The Stretford End asked Merseyside if it was watching – and had that place really opted for such an afternoon of purgatory then it might have reflected that there would have been a few more banners rigged up, had this signature moment belonged to Anfield. The mighty images of Paisley, Shankly and Dalglish flutter across the Anfield Road end every weekend and though there was something extraordinary about the Maoist waving of red flags, and about the 71-year-old who commanded Old Trafford as he talked and breathed heavily into the microphone, don’t let it be said that he has ever enjoyed a personality cult. A few bed-sheets were held aloft in the cold early evening rain – a slightly strange “Thankyou Uncle Alex” and “Thanks Gaffer, from the Stretford End” – but the one vast banner of the bespectacled Alex Ferguson arrived late, fluttered briefly in the breeze and was quickly gone.
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