Prior to kick-off, fans snapped up copies of West Brom’s matchday programme, Albion News, knowing the true value of those pages – both sentimental and financial. And in one of many nice touches, Sunday’s edition included a 40-page section dedicated entirely to the boss and his remarkable career.
Writing in his pre-match notes, Baggies boss Steve Clarke also paid tribute to his opposite number: “On behalf of everyone at West Bromwich Albion, I would like to thank him for all that he has given to football in a lifetime of service to our game and to wish him health and happiness in the future.”
Of course, another guard of honour greeted the manager, who cut a more relaxed figure compared to last weekend. Afterwards, he made a beeline to salute the 2,491 travelling Reds housed in the away end and, notably, it was from the East Stand where the mood was perfectly captured. This was a celebration, but most importantly, it was a fond farewell.
Intriguingly, among the many chants, there was a new addition to the song book and a significant nod to the future as fans moulded the words “Come on David Moyes, play like Fergie’s boys” around the chorus of Slade’s iconic hit ‘Cum on feel the noize’, proving Sir Alex's advice to “get behind our new manager” has been taken on board.
Similarly, when quizzed after the match, Michael Carrick was ready to embrace a new era at United: “It's a bit funny in the dressing room because of the situation,” he told MUTV. “We've thanked the manager for everything he's done and he's thanked us. We're ready to move on and there are new challenges for all of us. We're looking forward to it.”
Robin van Persie, who netted his 26th goal top-flight goal of the campaign to scoop the Golden Boot award, echoed a similar sentiment, saying: “Of course, we get a new manager next year and everybody is looking forward to that. It’s a new challenge for everyone. We'll have a nice break now and then we go again.”