It was a cold, frosty February morning on the Wirral when Chester FC first spotted the player who has made a fairytale move to the former Premier League champions.
Sam Hughes was not completely unknown. The then teenager had been building up a reputation locally with his performances for his grasroots side, West Kirby Wasps, and for Wirral Schoolboys.
But when Bernard Concannon made that fateful trip he could not have predicated that, within the space of five short years, Hughes would be signing for Leicester City.
However, it soon became clear to Concannon, Chester's former head of youth development, and the club's army of volunteer academy coaches, that they had a special talent on their hands.
"I had tried to watch Sam playing locally previously but the games were called off as it was January, February time," said Concannon. "But eventually, and thankfully, persevering proved worthwhile on what was a cold, frosty morning late in February.
"He was playing in one of the Wirral leagues and he just stood out. I spoke to the age group manager, who would have been Tom Owen at the time, who is Gary's lad from Queensferry Sports, and he mentioned that Gary knew Sam's dad because he came into the shop. So we said, 'let's have a word, because we need to get Sam into Chester'.
"Sam was 15 but he was a man, so to speak. He was playing midfield at the time but you could always see his more defensive qualities and that one day he would end up in the back four. His heading was a massive attribute and he had a very good recovery rate as well for the few balls he did not win.
"But the main thing was his winning mentality. If there's a 50-50 ball, Sam Hughes is going to win it. The rest you can develop, but you can't develop that mentality."
And develop the defender most certainly has.
After the Blues beat off other clubs within the area for his signature, Hughes swiftly progressed through the ranks to the under-18s team.
Despite being one of the youngest players, and despite suffering a bad injury, he made his mark, starring in a North West Youth Alliance Premier Division Cup final and captaining the side on numerous occasions before making the breakthrough into Chester's first team in the 2015-16 season.
Calum McIntyre, the club's academy head coach and youth team manager, has helped oversee Hughes' remarkable rise.
“Everyone at the academy is ecstatic for Sam Hughes," said McIntyre. "We have been able to watch this terrific young footballer and even better young person develop and give himself the opportunity to pursue his childhood dream.
"He has a mindset where nothing but the best is good enough for him and he won't accept anything less than his highest standards. His drive and determination are phenomenal and that has been a consistent attribute throughout his time at the club. He epitomises hard work and it is that hard work that has given him this opportunity.
"Sam always recognised his weaknesses and it is to his credit that he has targeted every area of his game that he was unhappy with to bring him to a level where he can now go as far as he wants. His attitude is first class, his determination to succeed, matched with some fantastic human qualities, make him a very special individual.
"He is an outstanding role model and an incredible example to any young footballer that wants to chase their dream. His behaviour toward staff and younger players at the club highlights the class of the lad and it is no doubt that he has kicked on to the next level.
"On a personal level, I have been fortunate to have worked closely with Sam and get to know the young man behind the footballer. I received a text message from Sam the night before his trial period began in the summer of 2015 that will stay between me and him but will stick with me for a very long time. He is the sort of lad who wants to say nice things about everyone else, but hopefully this is the opportunity for people to say a few about him."
West Kirby-born Hughes made his senior debut in a 2-0 defeat at his hometown club Tranmere Rovers in September 2015. It proved to be the first of 64 appearances for the Blues and toward the end of last season he became the youngest captain in the reformed club's history.
Next season the 20-year-old will be training alongside the likes of Kasper Schmeichel, Danny Drinkwater and Jamie Vardy, the England striker who rose through the non-league ranks to fire Leicester to their famous Premier League title success.
The Champions League quarter-finalists saw off competition from fellow top-flight outfits and clubs in the Football League to sign Hughes.
And Concannon, a long-serving Manchester United scout, said: "Making the Chester youth team was his first milestone, making the first team was his second, and getting the captaincy was a massive bonus for his confidence.
"But now the hard work really starts for him. He's got a massive career ahead of him and he's got to take that chance. I always have a saying in recruitment, 'we can only give them a chance, it's up to them to take it', and Sam certainly has up until this point, and all credit to him."
Concannon and former director Mark Howell helped start the academy from scratch after Chester FC emerged from the ashes of Chester City.
It now boasts nine age group teams, from U9s through to U18s, and from next season, will launch a youth team scholarship.
The academy is run by volunteers and Concannon and McIntyre believe Hughes' progression to the club that stunned the football world by winning the Premier League last year is reward for the unpaid work they have done and continue to do.
"It proves just how worthwhile the academy is," said Concannon, who remains a close confidant of McIntyre and continues to help the Blues with their youth recruitment. "The goal was always to produce a player for the first team who could progress further up the league, and who the club would get remunerated accordingly for, to help them develop as a club, and help them get back in the Football League.
"Along with helping the local community, by providing a good level of football for the age groups, the club has done that.
"It's not been easy, even funded clubs at this level to struggle to do it, so to do it with limited resources, hats off to everyone involved."
McIntyre, who was enabled to go full-time with the club with backing from academy sponsors Swettenham Chemists, added: "As an academy, we are hugely proud that one of our graduates has progressed in this manner.
"People don’t realise the work that goes into developing players for this level of football and beyond. We are a club that cannot boast our own facilities, work with limited resources but are determined to be the best at what we do well.
"I wish to congratulate all those involved in Sam's development at both academy and first-team level, notably the volunteers within the academy who achieved what we set out to do all those years ago.
"However, the biggest congratulations of all go to Sam and his wonderful family who have supported him throughout his journey."