Gary Neville's proud and distinguished period of leading United onto the field is over - although the Reds defender will remain as club captain off the pitch.
The long-serving right-back discussed the matter alongside his manager at Monday's press conference, 48 hours after he started in but didn't skipper the side against Everton. Nemanja Vidic wore the captain's armband at Goodison Park and may continue to do so, although a challenge may come from his central defence partner Rio Ferdinand.
"Gary's still club captain," said Sir Alex, "but the situation is I've been looking for someone who's going to be consistently playing every week. In the last two or three years, we've had to pass the baton along the line a few times.
"We thought we should have a consistent captain and Gary agrees with me on this. If he was available all the time, he would still be the captain and he would have been captain on Saturday, but injuries have prevented from him playing every week.
"I have to look at the overall picture and with all due respect to Gary's time at United, he knows himself and I know that we don't play him in every game. I'm looking for someone who will be playing every week - that's part of the criteria to be the captain of our team."
Vidic would appear to fit the bill, and has been skipper for all of United's five games so far this season - starting with the Community Shield at Wembley. But when asked if Rio's return would alter the situation, the boss replied "No comment" before going on to say:
"I haven't discussed it yet as to what we'll do with the captaincy if Rio plays tomorrow."
Neville himself pointed to the number of players who have worn the armband in his absence through injury - not only Vidic and Ferdinand but also Ryan Giggs and Edwin van der Sar.
"I was captain one week - then it was Giggsy, then Rio and then Edwin," said Gary. "That's not ideal.