After 26 years and 1,500 games, the boss is no longer the boss. And at the age of 71, he walks away knowing his legacy in football is as secure as the stadium where his bronzed statue stands in front of the stand bearing his name. Quite simply, his era has ended.
Soon, his transformation from fearsome father to loveable uncle will be complete and as a figure from a different era, the younger generation of fans will marvel in wonder at stories of a manager so powerful, successful and respected.
Appropriately, last weekend’s Swansea match offered a chance to honour our parting hero en mass as 76,000 Reds marched on Old Trafford to salute the most decorated of generals with an abundance of flags, banners and tears - inspiring an 'I was there' atmosphere.
Just 24 hours later, Monday’s Barclays Premier League trophy parade saw the streets, scaffolds and bus stops of Manchester bear the weight of over 100,000 supporters all intent on waving goodbye to a genuine, bona fide icon of British culture. And personally, it was a privilege to report on both.
But amid all the sentiment and glory of both send-offs, complimented by countless tributes and eulogies, it was easy to forget that Sunday’s epic draw with West Brom was actually Sir Alex’s final outing; the full stop on one of the great tales of our time.
Away from the adulation and intensity of M16, it was apt that his conclusion would boil down to a simple away day. Although a final victory never came, it was perhaps appropriate to end with a dramatic, unpredictable and entertaining affair; attributes that have defined his tenure.
But in truth, it didn’t matter because Sir Alex is already a winner. And having lifted 49 major honours during an illustrious 39-year career, it