Jason Scotland owes Owen Coyle his footballing life and admits he would be back home in Trinidad if it was not for the smooth-talking Burnley boss.
Wigan striker Scotland is now living his dream as a Premier League footballer, but he was banned from the country before Coyle persuaded the government to let him stay.
Scotland had just a week to pack his belongings and head home to the West Indian island after his work permit ran out with Dundee United and his passport was harshly stamped 'flop'.
However Coyle, who had been his reserve team boss at United, went out of his way to talk Scotland into joining St Johnstone as one of his first signings in management and, better still, win him the right to come back to these shores.
Scotland said: "It was a nightmare. I was coming back from international duty in Miami and landed at Heathrow but got stopped. They told me my permit had run out and I had to leave the country.
"I got a few days to go to Scotland and get my stuff together, but they had refused me entry to work because they said I 'wasn't making an impact in the Scottish Premier League'.
"So I went back to Trinidad, but Owen managed to persuade the permit panel that I deserved a second chance. It was down a level to the First Division.
"I know he put in the same application as United, but he must have said the right things because they let me back in. In the end they agreed with a 6-0 vote.
"I really appreciate what Owen did for me. There were a few days when things did not look good for me. I thought my chance had gone and I was going back to playing in Trinidad.
"There is a professional league over there, but it's not the same. We all watch Premier League football, but my chance of playing in it would have gone.
"God knows what would have happened to me, I would probably still be playing somewhere over there, but it would have definitely been it for me in the UK.
"Owen saved my career and I have a lot to thank him for. I had played with him when he was coaching at Dundee United and he knew I could score goals. I took a drop down to make me stronger and everything worked out after that.
"I have had my ups and downs in my career but it makes me a better person. Now everything has worked out and this is the highlight of my career, playing with and against the best."
Coyle also helped to chat up Swansea boss Roberto Martinez into taking Scotland in his next move and the striker said: "Owen knew my contract was up and he didn't want to stop me moving. He recommended me to the boss."
Scotland and Coyle could have been playing together again this season when Burnley tried to buy him in the summer, but they backed off when Wigan came in with more cash and bigger wages.
However there are no bad feelings and Scotland is delighted his old manager has done so well in his own right. He said: "I'm not surprised, he treats the boys well and the players all want to play for him.
"I know that from experience and I hear it from the people at Burnley. When players are happy with you then you get the best out of them.
"I was tempted to go there, I wanted to go to the Premier League because I am not getting any younger. I could have been with Owen again but they did not come up with the cash."
Late developer Scotland is now making an impression at Wigan and Turf Moor would be the ideal place for him to get his first top-flight goals.
The 30-year-old scored two there for Swansea in January, the last time Coyle's team failed to notch at home.
He laughed: "I saw Owen after the game and he congratulated me. He is good lad like that, he is a people person. But hopefully I will get off the mark there against him."