Darren Way is aiming to topple Manchester United — with a little help from Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Yeovil manager has some famous football friends in high places, and none is bigger than former Old Trafford boss Fergie.
They first met through a mutual friend, and knowing ex-United striker and old England Under-16 team-mate Michael Owen also handed Way a route to Ferguson.
Their relationship was strengthened when the Scot agreed to send a United side to Huish Park for Way’s 2010 testimonial following the horror car crash in 2008 that almost killed him and eventually ended his playing career.
Way, 38, now has one of football’s greatest-ever managers on speed dial and some of his wisest words have come in handy in the build-up to Friday’s FA Cup tie pitting a club fourth-bottom of League Two against one sitting second in the Premier League.
“Manchester United have been very supportive to me throughout my career, certainly at my lowest point," said Way.
“A big thanks goes to Sir Alex. He is a legend and United just ooze class.
“They certainly showed class to me and without them, perhaps I wouldn’t be sat here now because they made my life a lot easier for me and my family.
“Sir Alex could obviously understand my story. When I asked him, ‘Would you do this for me?’ and send a team to Yeovil he said ‘Yes’ just two weeks later. I wasn’t expecting that so quickly.
“I speak to him whenever I get a problem. ‘Don’t look for trouble, trouble will come to your door.’ That is the best advice he has given me and every day that comes into play. ‘Find a solution,’ he says. ‘And avoid all distractions.’"
Way, in charge of the lowest ranked side left in the competition, has that last slogan written on a board in his office at Huish Park.
And it has been key to his preparations for United’s fourth-round visit.
Way had already brushed aside the fuss surrounding ex-United trainee Otis Khan’s dismissal after shoving the referee last week against Chesterfield that will deny him a reunion with his old club — even before his appeal was rejected and his ban was extended to five games.
He also took his players out of the Yeovil bubble and to Bristol this week so they could “avoid all distractions” and prepare in peace while Cup fever gripped the town.
It is an indication of how highly Way is thought of in the game that Fergie, who spoke to Yeovil’s players over Skype on the day of the fourth-round draw, is just one of the big names he can call on.
Former England captain John Terry did the same last month, and Way counts former Swansea team-mate and now Belgium boss Roberto Martinez as a mentor and is also on good terms with Bournemouth counterpart Eddie Howe.
Way added: “I feel lucky, but I don’t think Sir Alex would entertain me if he didn’t
think I had a future. He can obviously see something.”
He has proved that since becoming Yeovil boss in 2015, keeping the club in the Football League on one of the fourth-tier’s smallest budgets.
And the Glovers chief displayed that “something” by masterminding a win over League One Bradford to earn this United tie, just days after he had only 11 fit players.
Way said: “Drawing Man United, with the history I have with them, and being manager here showed me how far I have come, against all the odds.
“But I will only enjoy it if we get a result.”