FERGUSON AND VIDIC WIN TOP AWARDSTHE No 1 .. Alex Ferguson shows off his Barclays Manager of the Season award yesterday
Manchester United have claimed an awards double with Sir Alex Ferguson and Nemanja Vidic landing the Barclays Manager and Player of the Season honours.
Ferguson has led United to their 12th Premier League title, and 19th English league success overall, plus the Champions League final.
Centre-back Vidic has been the key cog in United's defence and has made more league starts than any other Red Devils player during the campaign.
Ferguson, 69, lands the top manager award from the Premier League sponsors for a ninth time, while 29-year-old Vidic has now been named Barclays' player of the season twice in his United career, with votes coming from representatives of football's governing bodies, the media and supporters.
Another title for Sir Alex Ferguson as LMA names him manager of the year
• Manchester United manager honoured by colleagues
• Norwich's Paul Lambert wins Championship award
The Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, holds the Premier League trophy after his side beat Blackpool on Sunday. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images
Sir Alex Ferguson was tonight named Manager of the Year by his fellow league managers and used the occasion to offer his support to Carlo Ancelotti, sacked by Chelsea within an hour of the season's end for coming second.
Ferguson was also named the Premier League manager of the year following Manchester United's title triumph and picked up a special merit award for having passed 2,000 matches as manager.
Speaking at the League Managers' Association awards dinner in London via video link from Old Trafford, Ferguson said: "It's a wonderful honour. It has been a fantastic season for us in the most difficult league in the world."
Ancelotti, sacked by Chelsea on Sunday, attended the dinner and Ferguson said to him: "Carlo, you are a fantastic man and you have showed great courage in coming to the dinner tonight, well done."
Giggs and Beckham take centre stage at Neville's Manchester United bow
The class of 1992: Alongside current United players Giggs (second left) and Paul Scholes (right), Sir Alex Ferguson is reacquainted with Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Gary Neville and Phill Neville
Guess who from the Class of 92: Manchester United's famous youth side (left to right) Gary Neville, Ben Thornley, Steven Riley, Chris Casper, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Robbie Savage, Eric Harrison (coach), Richard Irving, Paul Scholes, Mark Rawlinson, John O'Kane, Jovan Kirovski, Keith Gillespie, David Pierce
Amid that maelstrom, Giggs probably found the football pitch a place of peace.
It certainly appeared so as he drove the low cross into Wayne Rooney's path that put United ahead in Neville's testimonial against Juventus.
Rooney had been a surprise inclusion and the striker lasted half an hour before he was replaced, along with Giggs and Paul Scholes.The latter duo are members of the famed 'Class of 92', of which Neville was also an integral part..With Nicky Butt, Phil Neville and David Beckham also reporting for duty, the sextet boasted an impressive 3,323 United appearances between them..For Beckham in particular, it was an emotional night as he pulled on the famous red jersey for the first time since he left for Real Madrid in 2003..The reception Beckham received was, if anything, more enthusiastic than the one afforded to Neville.
Surprise outing: Wayne Rooney latched on to Giggs's cross to open the scoring
Trademark: David Beckham fires in a free-kick
British bulldog: David Beckham tackles a mischievous young fanSUPPORT ... Becks grabs fan
At times, it was like the years being rolled back as the pair combined down the right flank, as they did so often for the Red Devils in their prime.
Michael Owen, who played so often alongside Neville and Beckham for England, nodded one of the full-back's trademark crosses over.
Owen also blazed over from a Bebe cross not long after Simone Pepe had equalised for Juve.
Anderson and Rafael were introduced after the break, when Beckham curled a trademark free-kick narrowly over from the edge of the area.
Neville's night ended after 83 minutes, the former England full-back leaving the field to a well-deserved standing ovation.
By that time, Manuel Giandonato had curled home a superb winner for Juventus.
Faithful servant: Neville made 602 appearances for the Red Devils sicne his debut in 1992
It's just like the old times: Neville and Beckham combined on the right flank, while Giggs (right) embarks on a mazy run
Once a Red: Gary Neville applauds the Old Trafford faithfulIT'S CHILD'S PLAY ... Nev and familyEdited by zocoss 25 May `11, 12:21PM
Manchester United are £478m in debt but can still afford to let Sir Alex Ferguson spend, spend, spend this summer
When the Glazer family took control at Manchester United in 2005, they did so against a backdrop of protest and cynicism. Perceived as know-nothing foreign owners with their eyes purely on profits and not on the ball, it was feared that they would burden the club with debt - and maybe even destroy it.
Six years later and some of the fears have been realised. Latest figures show that United have debts of £478million on their books, while a further £369m has been spent in that period on loan interest and fees - from the club's coffers. That interest, supporters argue, should have been spent on players.
Marshalled by the 'Green and Gold' campaign, fans have protested about steep hikes in ticket prices, about the Glazer-imposed scheme that initially made the purchasing of all cup tickets mandatory for season-ticket holders, and about the treatment of some supporters who have persisted in protesting.
All these ingredients - debt, ticket prices, the remoteness of the owners and a perception that they do not care about 'ordinary' fans - have led to a heady cocktail of animosity towards the Americans.
United's commercial income has accelerated since the Glazers arrived and sought partners from Singha Beer to Turkish Airlines, Smirnoff to Epson, DHL and numerous telecommunications firms.
Collectively, they paid £40m in 2010-11 (above and beyond 'toprank' cash from Aon and Nike) to be associated with the club, and spent another £80m on marketing campaigns to promote their associations.
Yet United took on Barcelona as they contested their third Champions League final in four years. They have won the Premier League title in four of the past five seasons and the League Cup three times since the Glazers arrived.
And for all the talk about steep prices, Old Trafford has been packed at more than 99 per cent capacity for years, with average gates of more than 75,000 people per game - or 15,000 higher than their next closest challengers, Arsenal.
It might also come as a surprise to some that for all their debt, United have cash in the bank. A lot of cash. This summer their bank balance will reach an all-time peak of about £170m, and that money might bankroll the biggest summer spending spree United have ever had.
In some part, this is down to the biggest growth area in United's business activities; not selling tickets or the income from TV rights, but commercial deals with dozens of companies who pay top dollar to be associated with the club.
UNITED are also to open talks with Nike over a world record new kit deal worth an astonishing £400million.In another few years, United will likely have an official cola partner (Coke or Pepsi), energy partner, an electronics partner and fridge partner, you name it.
The US sportswear giants pay £23.5m-a-year to supply the Premier League champions and their current 10-year agreement expires in 2015.
Nike replaced Umbro in 2002 and United have received £303m over the course of the tie-up. But Florida-based owners the Glazers have seen the deal dwarfed in recent months and want to ensure their club are the top earners again.
A United insider said: "The club have made big efforts on the commercial side over the last 12 months but the kit deal is the real big one.
"The Glazer family are well aware what United's brand is currently worth. "It's not gone unnoticed that kit deals have been taken to another level since the club entered into our original agreement."Nike recently signed a £38m-a-year deal with the French national team to cover the next seven years, while Barcelona also rake in £26m annually..
United, whose global stars like Ji-Sung Park and Javier Hernandez help to sell millions of shirts worldwide every year, are well aware they remain the flagship sports franchise for Nike.
Sport of the World understands the club are "delighted" with their on-going relationship with the firm and hope to have something new in place by the middle of next year. But the Glazers remain focused on paying off debt and could yet be attracted by rival interest should Nike not deliver.
It is believed a new benchmark figure will be closer to £40m a year and rising over the course of a new decade-long deal.
Their marketing experts are also working on ways to 'monetise' their online fanbase, including 14m-plus 'followers' on Twitter, and how to make more on match day, perhaps via packages for the 'uber-rich' involving helicopter to the ground, limo transfer across the car park, private lift to a suite and Michelin dining during the match.
More immediately, Sir Alex will be pondering how to spend money, and the Glazers wondering what to do with what is left over, including clearing some of that debt.Edited by zocoss 09 Jul `11, 12:59AM
Manchester United fans unveil '19 times' banner at Anfield
• Red Issue fanzine organises stunt before Liverpool v Spurs
• Getaway car was waiting outside the groundManchester United fans unveil their banner in the Anfield Road End on Sunday. Photograph: David Buxton
Manchester United fans attempting to ensure maximum enjoyment is wrung out of the club's record-breaking 19th title took their cause to Anfield on Sunday, unveiling a banner inside the ground before the Reds' game against Spurs.
United clinched their landmark 19th title on Saturday, finally eclipsing Liverpool's total of 18, and the club's supporters went to great lengths to ensure those at Anfield were fully aware of that fact.
As Liverpool fans began their customary chorus of You'll Never Walk Alone, United fans, organised by the Red Issue fanzine, unveiled a banner emblazoned with the words "MUFC 19 TIMES" in the Anfield Road End of the ground.
Those responsible had a getaway car waiting outside the ground, plus fellow conspirators in the adjoining stand in order to get photographic evidence.
The banner-baiting between the clubs has a long history, with Liverpool fans' now famous "Come Back When You Have Won 18" banner kicking things off in 1994. United fans responded to that after clinching their 18th title in 2008-09 and have now added another chapter to the ongoing rivalry.Edited by zocoss 12 Aug `11, 6:23PM
Fergie 2 Kop 0: United boss snaps up Phil Jones despite Liverpool's £22m bid... and next up Ashley Young
Big money move: Phil Jones departs following his medical with Manchester United
Sir Alex Ferguson will complete a dramatic transfer double over Liverpool in the next 48 hours by signing England winger Ashley Young from Aston Villa in a £15million deal.
The Manchester United manager took time out from his holiday in the south of France to ambush old rival Kenny Dalglish by paying £16.5m to snatch Blackburn’s teenage defender Phil Jones from Liverpool’s grasp.
And, as revealed in Sportsmail last month, Ferguson is convinced he will win the race for Anfield target Young as well.
The 25-year-old’s agent, Eric Walters, was understood to have been at United’s training ground at Carrington yesterday to finalise the deal.
Young is said to want the move to Old Trafford tied up before his wedding this weekend.
His arrival will complete a remarkable coup for Ferguson following the capture of Jones on Wednesday.
Liverpool thought they were first in line for the highly rated 19-year-old after agreeing to sign his England Under 21 team-mate Jordan Henderson from Sunderland in a deal worth £20m.
Both players were given permission to miss England’s flight to Denmark ahead of the European Under 21 Championship.
But, while Henderson travelled to Merseyside for his medical, Jones and his representatives met United to complete a five-year deal worth £40,000 a week.
Ferguson acted on his long-standing interest in Jones when it looked like the player was bound for Anfield, the manager interrupting his summer holiday to sanction the deal.
He told Jones he sees him as the long-term replacement for Rio Ferdinand and also talked to his parents.
Dalglish and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger are both believed to have spoken to the teenager after agreeing to meet the £16m release clause in his contract.
The Gunners will now turn their attention to landing Bolton’s Gary Cahill or Blackburn’s Chris Samba having missed out on Jones.
Hot property: Jones had his pick of Premier League clubs
Blackburn also made a huge effort to keep Jones, offering to beat United’s terms by making him the highest-paid player at Ewood Park on £50,000 a week, while Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp confirmed he made a late bid.
‘We were in for him along with about five other top clubs,’ said Redknapp. ‘I think everybody was in for the boy.
‘Obviously he had a choice and he’s made up his mind that Manchester United was the move for him.
‘I think he’s got the potential to go on one day to be an England centre half and maybe even a captain of England. I think he’s that good so Alex has pulled off a real coup.’
United striker Wayne Rooney was first to indicate that a deal had been done when he wrote on Twitter: ‘Phil Jones is a good young English player. One of the toughest defenders I played against last season. Can play midfield too.’
Ferguson will take his summer spending to almost £50m when he completes the signing of Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea from Atletico Madrid.
Although 20-year-old De Gea insisted yesterday he will make an announcement on his future after the European Under 21 Championship, a £17m deal is already in place as United look to replace Edwin van der Sar, who retired at the end of the season.
United he stands: Ashley Young is set to sign at Old Trafford
De Gea 'privileged' to be a Manchester United player after signing five-year deal
Welcome to Old Trafford: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson with new signing David De Gea
Manchester United have completed the signing of the Atlético Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea on a five-year contract.
De Gea is United's third new signing of the summer, following the deals for Phil Jones and Ashley Young.
De Gea told MUTV: "I feel very proud and I can't wait to start playing here. When a club the size of Manchester United comes in for you it obviously makes you very, very happy.
"I saw their interest as an extra motivation to work even harder to show off my ability. It's a great privilege to be part of a club like United and I'm keen to do my best and show what I can do."
With Anders Lindegaard also having arrived at the club in December, it now appears likely that Tomasz Kuszczak will be allowed to leave, even though the Pole was on the bench for last month's Champions League final defeat to Barcelona.
It is thought United are still hoping to secure at least one more new signing following confirmation of Paul Scholes' retirement.Edited by zocoss 12 Aug `11, 7:24PM
First blood: Manchester United celebrate winning the Community ShieldEdited by zocoss 12 Aug `11, 7:26PM
WAG.... Tom Cleverley’s girlfriend Emily O’HaraEdited by zocoss 12 Aug `11, 7:24PM
Eight-star United destroy Gunners
Wayne Rooney hit a hat-trick as Manchester United went goals crazy with a thumping 8-2 victory over beleaguered Arsenal at Old Trafford.
How the 10 goals went in
1-0 Danny Welbeck (22 mins)
2-0 Ashley Young (28)
3-0 Wayne Rooney (41)
3-1 Theo Walcott (45)
4-1 Wayne Rooney (64)
5-1 Nani (67)
6-1 Ji-Sung Park (70)
6-2 Robin van Persie (74)
7-2 Wayne Rooney (82)
8-2 Ashley Young (93)ROO BEAUTY ... United mob hat-trick hero Wayne
Here we go: Danny Welbeck (right) lifts the ball over Wojciech Szczesny to open the scoring at Old Trafford
Denied: David De Gea saves Robin Van Persie's penalty to keep United in the lead at Old Trafford
Peach: Ashley Young curls the ball home to double United's advantage as they take control against Arsenal
Three and easy: Wayne Rooney bends home a free kick to put United three up against Arsenal
Who's a clever boy? Rooney of celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal with team mate Anderson
Five star: Nani salutes the crowd after putting United further in front against Arsenal
Joy of six: Park Ji-sung (right) piles on the misery for Arsenal with yet another goal
Hat-trick hero: Rooney slots home a penalty to score his third, and United's seventh
WAYNE ROONEY hit a hat-trick as Manchester United destroyed Arsenal in a relentless demolition of their once title rivals.
Danny Welbeck, Nani, Ji-Sung Park and an Ashley Young double completed the rout for Alex Ferguson's side.
Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie replied for the Gunners, who also had Carl Jenkinson sent off.
The hammering leaves under-pressure Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger feeling the heat after a shambolic summer.
United gave the Frenchman's inexperienced team a taste of what was to come within in the first five minutes.
Tom Cleverley and Rooney warmed up with sighters before Young threaded in Welbeck who fired wide.
Arsenal simply could not get their passing game together as the home side dominated.
It was only a matter of time before the visitors' defence was breached with Welbeck punishing them in the 22nd minute.
Laurent Koscielny's header fell to Anderson outside the box who chipped back in towards his striker.
Johan Djourou and Koscielny were outmuscled and Welbeck nodded past the stranded Wojciech Szczesny.
But totally against the run of play, Van Persie had the chance to bring Arsenal level from the spot.
Walcott had his heel clipped by Jonny Evans and referee Howard Webb gave the England winger the benefit of the doubt.
However, Van Persie's effort was saved as David de Gea dived low to his right to easily palm the ball away.
In a frantic spell, United doubled their lead with a sublime curling effort from Young.
The wide man, signed this summer from Aston Villa, turned Francis Coquelin inside-out before bending the ball into the top corner from 25 yards.
Even with two thirds of the match left, it looked like it was already game over for Arsenal.
And when Rooney struck with a brilliant free-kick from the edge of the box, you would have expected them to throw the towel in.
Yet, on the stroke of half time, Walcott gave the Gunners a lifeline.
Patrice Evra's poor clearance was punished as Walcott sprinted into the box, latched on to the ball and shot through De Gea's legs.
The Spanish keeper faced criticism after individual errors in the Community Shield and on the opening day against West Brom.
And despite his penalty save, there are still questions for the 20-year-old to answer.
What isn't in doubt is the quality of their outfield players.
The relentless pressure of the first half continued into the second with Young testing Szczesny and Nani arrogantly chipping over as Rooney was better placed.
The only real quality from Arsenal was coming from their captain Van Persie who was denied by De Gea with a first-time volley.
Andrey Arshavin, who was booked in the first half and treading a fine line, fluffed a chance as he ran 40 yards into the area before pulling his shot wide.
Gunners fans' continuous defiant chants of 'we love you Arsenal, we do' could not inspire their side, nor hide their defensive frailties.
Cleverley should have slotted past Szczesny but his effort was easily saved. Young, Nani and Javier Hernandez also tried their luck.
The attacking Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced defensive midfielder Coquelin for his debut.
But it will be one he will want to forget as the first action he saw was Rooney curling another sumptuous free-kick past Szczesny.
Within minutes, United had their fifth. Smalling raced into the Arsenal half, found Rooney who played in Nani to cheekly chip the ball in.
It was Nani's last action as he and Anderson were taken off with Ryan Giggs and Park coming on.
But United's attack was constant. Rooney was denied a hat-trick when his audacious effort beat Szczesny only to rebound off the post.
Park was next to get on the scoresheet as his low shot squirmed through the legs of Djourou into the bottom corner.
With the game wide open, chances were coming thick and fast. Van Persie grabbed Arsenal's second from Carl Jenkinson's deep cross.
De Gea then stood up to the test of Walcott's long-range drive.
But at the other end, Jenkinson's afternoon went from bad to worse as he picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Hernandez.
United hadn't stopped there though and when Evra was fouled by Walcott, Rooney was more than happy to hammer home his hat-trick.
And Young sealed Arsenal's misery with an EIGHTH in added time.THREE AND EASY ... Wayne Rooney clutches the hat-trick ball after the matchEdited by zocoss 29 Aug `11, 1:56AM
Arsenal's worst defeat since 1896
David Beckham recalls day Fergie gave him the bootSTITCHED UP ... David Beckham the day after being hit by a boot in 2003
DAVID BECKHAM holds no ill feelings towards Alex Ferguson about the infamous boot in the face incident which tainted the end of his Manchester United career.
On the eve of Ferguson's 25th anniversary at the club, Beckham recalled the 2003 run-in which left him with a cut above his eye after the Scot kicked the footwear towards him in the Old Trafford changing room.
But the LA Galaxy star, who was sold to Real Madrid shortly after the spat, admits the incident was soon forgotten.
Beckham, 36, said: "He wanted to kill me at times, I'm sure, but he was a father figure to me and he was also the man who gave me the chance of playing for my dream club.
"There are no hard feelings from me about the boot in the face thing. It was forgotten straight away, within the club and within the team.
"There were other people who continued to speculate and talk about it but, with me and the boss, it had been forgotten the day after.
"The fear of getting the hairdryer was the reason why we all played so well.
"He was a manager you wanted to do well for."
Former England skipper Becks added: "It was a bit icy the first time I came back with Real Madrid, but that went very quickly.
"There is a lot of warmth between us now."
Paul Scholes on Alex Ferguson landmarkFATHER FIGURE-SON ... Fergie 'n Scholes
ALEX FERGUSON celebrates his 25th anniversary as Manchester United boss on Sunday.
Today, one of his greatest players, Paul Scholes, writes exclusively for SunSport to salute his reign.
THIS picture of the gaffer with his arm round my shoulder is hugely symbolic because Alex Ferguson has always been a father figure to me — and to the rest of the lads who have come through the Old Trafford ranks.
We have all learned so much from him down the years. Even the football gospel preached to us by our coaches Brian Kidd and Eric Harrison when we were boys came from the manager originally.
Obviously the relationship has developed over the years since I first met him when I was a little boy of around 12. Now, a quarter of a century later, I'm 36 and not quite so scared of him. But as you grow up you understand why he does what he does.
Occasionally he'll ask the opinion of the senior players. Usually it will be to do with the mood of the camp, perhaps if we've had some bad results. Of course, even when he's heard what we have to say he will do what he wants.
One of the manager's strengths is also getting the best out of people. We have such a big squad these days and if a player's been training all week then he'll believe that he's got a chance of making the team on Saturday.
Managers differ dramatically in the stress they place on performances on the practice pitch. When Kevin Keegan was coaching England, he was always a great believer in selecting the players who trained the best. Our manager's not like that. Of course, he likes you to train well but being brilliant on a Thursday at Carrington certainly doesn't guarantee you'll be in the team at Old Trafford.
It can't be easy to keep us all motivated but the manager has a way of doing it, and that's a part of his greatness.
In terms of handling the Press, he could write the book. He's at Manchester United where there are big stories all the time but, to him, big stories are nothing.
He knows absolutely everything that's going on. He's ready for anything and I think he always will be.I still remember his 20th year at United. We were playing well, reaching the FA Cup final and the last four of the Champions League, which augured well for the future..
It represented an incredible achievement by the manager, who had put together a succession of exceptional teams. No matter what star players came and went, Sir Alex just kept rolling along, and so did United. I can hardly believe my own good fortune in being part of the story for so long.
Last year Barcelona set a standard for United to aspire to when they beat us in the Champions League final.
That is the goal now — and I see no reason why it cannot be attained over the next few years.
The manager won't stop trying to lift United to that exalted level because he can never resist a challenge — and he's a long, long way from the finishing line.Edited by zocoss 05 Nov `11, 12:10AM
Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1: Rooney leaves rivals shaking as Fergie's men go top... but Suarez row dominates dramatic derby
Roo beauty: Wayne Rooney proved to be the match winner with a quickfire brace
MAN UNITED: De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Rooney, Welbeck. Subs not used: Amos, Berbatov, Park, Hernandez, Fabio Da Silva, Cleverley, Pogba.:
Goals: Rooney 47, 50
LIVERPOOL: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Spearing (Carroll 61), Henderson, Kuyt (Adam 75), Gerrard, Downing (Bellamy 61), Suarez. Subs not used: Doni, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly.
Goals: Suarez 80
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)
Luis Suarez could not have done a better job of helping United to a famous victory even if he had tried. The Uruguayan made his first start following his eight-match ban for racially abusing United's Patrice Evra.
And he set the tone for a massive United performance by refusing Evra's proffered handshake before kick-off.
If ever a gesture was designed to fire up Sir Alex Ferguson's title-chasers for their most keenly contested fixture then this, surely, was it.
And, of all the individuals Liverpool do not need to inspire to greater deeds, Wayne Rooney is top of the list.
The England star was making his 500th appearance for club and country, and to do so against United's biggest rivals was incentive enough.
No player takes more abuse at Anfield than Rooney, who first fielded the Liverpool fans' flak as a youngster playing for Everton.
Rooney said in the build-up that this is 'the game you never want to lose'.
The 25-year-old had scored 211 goals in those previous 499 games, but only two against Liverpool.
Ignore his post-match dismissal of Suarez's handshake refusal, when he said: 'That's between the two individuals. We are professionals and we have to do a job on the pitch.'
You can be sure Rooney's burning desire to improve his scoring stats against the old enemy was only deepened by the snub to his team-mate and captain.
And Liverpool felt the full force of Rooney's - and United's - determination when he doubled his tally against them in the space of three minutes shortly after the start of the second half.
With two devastating strikes, Rooney took his goals record from two to four in his 20th appearance against them.
Despite Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish's dismissal of the suggestion that Suarez was culpable in any way, Ferguson was equally adamant that Suarez's refusal to shake hands with Evra 'created a tension … I could not believe it,' said the United manager.
Snub: Luis Suarez refused to shake hands with Patrice Evra before the game
Ugly affair: The first half was largely uneventful in terms of chances
Dalglish and the travelling fans could barely believe it, either, as Rooney, rising to the occasion like a colossus, first volleyed past Pepe Reina after Jordan Henderson deflected a Ryan Giggs corner and then struck the lethal blow, shooting under the keeper after Antonio Valencia robbed Jay Spearing and played in the striker.
A nervous final few minutes ensued for United - but this was always their day, from that fateful moment when Suarez made a decision that seemed to baffle even his manager, who later inferred that he expected his player to shake Evra's hand.
Despite his consolation goal - his first since December 10 - Suarez cut an increasingly forlorn figure, chasing shadows and lost causes as Liverpool failed miserably to live up to the standards of their recent Carling Cup and FA Cup victories over Manchester City and United.
In sharp contrast, Rooney, magnificently aided in his efforts by strike partner Danny Welbeck and right-wing raider Valencia, was rampant, revelling in his frequent opportunities to run at the back-pedalling Liverpool defenders.
The Suarez-Evra issue clouded the whole affair but, when football got into focus, it was United who provided the great majority of it.
Angst: Referee Phil Dowd had to step in as the two teams made their way off at the break
Blasted: Rooney gave the game its spark with a thunderous volley in the second half
The ageless Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, supported by 30-year-old Carrick - a combined age here of 105 - ran the show in midfield and 33-year-old Rio Ferdinand, bad back and all, smothered Suarez's bid for a triumphant return to 90-minute action.
Glen Johnson curled a shot a yard wide in the 10th minute but that was a false dawn for Liverpool who looked increasingly unlikely to check United's charge towards what they hope will be a 20th league title.
Scholes - will the little master be able to refuse the chance to play on for another season after enjoying days such as this? - could not believe he failed to put United in front when, after orchestrating the move, he got his head to a Giggs cross, only to see Reina make a superb reflex save.
But Reina merely delayed the inevitable. In the explosive first few minutes of the second half Rooney stamped his class, authority and utter sense of mission on the proceedings.
And there was no way back for Liverpool, who have now won only once on their last eight visits to Old Trafford.
Double trouble: Moments later Rooney slotted home from Antonio Valencia's pass
Too little, too late: Suarez gave his side some hope with a smart strike late on
United, top of the league - if only for 24 hours before City play today - should have put the issue beyond all doubt before David de Gea took off to tip over Johnson's screamer in added time.
Rooney fluffed his chance of a hat-trick when he miscued after being put through by a Scholes dummy to Valencia's pass, and Welbeck might have got the goal his display deserved when Scholes sent him racing into the left of the box.
The youngster blazed into the Stretford End. But the lasting impression was of a day of glory and justification for United and one of utter dismay for sorry Liverpool..Edited by zocoss 12 Feb `12, 9:32PM
RED DEVIL ... Shinji KagawaNEW RECRUITS ... Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell with Alex Ferguson
SHINJI KAGAWA has sealed his move to Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund on a four-year deal.
The Japan midfielder passed a medical at Old Trafford earlier today, obtained a UK work permit and agreed a contract commencing on July 1.
Red Devils boss Alex Ferguson said: “Shinji is an exciting young midfielder with great skill, vision and a good eye for goal.
“I am delighted he has chosen to come to United.
“I believe he will make an impact upon the team very quickly as he is suited to United’s style of play.
“We are all looking forward to working with him.”
Kagawa, 23, added: “This is a challenge I am really looking forward to.
“The Premier League is the best league in the world and Manchester United is such a massive club.
“This is a really exciting time for me. I can’t wait to meet the team and start playing.”Edited by zocoss 22 Aug `12, 11:18AM
Edited by zocoss 05 Sep `12, 10:56PM
Edited by zocoss 05 Sep `12, 10:57PM
On August 16 - 2012.Edited by zocoss 22 Aug `12, 11:27AM