Mike Phelan says Burnley and English football fans know all about Aberdeen because of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Dons take on the Clarets in the Europa League second qualifying round with the first leg at Pittodrie next Thursday.
Phelan spent six years with Burnley as a player and helped them win the Third Division in 1982.
He played under legendary boss Fergie at Manchester United and was then part of his coaching team at Old Trafford from 2001 until 2013 with the last five years spent as assistant manager.
Phelan, who has recently joined Australian side Central Coast Mariners as a sporting director, has been speaking to the Evening Express ahead of the Battle of Britain tie.
The 55-year-old says everyone down south knows about the Dons because of the achievements of his former boss Ferguson in the Granite City.
Between 1978 and 1986 he helped the Reds to three Premier Division titles, four Scottish Cups, one League Cup, the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the European Super Cup.
Phelan says those glory days mean Aberdeen are talked about in the same bracket as Celtic and Rangers by people in England.
He said: “Football people do know a lot about Aberdeen.
“Every person associated with a club as a fan or a coach or whatever will look at the history of another club when they come across them.
“There’s people who know more about the game than I do who will know about Aberdeen.
“But everyone knows about Aberdeen’s history and who’s been involved there and it’s only when these draws happen that it brings it all back.
“Something like the Anglo-Scottish Cup was a big deal in my youth.
“Those were big games where British teams played one another and the Scottish clubs would bring massive amounts of fans down to the English teams.
“People will remember that now because of this draw.”
He added: “People talk about Celtic and Rangers but Aberdeen are in there as well because they broke the mold.
“In the days of Sir Alex Ferguson and Archie Knox they broke the mold in Scotland and in Europe, they challenged the big boys.
“In a way their history is similar to Burnley in that they’ve both had great moments and then had periods in the doldrums as well.
“But now they have fought back and are challenging again, and that makes it a romantic tie.
“I do think they are in the same bracket as Celtic and Rangers. I say this because they are a unique club because of what they have achieved and two because of where they are.
“They are isolated compared with Edinburgh and Glasgow.
“In the numerous occasions I’ve been to Aberdeen it’s always been a lively place and lively atmosphere and cold as hell.
“When the wind blows there it really blows, you don’t forget it when you’ve been to Aberdeen.”
Phelan looks at Ferguson’s time at Aberdeen and sees the blueprint for what he achieved at Manchester United.
At Pittodrie he shook up the order of Scottish football and when he moved to Old Trafford in 1986 Ferguson did the same, eventually displacing Liverpool as the dominant force in English football.
Phelan added: “Over the years with Sir Alex his regard for Aberdeen is second to none, he holds them in great esteem.
“He was always in contact with Scottish football and Aberdeen.
“And he brought what he did at Aberdeen to Manchester United, he went in and changed everything because he knew it worked.
“He even admitted himself it took time to adjust in England but he went on to do great things because he was backed and he was strong.
“He’s a strong-willed person who went for it – but he used his experience at Aberdeen to create something at Manchester United and then took it to the next level.”
Burnley have far more resources at their disposal than the Dons as a result of being in the money-rich English Premier League.
Last season, the Clarets received almost £120 million in television payments for coming seventh compared with the Reds getting just £2.3m for finishing second in the Scottish Premiership.
Despite this, Phelan believes the tie will be close and says the Clarets won’t underestimate Aberdeen.
He said: “I think it is a very even tie, you don’t know how Burnley will approach it.
“It’s taken them a long while to get to this stage but is it massively important to them?
“I’m not down-playing it but for Burnley I would imagine the league will be their first aim.
“But the supporters will want to be in it as long as possible so it will be interesting.
“But I think it will be an open game and as good as any European game at this stage.
“The spice is the North v South, Scotland v England that brings with it all the extra tension.
“I think it will be a close run thing.
“Burnley don’t underestimate anybody, they’ve shown that in Premier League.
“They can’t afford to underestimate everybody and they treat everybody with respect.
“The supporters are the same and appreciate other football clubs and don’t underestimate teams.
“They expect a certain standard, especially at home games, but the same is expected at most clubs.
“Burnley will be complimentary about Aberdeen and won’t underestimate them, that’s for sure.”