When the cameras rolled the years dropped from the old man's face. No matter that they weren't there to see him; he'd been through this routine before, and knew all the tricks - the hilarious interjection, the humble shrug, the show-stopping "I was there" reminder.
It was a bit more high-tech now, and beamed immediately around the world rather than just savoured by the local press, but in Doug Ellis' sparkling eyes it might have been 1968, and it might have been Tommy Docherty sat to his left being introduced as the new manager of Aston Villa.
The Villa chairman insisted on telling an impatient roomful of reporters, all wondering whether they'd get back in time for a pint and a Chinese before Friday closing, that the reception for Martin O'Neill from the supporters was just like that which greeted his first new appointment Docherty nearly four decades before.
That O'Neill had played in two European Cup finals, and did we know that he, Ellis, was present at one of them; and did we know that they were all heading off on the pre-season tour, but he wouldn't be staying for the whole thing, for there was much signing of cheques and polishing of brasses to be done back at Villa Towers.
O'Neill humoured him like a man who turned up at a wedding of a distant relative and found himself sat next to the slightly batty old uncle.
Martin O'Neill is no fool
For an unkind moment you found yourself thinking what the new manager might be thinking. "Maybe David had a point - and Graham, and John, and Brian." "No wonder Randy went home." Let us be clear - Martin O'Neill is no fool. He surely won't have taken the job at Aston Villa without a great deal of forethought.
If we are to believe the media reports that he is indeed one of the most sought-after managers of recent times, and his record at Wycombe, Leicester and Celtic is worthy of
that status, there must have been a good reason why he chose Villa Park to leap back onto the merry-go-round. He is no longer a young manager, after all; at 54, he may well be into the second half of his managerial career.
He is an impressive character and brings fresh hope to the downtrodden supporters - witness the jubilant scenes on Friday night at his arrival. He shook hands and spoke respectfully; during our brief interview he looked me in the eye when he was answering my questions, something his predecessor couldn't always bring himself to do.
He was charming, but not smarmy; rather his first impressions confirmed what you feel when you see him on television, a quietly confident but humble man who enjoys a challenge. That may prove his greatest weapon in the early stages.
The task in hand
O'Neill's task is to bring together an increasingly disillusioned group of players and convince them both of their worth and that of the club; if he can do that, he will maintain the enthusiasm among the supporters manifest on Friday. He will need to show patience with his superiors, whomever they may be.
It is reported that he has already met with Randy Lerner, the American who sought to invest in Villa but turned tail at the first sign of Ellis' intransigence; learned sources insist that Lerner remains favourite to dislodge Doug and take over the club, perhaps bringing fresh investment and the new players the club so obviously needs with him.
Who knows if Lerner will win the race to take over Villa, which so often seems synonymous with the race to save Villa's Premiership status, or at least their credibility as a so-called "big club". I am informed by those who know better that this time Doug's time really is up, that this time he really will sell, that the Ellis era is indeed in twilight.
The Ellis era
Your correspondent, alas, can't quite bring himself to believe it - for better or worse - at least, not until the cheque is banked, the chauffeur has started the engine and a man with a screwdriver is rearranging the letters on Witton Lane to read the Randy Lerner Stand, or the Michael Neville Stand, or perhaps the Nicholas Padfield Stand (will he insist on including the QC?).
Losing focus slightly as his interlocutor persisted, and the happy fans sang of Martin-O-Nee-Uls-Barmy-Army, the old man, for the moment still monarch of all he surveyed, couldn't quite let go:
"They're very appreciative, by and large. Perhaps not only for bringing in Martin, but looking at this stadium, it takes some beating. I've got eight thousand more seats to put on. I've got planning consent for another eight thousand!
"I've got a hotel to build, I've got planning for that! So there's a lot of things we can do. But we can't talk about takeovers, you know that."
And with that, a photographer arrived and led Aston Villa's past away for a picture; and who are we to say that Villa's future wasn't in the frame as well?