And so the end of an era arrives for Manchester United on Sunday as Sir Alex Ferguson sends his side out for the final match of his glorious 27-year reign at the club.
It took a rather fitting late winner for United to secure maximum points last weekend in their penultimate game of the season, and Ferguson’s last at Old Trafford, as they saw off Swansea City 2-1 at home courtesy of a Rio Ferdinand strike less than five minutes from time.
Britain’s most decorated manager will be hoping to bow out in style with a win in the Black Country against an out-of-form West Brom side that come into the game on the back of three successive defeats, their last a 4-0 trouncing at Norwich City, and just one win in eight.
Their record against the Reds doesn’t make for pretty reading either, as their last league success over the champions came as far back as 1984, with 15 defeats and two draws in the 17 encounters since.
United have secured all three points against the Baggies in their last four meetings and are priced at 3/4 to do so once again this weekend, with the draw at 13/5 and West Brom at 7/2 to end their 29-year wait for a league win over their visitors.
Victory for United would see them equal their best-ever Premier League points tally of 91, set back in the 1999/2000 season, and there are further omens to suggest they will achieve that feat.
Ferguson’s men have won nine of their last ten top-flight finales, with only West Ham defeating them in that time, six years ago.
Their dominance this term has largely been down to the finishing of Robin van Persie, who sits top of the goalscoring charts with 25 league goals and has bagged six in his last six outings in what has been an impressive first year at the club since his move from Arsenal.
The Dutchman found the net in United’s 2-0 win over West Brom in December and has averaged a goal every other game against the Baggies, scoring in four of his eight appearances, and he looks a good price at 7/2 to open proceedings or 19/20 to notch at any time.
While United have been suspect defensively at times this season, their opponents have failed to score in their last two outings and in four of the last six meetings between the clubs, including the last two, while they have recorded just one clean sheet in seven matches.
That makes for worrying reading considering they welcome the league’s top scorers, with Ferguson’s men notching 81 goals in 37 matches, and backing them to secure the win away from home to nil, which has been priced at 11/5, is a bet certainly worth considering.
In their last five matches against the Midlands club the Reds have scored exactly twice, which they have also managed on 11 occasions so far this term, and it is 11/5 for them to score exactly two goals at the Hawthorns.
United to be winning at half-time and full-time also looks a tempting bet at 17/10 as it would have paid out in 21 of their league matches this term, while West Brom have gone into the break trailing in their last two outings.
In their seven matches against the top four sides this term, Steve Clarke’s men have managed only one win and given the occasion for their opponents, backing a United victory to round off their championship-winning season and the Ferguson era looks the way to go.