Question unanswered at celebrations
Published 13/05/2013 | 21:27
Manchester United declared they had "got their trophy back" at the end of the Premier League title-winning parade - but there was no word on whether Wayne Rooney will still be around for the start of their defence.
Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed on Sunday that Rooney had submitted a transfer request, although added that it had been turned down. Speaking to MUTV, Rooney did not answer directly a question about what the retiring Ferguson had done for him, and was not asked whether he would be staying or not.
"He has been brilliant for us all," said Rooney. "He is a great manager. He is a winner and to do it for so long is incredible. He is a fantastic manager and a fantastic person."
Rooney received a mixed reception when he boarded the open-top bus at Old Trafford for the start of the parade, although he did play an active part in the celebrations as it made its slow way along the route into the centre of Manchester, where huge numbers of United fans turned out to acclaim their team.
With 20,000 fans packed into Sir Matt Busby Way, roads had to be closed prior to the Red Devils' departure. And whilst there was space along the main route into the city centre, once the bus headed down the main shopping area, Deansgate, supporters found a variety of vantage points to see the team drive past.
Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Young, who at times ditched the crutches he is supposed to be using to nurse an ankle injury that has ended his season, led the singing, with Ferguson also joining in. There was a moment of humour, as defender Jonny Evans was asked by MUTV interviewer Helen McConnell, who also happens to be his fiancee, whether he was going to have a good summer.
"Yes," replied Evans. "I am getting married, to you Helen."
But mainly, with the heavy rain that poured down just a couple of hours before the parade began, it was just a celebration of United's 20th title. It is Ferguson's 13th, and last of course. But the revelry was not enough to make the Scot think standing down in favour of David Moyes, who is also believed to have been in Manchester to witness the scenes, was a wrong move.
"You always think about it (whether you are doing the right thing). But I think it is the right time. I really do," said Ferguson, who also challenged his players to repeat the title hat-trick they last achieved between 2007 and 2009.
"We have a young squad, with a lot of good young players, who are going to get better. The big test is to win it three times in a row."