Wayne's World is now key to United
The question of the succession has been mentioned for a decade and more at Old Trafford.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Wayne Rooney - The greatest tribute came from Alex McLeish. "He's a huge talent, a natural footballer. You get the Zidanes and the Platinis: you see them over the years, they are just naturals," said the Birmingham manager.
MANCHESTER UNITED VERDICT: Traditionally slow starters to the season, they can take comfort from the result and the clean sheet. The sight of Nani starting, as he had done in the Community Shield, suggests Ferguson believes the Portuguese will play a pivotal part this season, but positions in his midfield remain up for grabs.
BIRMINGHAM VERDICT: No points, but plenty of positives for McLeish. Roger Johnson, in particular, had an impressive debut in defence and the promoted team were organised and diligent, rarely affording United the space some opponents grant them. James McFadden's performance on the left flank was a reminder that McLeish appears to know something that has eluded other managers: how to get the best of the mercurial Scot.
ON THE ROAD: Birmingham's boisterous fans were in their element, taunting their United counterparts throughout, though some of their chants were unrepeatable. "See you on the motorway," was one chorus. It brings a new meaning to their usual refrain of "Keep right on until the end of the road".