As the two teams walked out onto the pitch ahead of kick-off, the lower half of the Stretford End was partly covered with an early birthday wish for him.
The banner featured an image of the Scotsman in his prime as United boss along with the message ‘Happy 80th Sir Alex’, a landmark which he is celebrating on New Year’s Eve.
TV cameras caught him smiling at the gesture as the banner was passed around the stand by the United faithful.
And Sir Alex was smiling once again just a matter of minutes later when his fellow countryman Scott McTominay scored an early opener.
The former boss applauded the goal with a grin on his face, with fans at home calling it another early present for him.
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McTominay said after the match: “Legend of the game, I’ve got a lot to thank him for so happy birthday to him.”
His finish provided early relief for an under-pressure United side after their poor outing last time out at Newcastle.
And they gave Sir Alex and the rest of their fans in attendance an impressive first-half performance, racing into a 3-0 lead.
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Ben Mee’s own goal was followed soon after by a strike from another Fergie favourite, Cristiano Ronaldo, who added to his assist for McTominay.
Aaron Lennon got a goal back for Sean Dyche’s Clarets before half-time.
But the visitors were unable to reduce the deficit further after the restart, while United didn’t add to the scoreline in the second half either.
The Red Devils therefore secured not only three points, but a further 80th birthday present for Sir Alex.