In December 2011, Daniel Levy, the Tottenham Hotspur chairman, rewarded staff with a Christmas meal. Champions League quarter-finalists the previous season and within touching distance at the turn of the year of a Premier League title tilt, the north Londoners had much to celebrate.
Towards the twilight of the evening, Levy made an uncharacteristically emotional speech where he lavished praise on then manager Harry Redknapp.
Known for allowing his slick business exterior and professionalism to do the talking, Levy's public acclaim for Redknapp was unexpected yet showed there laid underneath a genuine admiration beyond boardroom politics.
Assistants Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan made a point of highlighting the significance of the chairman's words to Redknapp, who was left hugely embarrassed.
Redknapp was sacked six months later after guiding the club to fourth in the Premier League. Levy might not have loaded the gun, but he fired when ordered; his ability to dismiss compassion unwavering.
And the 51 year old will require similar anti-empathic powers for the remainder of the summer transfer window, as he attempts to keep Gareth Bale from the cash-emblazoned clutches of Real Madrid.
Latest reports suggest Levy is both refusing to meet with Bale regarding a move to the Spanish capital or consider bids upwards of €95m. With over four weeks of the window remaining, his defiant stance will take some shifting.
Bale's appetite to play abroad is undeniably insatiable. The Wales international has been vociferous is his desire to leave British shores despite declaring his immediate future lies at White Hart Lane.
Having won the PFA Players' Player of the Year award twice and played in Spurs' first ever Champions League campaign, the 24 year old has little more to achieve in English football. Like David Beckham and Michael Owen before him, all roads lead to Madrid.
Meanwhile, Levy is faced with world football's leading conglomerate. Despite being ranked the most valuable sports team in the planet by Forbes, Madrid carry far more than just fiscal value into a war for the services of Bale. In Florentino Perez they possess a president who finds the game's conformities unfathomable. Levy is in some ways, his equal.
Madrid's pursuit of Bale is a metaphor for the city's number one sporting attraction of bullfighting. Premeditated, intimidating, foolhardy and clinical, Madrid's approach in windows gone by may have represented a bull in a china shop but they rarely miss. Perez climbed the biggest of hurdles to secure Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo and Beckham and nothing suggests he will relent.
If Perez returns to Real without a marque signing this summer - given Barcelona success recruiting of Neymar - it would mirror the unmitigating disaster of a King Pengiun reuniting with her new born without the necessary food following a harsh winter. Madrid expects.
Levy's refusal to enter into discussions with his own player suggests he is trying to ride out the storm this summer, and with the protection of the three years remaining on Bale's contract he has suitable foundations on which to build his suborn stance.
If Beckham and Owen treaded water at the Bernabeu, then Bale will surely flourish. The benefit for his country Wales will be long-lasting, the reputation of, and trust in, British coaches will be enhanced while the United Kingdom is due a high-profile success story overseas.
They may all be factors that are of no concern to Levy, but should official bids continue to break the world transfer record, at what point will the Spurs henchman's resolve be broken? The club's new 56,000 all-seater stadium will need £400m to fund and keep the club afloat and Tottenham need only look at Arsenal for an example of the sacrifices required in order to subsidise a new ground.
Whether Levy's working brief is to operate under the assumption all assets can be retained or to squeeze the maximum value from them is uncertain but Tottenham can be assured of some vast offers for Bale as the window progresses, ones that will test their true monetary grounding.
Should their ambitions extend to keeping the Welshman regardless of the price, then in Levy, who was stubborn in keeping Luka Modric from Chelsea two years ago, Tottenham have the scrooge of the transfer window and an asset greater than that of Bale himself.