David O'Leary has never called himself "the special one" - at least, not in public - but he had every reason yesterday afternoon to behave as if he was just that.
Aston Villa had defeated Birmingham City 1-0 at St Andrew's and O'Leary, sensing the moment, used the final whistle as a signal to dash towards the directors' box on the other side of the pitch.
Time stood still. Was this an attempt by the Villa manager to incense the Birmingham supporters? Was this an attempt to prove that O'Leary had legs as quick as David Dunn's wit? Was this an attempt to make sure O'Leary's slick brown coat earned its rightful place on the nation's television screens?
None of the aforementioned. This, in fact, was a worthwhile venture in male bonding and one that might just work.
"I had family and members of the board in the directors box," O'Leary said. "There were people there like the chairman [Doug Ellis], who has taken a lot of stick this week and been very ill, Steve Stride [Villa's operations director] and people who have been good to work with. I could see the smiles on their faces and I was pleased for them."
As a public-relations exercise, this was O'Leary at his best - and, perhaps, cheesiest. But, in keeping with nature of his performance, he provided us with an encore.
With jeers echoing in his ears (some Birmingham supporters had clearly misinterpreted the situation), O'Leary sprinted towards David Dunn and put a sympathetic arm around the crestfallen Birmingham winger.
Earlier, during a frantic second half, Dunn and O'Leary exchanged insults near to the dugout after Damien Johnson of Birmingham fouled Steven Davis of Villa. O'Leary was enraged at Johnson's foul, stood up in anger, and aroused the ire of Dunn.
It was impossible to hear what O'Leary and Dunn shouted at each other but one did not need to be a professional lip-reader to appreciate that the comments would not have been appropriate in, say, church or a school assembly.
It was all a prelude to an amusing scene in the press room afterwards. While O'Leary was explaining his side of the story, Dunn popped his head around the door and smiled at what the Villa manager was saying. O'Leary did not know that Dunn was there. Dunn was waiting to be interviewed for television.
"You don't need people getting off the bench like [O'Leary did]," Dunn said. "I only have to go back to the 1990 World Cup when England played West Germany. If the German bench hadn't stood up like that, Paul Gascoigne would not have been booked and would not have been suspended for the World Cup final.
"But there are no hard feelings on my part. We had a go at each other but that is how it is. He [O'Leary] shook hands with me at the end and I was fine. Really, everything is fine."
But everything was not fine. Dunn's expression said everything about the afternoon for Birmingham. And no matter what he says, there is some bad feeling between himself and O'Leary.
During the match between the teams in February 2004, O'Leary was annoyed that Dunn continued to play when a Villa player lay injured on the floor. "I didn't hear the whistle," Dunn said. "So how did I know to stop."
And in the derby previous to that, Dunn fell to the floor after an elaborate attempt to flick the ball towards a team-mate failed. O'Leary laughed, although, to be fair, so did everybody else.
But Dunn is difficult to dislike. He is hyperactive, funny, and talented. If he had played for Birmingham from the start yesterday, instead of just for the final 22 minutes, the result might have been different.
Dunn's performance seemed to define that of Birmingham in the second half. Plenty of possession, plenty of potential, plenty of frustration.
This was Villa's day. They actually played better against Birmingham when the teams drew 2-2 in February 2004 but this time, unlike previous occasions, their defensive attributes matched the occasion.
Birmingham were allowed all of the possession in the second half but never looked likely to score.
Emile Heskey won most of the headers against Olof Mellberg, but not in the areas that mattered. Walter Pandiani endured a wretched first half and was appropriately replaced by Mikael Forssell, who proved to be more dangerous.
Jermaine Pennant played well in patches but not consistently enough to make a difference, while Dunn and Julian Gray should have scored with chances from close range.
Birmingham by-passed the midfield in the second half but Villa, more astute than at any time since August, had the advantage of knowing what would happen.
Liam Ridgewell was particularly impressive, while Gareth Barry played like the England player he used to be. Steven Davis began quietly and grew in confidence, and even Eric Djemba Djemba looked as if he was enjoying himself.
Significantly, the two most inactive players on the pitch were the goalkeepers. Maik Taylor did not have to do much other than pick the ball out of the goal after Kevin Phillips scored in the first half.
Thomas Sorensen made two decent saves and plucked a few crosses from the air, but there was little more that would have forced him to break sweat.
This was O'Leary's day and, typically, he rose to the occasion. He is no Jos> Mourinho - the real " special one" - but he is one of football's true originals.
Not everything he does is edifying (if he was a bar of chocolate, he would eat himself). But he does enough, and says enough, to ensure that he will remain famous for as long as he is controlling the fortunes of great football clubs.
Who else would risk arousing the wrath of Birmingham supporters just to share with Doug Ellis a momentous victory?
And who else would get away with it?