Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson seemingly had nothing left to do in the Premier League. After 13 championships and 11 Manager of the Year awards in 20 seasons, Fergie had ticked most of the boxes. Except for a 5-5 draw. That was one result nobody had managed before. They have now. "There's no point trying to analyse a game like that," West Brom manager and fellow Scot Steve Clarke said Sunday. "It's a great finale and a memorable way to bow out." -Moyes reports for duty -Brewin: Ferguson, United prove critics wrong -Jolly: Turning points of United's season Ferguson declined the opportunity to speak with the press after the game; perhaps it was too preposterous a result to explain.
There it is. A draw to close it all. West Bromwich Albion 5, Manchester United 5. Sir Alex Ferguson's final game as manager ended, fittingly, with his side chasing a last-minute goal. The score line was one that neither Ferguson nor the Premier League had experienced before, and had you paused the game with a half hour gone, then such an outcome would have seemed implausible. Indeed, if you had been told at that point that the game would yield 10 goals, you would have assumed that they would all be scored by Manchester United.
This is the encore. Manchester United's fixture against West Bromwich Albion, Sir Alex Ferguson's 1,500th as a football manager, will be the last of the Scot's reign. Last week at Old Trafford was the big show. There were speeches and songs, and there was a nod to the incumbent. "Last Sunday is something the Fergusons will never forget," Sir Alex said. But this is really it. It seems incredible to contemplate that, in the Midlands this weekend, Ferguson will take charge of his football team for the final time, he will give his last team talk, and there will be no comeback.
Thursday brought news of David Beckham's retirement from football. He bows out at PSG and although he left Manchester United 10 years ago, he retains a special place in the hearts of the Premier League club's fans. - Macintosh: This David was a Goliath - Johnson: Au revoir, Beckham - Palmer: Beckham a national treasure - Beckham proud to retire as a 'champion' It was two crosses from Beckham that set up United's stupendous Champions League final win against Bayern Munich in 1999 that sealed a memorable and historic treble, and he was the architect of as much joy among the United faithful as any of the club's other greats.
It looks as though Wayne Rooney may be on his way from Old Trafford, following his pointed omission from the squad for Sir Alex Ferguson's final game. Though Ferguson has said that the England forward is not for sale, this can just as easily be interpreted as the opening gambit in the summer negotiations. Should David Moyes wish to keep Rooney at the club, he will have to move with the greatest haste. - Bayern deny Rooney interest Should Moyes wish to dispense with Rooney's services, given the outstanding talent of Shinji Kagawa in the number 10 position, then the question arises as to the Scouser's destination.
The domestic season has been nearly wrapped up. All of the major European leagues have settled their championships ahead of schedule, and club directors need something else to occupy their interest. Attention now turns to the inevitable managerial merry-go-round that awaits this summer. Chairmen across the continent are ready to pull the rug from under their managers in the hope of employing somebody similar who might do a slightly better job. It promises to be entertaining and bloodthirsty viewing.
Anyone tuning in to watch Manchester United's 2-1 win over Swansea Sunday could be forgiven for forgetting that there was a game in the middle of it all. The match was overshadowed by a variety of narratives, chief among them the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, followed fairly sharply on its heels by Paul Scholes' decision to make this his final season and Wayne Rooney's request for a transfer. The only thing that could have stolen the show was if Bane had pitched up to the stadium. -Jolly: Fergie wanted surprise retirement -Rooney transfer request confirmed -Sir Alex: December retirement decision -Fergie urges support for Moyes It’s probably a bit of a stretch to compare Sir Alex to the Dark Knight, particularly because the Glaswegian has been as much the villain as the hero the past few decades.
Old Trafford has never been so red. This ground and its attendees have come in for criticism over the years, but when the occasion calls for it, they never let you down. The crowd roared for Alex Ferguson, the spectators formed mosaics reading the word 'champions' and the numbers 20 and 13. - Fergie bows out with home win The great man walked out through a guard of honour from the two teams and seemed almost sheepish at the grandeur of the tribute. He has earned it. There was no point of reference for this occasion, but in victory and spirit it fit the bill.
Paul Scholes. He was simply always there. For someone so good at evading the spotlight, he always occupied it when he was needed. The season when Manchester United claimed a spectacular Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League saw him called on more than most, a year when he delivered glorious moments to order. In 1998-99, he provided ample goals and assists, but the mere numbers will not show how central he was to this thrilling cause. - Brewin: Scholes among the last of the one-club men - Gallery: Paul Scholes It was a form of sorcery, really.
So it is official. David Moyes has been named as manager of Manchester United, being handed a six-year contract effective from the beginning of July. And now the inquisition begins, central to which is the issue of perhaps his greatest challenge. Moyes has been handed this job upon the express recommendation of Sir Alex Ferguson, a man to whom he is particularly close; moreover, he has inherited a squad still rolling from the momentum of a championship. The main question is when and whether Moyes will make this team his own: whether he will forge a title-winning side in his own image or merely appear to be holding the role in trust for his predecessor.
Two weeks ago, Wayne Rooney reached the end of his tether. After months of frustration, he reportedly approached the club and once again asked for a transfer away from Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson never forgave Rooney for their 2010 contract dispute and pushed him to the point of departure. But the Scot has gone first. Addressing Rooney's future will be the first task the new manger faces. David Moyes, the confirmed successor to Sir Alex, also fell out with Rooney, during the then-18-year-old's transfer from Everton to United in 2004.
Manchester United before Sir Alex Ferguson: how to describe them? A slumbering giant, a sleeping beauty? Well, perhaps neither. Having been relegated in the mid-'70s, and largely chastened in the First Division since their return, there was for a long period little consistent evidence that the club was due a return to dominance. There was a great expectation which overwhelmed successive managers, each of whom eventually succumbed without glory. The low points were perhaps the tenures of Tommy Docherty and Dave Sexton between 1972 and 1981, when two talented managers found a challenge beyond them: a feral, restless Old Trafford crowd, furious at the passage of past triumphs.