Following the announcement that David Moyes would take over from Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the season, it was revealed that the older manager had been effusive in his praise of the younger.
“We unanimously agreed on David Moyes,” Ferguson said.
“There is no question he has all the qualities we expect of a manager at this club.”
Already talking like the director he is soon to become, the outgoing United manager made one last big decision for the club he has graced for over 26 years.
And everyone seemed happy with his decision.
Because make no mistake, despite similar sound-bites from Sir Bobby Charlton, David Gill, Joel Glazer and incoming chief executive Ed Woodward, this was Ferguson’s decision.
But a look back to the last time he recommended a manager may not calm the nerves of United fans already suffering a surreal few days.
In June 2011, Aston Villa made the controversial decision to bring Alex McLeish from Birmingham City to Villa Park.
Rarely has a manager been as unwanted as McLeish, and this was before he had even set foot through the door.
And yet Ferguson called for the Villa faithful to keep that faith.
Having managed McLeish for eight years at Aberdeen, the United boss knew his qualities well.
“He was always intelligent, he was always inquisitive in his nature, he was always asking questions and these to me are essential ingredients for being a successful manager,” Ferguson said.
“He has done a phenomenal job.”
Speaking about the choice Aston Villa had made, the United manager was succinct, honest and perhaps even prophetic in light of what has happened this week.
“You can’t be swayed from the decisions you have to make,” he said.
And yet at the end of McLeish’s first and only season in charge, Villa finished just two points above the relegation zone, their safety only secured on the penultimate weekend.
Both Moyes and United fans alike will hope Ferguson’s latest words of praise are not ultimately drowned out by disappointment.
Of course the same players remain; players who this season secured the Premier League title with games to spare.
Moyes will not suffer the ignominy of a major collapse whatever the naysayers are suggesting.
But Ferguson has been wrong before. He of all people will hope this is one of those decisions that will one day be called a masterstroke.
Do you think Ferguson's recommendation will prove to be a long-term success for the club?
image: © tomjoad