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.”
At first glance, it may seem disrespectful to look to the next chapter before Sir Alex had even finished his post-match wine, but in this writer’s opinion, it is completely representative of his legacy and influence at Old Trafford. As he knows, there's always another match, another season and another challenge. And Manchester United always moves on.
Poignantly, after the final whistle, Sir Alex stood alone in front of the Smethwick End, arms aloft, before taking a well-received bow. There was a wave to his family, respectful handshakes with his players and then one final march down the tunnel. Maintaining absolute control until the very end, all media duties were ignored in favour of a few moments with his title-winning squad and a swift drink with his opposite number, offering just three words when asked how his day was: “Emotional, very emotional.”
And that was it. The greatest managerial career in world football, if not sport, was over. But what a reign it was. And my god, those grandchildren are in for one hell of a story.