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Sir Alex Ferguson Retires: Manchester United Manager Bids Goodbye To Old Trafford (PICTURES)

12/05/2013 17:46 BST | Updated 12/05/2013 18:09 BST

Sir Alex Ferguson bid farewell to Old Trafford for the final time on Manchester United's coronation day, as they received the Barclays Premier League trophy 20 days after they regained their title.

On his 1,499th match in charge of the Red Devils, Ferguson lifted his 13th league championship in 20 years and the 27th major trophy of his 26-and-a-half-year reign as United manager.

"It's a thank you to Manchester United, it's all of you, you have been the most fantastic experience of my life," Ferguson said.

"I have been very fortunate to have been able to manage some of the greatest players in the country, and all these players here today have represented the club in the proper way.

"My retirement doesn't mean the end of the club, I'll now enjoy watching them rather than suffering with them!

"You're job now is to stand by our new manager."

The 71-year-old opted against a pre-match press conference and even a chat with Sky Sports' Geoff Shreeves on an occasion which was as expertly choreographed as a rally in Pyongyang.

sir alex ferguson

Ferguson surveys the legacy he has left behind at United

Old Trafford was a sea of red as supporters, and even those in the executive box, waved flags to commemorate a vibrant day of celebrations.

Wayne Rooney's omission from the matchday squad and the Mancunian rain could not dampen spirits on another carnival day of the Ferguson era as Javier Hernández clinically struck to give United a 1-0 lead at the interval on 38 minutes.

The exclusion of Rooney, much unloved since he handed in a transfer request in October 2010, actually added to the reverence for Ferguson. In his penultimate game, his power was still keenly felt as he effectively called time on another player's Old Trafford career. Rooney is destined to join the ostracised sextet of Ince, Beckham, Stam, Keane and Van Nistelrooy.

Michu, a player who Ferguson admitted he'd "never really heard of", equalised early in the second-half with a classy volley for his second goal of the season past David de Gea. "I should have a word with my scouting department," Ferguson added back in December.

It wasn't quite Fergie time, but in the 86th minute Rio Ferdinand scored his first United goal since January 2008 to make it a winning Old Trafford finale for the manager who signed him 11 years ago.