Lawrie Sanchez didn't exactly endear himself to the Green and White Army at the start of his reign. But it wasn't his Equadorian looks, nor his rather vague Norn Iron roots, which prompted the temporary xenophobia just over three years ago.
No, it was Sanchez's assertion, shortly after he took over as Northern Ireland boss, that he regarded the job as "a stepping stone" to managing a big club.
What cheek, eh? And what previous Northern Ireland manager would ever have suggested that there were bigger or better jobs out there?
Well, none actually. But then, most of the previous incumbents had regarded the privilege of leading our boys as their last major job in football management, not one of their first.
And Sanchez, who was out of work at the time, needed something to kick-start his managerial career, which had stalled after a topsy-turvy stint at Wycome Wanderers.
His Northern Ireland 'connections' were extremely vague; he had qualified to play for 'his country' through ancient ancestors and only wore the shirt on three occasions.
But although his businesslike attitude to the manager's job may not have initially endeared him to the Windsor Park faithful, it certainly impressed the Irish FA enough to give him a chance.
And Sanchez knew that the only way the job would ultimately become a " stepping stone" to greater things was for him to make a considerable success of it.
With Northern Ireland now topping their Euro 2008 qualifying group and in with a more than decent chance of making it to a major tournament for the first time in over two decades, he has certainly done that.
And, statistically at least, he is the second most successful Northern Ireland manager behind the legendary Billy Bingham - ironically, the man who first picked, and then discarded, Sanchez as an international player.
But it's not the statistics the GAWA fondly bring to mind when considering Sanchez's achievements; it's the return of the glory nights at Windsor, most notably those never-to-be-forgotten, David Healy-powered victories over England, Spain and, most recently, Sweden.
Three of the world's top 10 football countries, all humbled by a Northern Ireland team that, under Sanchez, regained its pride following a pitiful run of embarrassing results under precedessor Sammy McIlroy.
And now it looks as if Sanchez himself will soon be a predecessor to a new Northern Ireland manager.
It's more a question of when than if.
There is little doubt that, should Sanchez keep Fulham on the Premiership gravy train, he will be offered the sort of contract that makes his current Northern Ireland salary look like spare change.
The IFA will fight to keep him, of course, but it simply could not compete financially with a Premiership club bankrolled by multi-millionaire Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed.
And when Lawrie does go to the "bigger and better things" that he has always dreamed of, it will be with the blessings of the overwhelming majority of fans.
Yes, they'll be gutted to see him leave after what he achieved in such a short space of time with Northern Ireland.
But they'll also fully appreciate that the amazing things he did for our wee country were what made a major Premiership club sit up and take notice in the first place.