In 1990, even the great Sir Alex Ferguson was under pressure from getting the sack.
The Scot had not won a major trophy since arriving at Manchester United in 1986 and some quarters had reportedly had enough.
His response was to win the FA Cup that year. And the rest is history.
United nevertheless finished a lowly 13th in the first division - but Fergie's first major trophy at Old Trafford had saved his job and laid a winning foundation.
Although the circumstances are not entirely similar, you can see the parallels between Fergie and new boss David Moyes.
The 50-year-old has endured a poor start to the Premier League season by Manchester United's standards, with his side sitting in eighth - 10 points off top spot.
Home defeats to West Brom, Everton and Newcastle have angered fans and raised questions about whether Moyes is a good enough manager to succeed the revered Ferguson.
Yet the former Everton boss has guided United to the last 16 of the Champions League and - even more definitively - the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.
Yesterday's 2-0 win over Stoke booked Moyes' place in the last four, with United drawn against Sunderland for the semis.
Like Fergie's FA Cup of 1990, the competition is a very winnable one. And, by going all the way, Moyes would be sending a poignant message.
No matter where United finish in the league this season - with a top-four finish still very much possible - a major trophy in the Scot's first campaign at Old Trafford would signal a winning intent.
It may only be the Capital One Cup but forging a winning mentality is priceless.
If Moyes can claim the trophy - with a win against Manchester City in the final most probably required - he would be laying a precedent for his Manchester United team.
And the path would be laid for more success in the future.
image: © Jason Gulledge