Febian Brandy was chilling out at home when his phone flashed up with a private number.
The footballer ordinarily would have ignored it but something compelled him to answer and it's probably just as well he did.
'Brandy,' said a Glaswegian voice on the other end of the line.
'Hello?' Replied the twenty-something striker, a little baffled.
'Brandy,' said the oddly familiar voice once again. It was then the penny dropped. Sir Alex.
'You alright boss?'
'What are you doing?' Said the Manchester United manager.
'I'm just at home,' replied Brandy, perhaps fearing Ferguson and his infamous network of informers had caught him doing something wrong.
'But he meant what are you doing in football,' recalls Brandy, chuckling at the memory as we sit in a central London hotel. 'I said I'm trying to get myself fit and find a club.
'He said that if I needed a reference for any club just to phone him and ask. Probably the best reference you can ever have! When I hung up, I was buzzing.'
It had been 12 months since Brandy, then 22, had made the difficult decision to leave United after 14 happy years in their academy and the call out the blue was a measure of such a legendary manager.
But Brandy was exceedingly fortunate to have Fergie in his corner. The vast, vast majority of aspiring footballers quickly fall out of love with the game when it becomes apparent their dreams of stardom aren't going to come true.
That's why Brandy is currently immersed in the development of Skouted
, the world's first mobile app that allows footballers of all levels - from Premier League academies to Sunday League - to showcase their talents to the networks of scouts employed by clubs to unearth the next gem.
That was not Brandy's first encounter with Ferguson. At the age of 14, he won Player of the Tournament at a competition in Barcelona and the next thing he knew, an official from Barca's famous La Masia academy was ringing his mum and dad asking if he fancied a move to Spain.
Inevitably, Fergie found out about it. 'He called me into his office and asked me, "Have you heard?" Brandy recalls. 'I knew what he was talking about but said, "Heard what?"
'He went: "Barcelona have enquired about you. How do you feel about it?"
No pressure, kid. Luckily this was 2003 and United were winning regular silverware. 'I just said, "I am a Manchester lad, a local lad, and I'd be basically be stupid to leave."
'He tapped me on the head, said "good lad" and walked off.'
Brandy's buzz within United's academy continued for another few years. In 2009, after scoring regularly in the reserves, he was the next cab on the rank during a striker injury crisis only to be sent out on loan to Hereford United.
In his absence, Ferguson promoted Federico Macheda into the first-team and the Italian scored that famous goal against Aston Villa - almost exactly a decade ago - to help United to another Premier League title.
In the end, Brandy didn't make a first-team appearance for United but he did have a front row seat in one of the most successful periods in their history before leaving in 2010.
He observed Cristiano Ronaldo at close quarters in training, marvelling at the time and effort the Portuguese, then only a teenager, would put in to perfect his game.
'We were going out on the pitch about half nine thinking we were early and he had been out there since 8am,' says Brandy. ' How he is now, it isn't something that happened overnight, he developed himself into an absolute beast.'
Then there was a certain Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. When the Norwegian striker was in the injury-plagued final act of his career, he would sometimes play alongside Brandy for the reserve team before becoming his coach.
'You could see he was always looking at the defenders, seeing where they are. The ball could be over there but he's not looking at the ball, but at the defenders. He knows where the ball will go, he was just clever.
FEBIAN BRANDY CV
(loans at Swansea City 2008-2009, Hereford United 2009 and Gillingham 2009-2010)
(loan at Walsall 2014)
(loan at Crewe Alexandra 2014-2015)
Ubon UMT United
'Usually when I got into the box I would try and dribble and find a better angle. Ole took me aside and said "sometimes you need to just control it and shoot". In certain players he could see assets that a player couldn't see in themselves.
'The situation United were in, they couldn't have got anyone better. He has got this ability about him to make a player feel like they're on top of the world.
'Even if they had a bad game last week, he will probably pull them aside, have a little joke and they'll be one of the best on the pitch the next week. Not just the first team, any age groups.'
After realising he wasn't going to get above Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Danny Welbeck in United's front line pecking order, Brandy was poised to move to Championship club Sheffield United.
In the final minute of his final match for United's reserve team, against Wigan, Brandy twisted his foot and felt his metatarsal snap. Agonisingly he had been asked if he wanted to come off moments earlier.
'I had an operation on my metatarsal. They took some bone from my hip and put it in the crack but it wasn't compatible, so it broke again,' he recalls. Another frustrating delay to his career.
He eventually moved to Notts County but played just a handful of games before taking the road less travelled to Panetolikos in Greece.
Unfortunately this was 2012, the height of Greece's financial crisis and the club's promises of a house, car and decent weekly wages were in reality a friend's sofa and a paltry allowance.
To make matters worse, Panetolikos took five months to sort out Brandy's international clearance so he could return to the English game.
Eventually, he signed for Walsall in 2012 and would finally get his move to Sheffield United a year later. Spells with Rotherham United, Crewe Alexandra, Rochdale and Thai club Ubon UMT United are also on the Brandy CV.
Now aged 30, he is taking a step back from playing and has joined forces with Loughborough University student and rugby player Keita Orelaja, entrepreneur Raj Sharma and computer scientist Harjot Singh to create Skouted.
Due to launch as a mobile app next month, Skouted invites footballers who may have dropped out of academies, or are seeking to get into one, or even those who just play Sunday League, to create a profile with a basic information such as age, position and attributes.
They can then upload video footage of themselves in action and are suddenly out there for potentially thousands of scouts from clubs at all levels to watch and assess them through their mobile phone.
The scouts can use filters to pinpoint exactly the player they are searching for - for example, a box-to-box midfielder or towering centre-half.
Skouted has already received endorsements from Rio Ferdinand, Jay Rodriguez, Danny Simpson and other pros and that's before it's even launched.
Orelaja explains: 'There are so many talented players out there but not enough time in the day, not enough scouts, not enough money to see everyone. And in the industry that is quite accepted, the way it is.
'Skouted is there to bridge that gap. Scouts can quickly scroll through, assess players and view highlights and save the players that interest them.
'It brings players who might otherwise have gone under the radar to the forefront of clubs at all levels.
'A scout on their way to a game can now look at 50-60 players that he might not otherwise have seen.
Check out @Skouted_UK
for any footballers from grassroots and above. Great way of showcasing your skills and ability ???? Good luck on your journey @FebianBrandy
— Jay Rodriguez (@JayRodriguez9) February 1, 2019
'I think the football industry will try and cage you in and keep coming up with excuses as to why. You hear it's too late or you haven't played at a high enough level.
'We are trying to say, come as you are, show us your talents, show the clubs and scouts your talent, and let your talent define you.'
The Skouted team hope to expand the service to other sports in the future but for now, additional features will make it the go-to app for all things football.
Brandy adds: 'You can upload your videos, share, like, follow, comment. You can find players for your five-a-side team, send out alerts in your local vicinity in case you get last minute drop-outs. You can also book pitches and referees.
'And it's your chance to get scouted from grassroots level upwards, so Skouted has something for everyone as long as it's football-related.'
And even Fergie would be impressed by that.
Find out more about Skouted by visiting their website.