The air-raid sirens haunted the night sky. It was March 11 1941 and the Luftwaffe was on the attack. There was fear, panic, death and ruin.
The northern English town of Manchester was under siege; Old Trafford was under siege.
With each bomb that fell upon the old stadium -- home to one of the world's most iconic clubs Manchester Untied -- a piece of James Gibson's heart was shattered.
The man who had built United up from financial ruin was left facing the destruction of a decade of hard work.
The grandstand was obliterated, the stadium left for ruin like an ancient battleground. This was not the Theatre of Dreams, but the Theatre of Shattered Dreams.
Mention United and talk inevitably turns to the club's £1.4 billion value, the longevity of its remarkable manager Sir Alex Ferguson, players like Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie, or their American owners -- the Glazers.
But if it had not been for Gibson, it is unlikely there would be the United we know today.
There would be no 19 league titles or three European Cups. The likes of George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton would never have pulled on the red and white.
The 'Busby Babes' would have never existed.
The youth set-up, which produced such gems as Duncan Edwards, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, would never have come to fruition.
The rivalry between United and Sunday's opponent Liverpool would never have been fashioned.
'The Gibson Guarantee'
Even by the times the Lutfwaffe flew over Manchester, Gibson had already resuscitated an ailing giant.
It was on December 19th 1931 that Gibson took on a club crippled by debt and financial neglect after the the Wall Street Crash and the death of a benefactor had left United on the brink of collapse.
On that fateful day, Walter Crickmer, the club secretary, went cap in hand to Gibson, a man who had made his money supplying uniforms for tram workers.
An avid football fan, Gibson handed over $165,000 in today's money, allowing the club to appease its debtors, pay staff and players and provide a large Christmas Turkey for families of employees.
It was to go down in history as 'the Gibson Guarantee'.
"My great-uncle was such a kind, generous and lovely man," said Alan Embling, who has organized an exhibition in Gibson's honor in Manchester.
"He was the kind of man who would have given somebody the shirt off his own back if they had really needed it.
"He would do anything to help anybody and it's a real honor for me to have been related to such a man.
"Unfortunately, a lot of the history books about United have glossed over what he did, which is a real shame."
What Gibson did -- As chairman and president of the club -- was invest heavily in the club, wiping away huge debts and appoint the club's first Scottish manager -- Scott Duncan.
Together, they ensured United survived relegation to English football's third tier in 1934, allowing them to tackle debts which would be valued at an estimated $1.4 million today.
"My great uncle knew that the only way to solve the money crisis was to get more people into games," added Embling.