The great former manager, who guided Manchester United to incredible glory from 1986 to 2013, was in the stands to see Pep Guardiola’s side destroy Erik ten Hag’s club in the latest Manchester derby.
Unlike several United fans who left the stadium at halftime when their team fell behind 4-0, Ferguson stayed to the bitter finish.
Man United may have salvaged some pride in the second half by scoring three goals – one from summer signing Antony and two from substitute Anthony Martial – but it was still a humiliating afternoon for everyone affiliated with the Red Devils.
Several times during the 90-minute game, the cameras cut to Ferguson, who was sitting in the stands.
The expression on the 80-year-face, old’s as well as that of his former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who was one of United’s unused replacements at the Etihad, told it all.
Guy Mowbray was on Match of the Day 2 commentary, and his words when Ferguson appeared on screen after Phil Foden made it 4-0 to City on the stroke of half-time went viral on social media.
Mowbray said: “Manchester City have four before half-time. The football is breathtaking.
“There are big gaps appearing in the away end. There are people leaving the away end. They’re not going for half-time refreshment here. They’re going to drown their sorrows elsewhere.
“Sir Alex Ferguson was asked in 2009 if City could ever go into a derby as favourites. He said ‘not in my lifetime’… now it’s every time.”
Watch the clip here.
As Mowbray said on commentary, Ferguson did indeed say “not in my lifetime” back in September 2009 after being asked if United would ever go into a Manchester derby as underdogs.
Per The Independent’s Ian Herbert, Ferguson waited at least 15 seconds before responding to the press conference question.
“What time is it?” Ferguson eventually replied. “I think it is time for me to leave.”
As he rose to his feet, Ferguson then added: “Not in my lifetime.
Thirteen years later and the power-shift that seemed impossible in Ferguson’s eyes is now complete.
Foden and the unstoppable Erling Haaland, who has turned City into an even more formidable force, both scored hat-tricks during Sunday’s rout.