• Departing manager speaks to crowd after win against Swansea
• Your job now is to stand by the new manager, Ferguson says
Sir Alex Ferguson bowed out in his final home game as Manchester United manager with a 2-1 win over Swansea City before thanking everyone for the "most fantastic experience of my life" and imploring fans to get behind his successor, David Moyes. "Your job now is to stand by our new manager. That is important," Ferguson said on what was a momentous afternoon.
The departing manager also confirmed that Wayne Rooney, left out of the match-day squad, had asked for a transfer but this has been refused. He did state, though, that it is now Moyes's decision whether the striker will stay at United.
After Ferguson entered to a guard of honour, the Scot saw his side defeat Swansea thanks to a late winner from Rio Ferdinand following a Javier Hernández goal that had been cancelled out by Michu.
Standing on the pitch, Ferguson told the crowd: "I have absolutely no script in my mind. I'm just going to ramble on and hope I get to the core of what this football club has meant to me. Thank you to Manchester United, not just the directors, coaching staff, medical staff, the players, the fans, all of you – you have been the most fantastic experience of my life, so thank you. I've been very fortunate. I have been able to manage some of the greatest players in the country, let alone Manchester United.
"All the players here today have represented this club the proper way. They won the championship in a fantastic fashion, so well done to the players."
When the players received their championship medals, Ferguson hugged every one as they walked past but for Rooney there was only a formal pat on the shoulder.
Of the forward's transfer request, the Scot said later: "We have refused it. I think he should go away and think about it again. He wasn't happy about being brought off in games this season. Wayne Rooney in top form wouldn't be taken off."
Asked whether the Liverpudlian will stay at United, Ferguson added: "It's not my decision now."
Ferguson also claimed that Rooney himself did not want to feature against Swansea. "I don't think Wayne was keen to play, simply because he has asked for a transfer," he said. "I think he wants to think it through in his mind and I think that is a good idea. But we are not going to let him go. I just think he is a maybe bit frustrated about being taken off once or twice in the last few weeks."
Sky television's pundit Gary Neville, a former team-mate of Rooney, said: "He has an agent [Paul Stretford] and he has got friends – they need to give him advice that this is the only club he should be playing at. He has not been himself over these last couple of months, you can see there is something wrong, he wears his heart on his sleeve. However if he has seen what has happened here today, that reception before the game, as he was sat up there in that box and looked around him, he's 27 years of age, there is nowhere to go from here, believe me.
"I've seen players join Real Madrid and other great clubs in Europe and they always want to come back to this club. So I would hope that Rooney settles down over the summer – Sir Alex Ferguson has said he is not leaving this club – that he gets his head down and that he brings himself back. Players have ups and downs, it's a rollercoaster if you play for this club for 20 years it's a not a bed of roses at times, you have your ups and downs."
The manager reminded United fans of difficult times he experienced during the opening years of his tenure after he joined in 1986. "I'd also like to remind you that when I had bad times here the club stood by me. All my staff stood by me, the players stood by me, you stood by me, and your job now is to stand by our new manager. That is important."
Ferguson, drawing an end to a total of 39 years in management, also threw fresh light on why he is stepping down, telling Sky Sports: "I decided to retire last Christmas. Things changed when my wife Cathy's sister died. She has lost her best friend, her sister.
"Also, I wanted to go out a winner. It was very difficult: there were times when we sometimes blurted it out to the family. We told our sons in March. My brother didn't even know until Tuesday."