Sir Alex Ferguson signs off with wine, not win in last Manchester United game
Sir Alex Ferguson ended his magnificent managerial career just the way he would want - with a nice glass of red wine.
The Manchester United manager declared himself satisfied with the 2003 Chateau Pontet Canet, bought especially for the occasion, with Steve Clarke saying: "He knew what it was. He said it was a good year."
The post-match drink followed a staggering game, as United cruised into a 3-0 lead, and then 5-2, before being pegged back by a dogged West Brom, who salvaged a 5-5 draw. It was the first time a United team had drawn by such a score since Newton Heath were held by Lincoln in 1895, and it was also the highest scoring draw in Premier League history.
"I am not sure Sir Alex enjoyed it that much," added Clarke. "There is no point analysing the game. We had a great Plan A, which went out of the window after 10 minutes. It was a great occasion. That game will be remembered for a long time. He was quite complimentary about our season and I wish him all the best."
Ferguson opted not to speak with the media afterwards. His thoughts would have been fascinating, though, for at any other point in his career the hairdryer would surely have been turned up full volume given how the match unfolded, even though it wasn't, as he told Clarke, the first time under his charge United had thrown away a three-goal lead.
Shinji Kagawa and a Jonas Olsson own goal had United cruising after just 10 minutes and when Alexander Buttner drove home a third midway through the first half, it seemed Ferguson would enjoy a victory cruise on his final day.
Yet it proved to be the prelude for the most astonishing of comebacks as Lukaku and Youssuf Mulumbu netted amid chaotic scenes. Olsson blazed over from three yards before Lukaku completed his hat-trick, with both sides failing to take chances to win it late on.
Both sides formed a guard of honour for Ferguson before the game, with the West Brom supporters joining their United counterparts to applaud the Scot after the final whistle.
"After 26 and a half years at United and, before that, at Aberdeen, Sir Alex deserved it," said Van Persie. "He's unbelievable and what the West Brom fans did was a nice touch. It's right to show respect. It doesn't always happen in football but it did and I'm glad."
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