All the news, views and transfer rumours from Old Trafford this weekend…
Sir Alex Ferguson’s last match in charge of Manchester United ended in a thrilling 5-5 draw with West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns. Ferguson’s side were 3-0 and 5-2 up, and yet the Baggies claimed their share of the points due in large part to Romelu Lukaku’s hat-trick.
Shinji Kagawa opened the scoring for the visitors, before a Jonas Olsson own goal and a strike from left-back Alexander Buttner appeared to put the Red Devils out of sight inside half an hour.
James Morrison and Lukaku brought the score back to 3-2 before further strikes from Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez gave United a seemingly unassailable lead.
But the final games of the season often result in incomprehensible score-lines, and so it proved again as Lukaku and Youssouf Mulumbu prevented Ferguson from ending his reign with a win.
Although with Manchester City losing 3-2 at home to Norwich, it meant United finished 11 points clear of their nearest rivals.
The game also saw the last United appearance for Paul Scholes, who came on for the final 25 minutes.
At the end of the match, Ryan Giggs encouraged his manager to take the plaudits raining down on him from the visiting support. For once the players took the backseat; today was all about Ferguson.
After 1,500 games in charge, the 71-year-old’s record reads 895 wins, 338 draws and 267 defeats.
Robin van Persie’s 25th strike of the campaign confirmed him as the winner of the Golden Boot for the second successive season.
One striker who wasn’t in the squad was Wayne Rooney. Having been left out for last week’s Old Trafford farewell, it was unsurprising to see him omitted once more. But reports suggest he was given permission to miss the match with his wife due to give birth.
Ferguson appears to have washed his hands of the Rooney conundrum all together. And having managed his last game, it is his successor David Moyes who will decide if the England international pulls on a red shirt again.
One player who may be joining Moyes at Old Trafford is Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who has given his strongest hint yet that he could leave Goodison Park this summer.
Speaking to the Sunday Mirror he said, “If I’m leaving Everton, I say if, it will depend on lots of factors.”
“I only want to go to a club where the manager really wants me,” he added. “In 2008, Everton did everything to convince me, especially David Moyes. He made me the player I am now.”
With United lacking in central areas, and with the Belgian keen to play a more defensive midfield role, it would be a move that makes sense to all parties…apart from Everton.
image: © gordonflood