The dust has settled, the mainstream tributes have poured in - both knowledgeable and hamfisted - and he's away. Sralex Ferguson - to childishly both respect and denigrate the man's premature honouring - announced his retirement from the managership of Manchester United several weeks ago.
I was shocked. The signs were there earlier in the season - the Wembley Champions League final a tantalising potential farewell, the desperate ambition to wrestle the Premier League title from Manchester City, the distressed reaction to missing out on one and composed satisfaction in securing the other - but they only appeared in hindsight. Ferguson was surely to perish in the line of duty, Lord willing not pitchside like his mentor and friend Jock Stein, but in gainful managerial employment all the same. He was "too old to retire".