Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Manchester United: One era ends, another begins as Sir Alex Ferguson bids goodbye

Sir Alex Ferguson, pictured, wants everyone at Manchester United to back David Moyes
Sir Alex Ferguson, pictured, wants everyone at Manchester United to back David Moyes
A heavily pregnant Coleen Rooney (centre) with husband Wayne Rooney and their son Kai, on the pitch to celebrate Manchester United winning the Barclays Premier League
A heavily pregnant Coleen Rooney with husband Wayne Rooney and their son Kai, on the pitch to celebrate Manchester United winning the Barclays Premier League

Manchester United fans bid a fond farewell to the club's legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson after his last home game in charge.

Before United's Premier League clash with Swansea, Ferguson's favourite song, Frank Sinatra's My Way, reverberated round the home of the league champions.

He marked his final home clash as United boss with a victory, before holding the Premier League title aloft at the end of the game.

Inside the ground, a giant banner was unfurled proclaiming: "Sir Alex – Immortal".

The 71-year-old was given a guard of honour by both sets of players as he made his way onto the pitch for the final time after a trophy-laden 26-year spell in charge of United.

Old Trafford was a sea of red as 73,000 flags, provided by the club stating 'Champions', were waved.

History called for a late winner – and Rio Ferdinand obliged, smashing home an 87th minute volley that had his manager leaping off his seat in delight.

With the match out of the way, Ferguson took to the microphone for an unscripted speech to the crowd that, by his own admission had him close to "blubbing".

"First of all, it's a thank you to Manchester United; not just the directors, not just the medical staff, the coaching staff, the players, the supporters, it's all of you. You have been the most fantastic experience of my life," he said.

"I have been very fortunate. I have been able to manage some of the greatest players in the country, let alone Manchester United. My retirement doesn't mean the end of my life with the club. I'll now be able to enjoy watching them rather than suffer with them."

He also called on the United fans to get behind incoming manager David Moyes, whose mother Joan is from Portrush.

"I'd also like to remind you that when we had bad times here the club stood by me, all my staff stood by me, the players stood by me – your job now is to stand by our new manager," he said. "That is important."

Moyes also took to the dugout for his last home game as manager of current club Everton.

His cousin, Dessie Brown from Coleraine, travelled to the game, which the Merseyside club won 2-0 against visitors West Ham.

"It was very emotional," he told the Belfast Telegraph last night.

"The reception from the fans was absolutely fantastic and we as a family are very proud.

"The last few days have been like a whirlwind but David won't talk about United to any of us. He has another game with Everton this season and another three points up for grabs."

United midfielder Paul Scholes also brought the curtain down on his illustrious Old Trafford career.

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