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, and then added that it had been turned down. The player 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.
Speaking to MUTV, however, 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.”
More than one player claimed the massive crowd, which some said was bigger than the one that greeted the team after their 1999 treble win, was a direct result of Ferguson’s impending retirement. Addressing the crowds himself, Ferguson could not resist a dig at those who claim most football supporters in Manchester are City fans.
“You know they say United fans live outside the city,” he said.
With 20,000 fans packed into Sir Matt Busby Way, roads had to be closed prior to the Red Devils’ departure. Ferguson called a meeting for his players on Wednesday morning to tell them he was quitting. And it was Michael Carrick, normally one of the most reserved members of the United squad, who made the statement of the evening, right at the end. “We’ve got our trophy back,” he roared.