the things that come from a big club. There were no airs and graces. He didn't feather it. He told me straight and he told me what it was going to be like. He would expect me to get on and do the job myself.''
History provides a warning in the struggles of those such as Wilf McGuinness who succeeded Sir Matt Busby. "I've not spoken to Wilf but the point you make is a good one," said Moyes. "I'll not be better than him [Ferguson]. It will not get better than Sir Alex Ferguson. It just won't. What has to happen is the club has to keep moving forward. I do think that I am ready for the job. I worked hard at Preston. I worked hard at Everton.
"I've worked for a long time to get myself in a position where maybe I'd be fortunate enough to land one of the big jobs. In my mind I've landed the biggest job. Yes, I'm a rookie at Manchester United but I am not a rookie overall. I hope I'm able to show that as the seasons progress. I'm going to work hard to maintain Manchester United at the top of the league." Naturally polite, Moyes emitted a slight air of resentment at being treated as some managerial ingenu wandering off the street into Old Trafford.
"Sometimes it's forgotten I've managed in the Premier League for 11 years, so I'm relatively experienced. My job is to win but my job at Everton was to win. With 15 minutes to go at Everton I was trying to win." The obvious difference is that at United he has to win in style; a worldwide following demands it, the club's history demands it, the Ferguson statue provides a bronze reminder of the need for silverware.
"That's why there is a government health warning that comes with this job! There is an expectancy and that is to try and win. "I found that on tour when you realise just how enormous this club is. But anybody who plays us will also realise it's a really big game for them and their supporters. I was always aware of that but I am ever more aware of it now that I've taken and started the job. "It's a club that's always had to make progress and to change and that will happen with me over the next couple of years or 18 months. The previous manager left things in place that are really important and the most important and impressive is the winning mentality.
They've won the league and now it's: 'Let's win the next one.' You feel it. The players' edge and spirit of competitiveness has really made me stand up and see the difference. "It might take me 18 months to two years to get things changed around. At a club like Manchester United, I'll get the opportunity to do that. There might be other clubs where you wouldn't.
"Did I really feel under great pressure at Wembley [in the Community Shield]? No, not really. I've really good owners [the Glazers] who don't panic. It might not be like that at other clubs. But it would not have affected our owners whether we'd won, lost or drawn because we have stability at the club. They've been fantastic in their calmness, openness and support. What they want to do with the club is incredible. It really is."
Moyes, 50, has also been reminded of the club's traditions by some of the club's greats. "One of the big things was to win that trophy [at Wembley] and to get it with Denis Law there was brilliant. Denis, coming from Scotland, is just a little bit ahead of what I would be remembering [growing up] but he was one of the main people.
"Bobby Charlton came to see me and I was nearly more nervous seeing him than I was anybody. They've been brilliant people, great ambassadors for Manchester United." These distinguished links to the past have talked to Moyes about the culture of United and what is expected. "Things are done correctly,'' said Moyes, expanding on the club culture voiced by Charlton and Law.
"They want to do things with honour. There is a real 'template' in place about how you conduct yourself, how the players conduct themselves, what is expected of Manchester United player or manager. "I've been made aware of it. Not in any great rulebook but over a conversation about the things that have happened at the club." Moyes understands the expectations. Ferguson's old chair provides a daily reminder of that.