United are on the brink of going clear of their greatest rivals with title No19.
"Nobody mentioned how many titles we had won, or how far ahead we were. None of us thought we would ever stop winning. We certainly didn’t think anyone would beat that record, not in our lifetime.
“We never thought anyone could knock us off our perch.
"I remember being asked in a BBC radio interview about my ambitions for the future straight after lifting the trophy in front of the Kop. I simply said that I hoped I played 13 games the following season, so that I would be given another championship medal. That was the mentality: the title was ours that year, and would be the next year too.
"The idea of anyone catching us was unthinkable, not even Manchester United.
“They were not even a factor. We were light years ahead — 18 titles to their seven — though nobody would have thought to mention the numbers. It did not matter how many they had to win. We would just get further ahead.
"In truth, Sir Alex Ferguson had achieved his stated aim of knocking Liverpool off their perch long before yesterday’s victory over Chelsea effectively handed United that record 19th title, but anyone with affection for Anfield will still find the sight of Nemanja Vidic lifting the Premier League trophy — most likely at Blackburn on Saturday — hard to bear.
"That is testament to how intense the rivalry between Manchester and Merseyside is. Just as United’s fans found it hard to give Liverpool credit when we were the pre-eminent force, there will be little credit where it is due for Ferguson’s achievement from Anfield.
"Instead, Liverpool’s fans will concentrate on the one record they have left: five European Cups to United’s three. And even that may be cut by one at the end of the month.
"There is scant solace for Liverpool supporters this morning. Kenny Dalglish has overseen a remarkable transformation in the club’s fortunes, but it is unrealistic to suggest they are capable of challenging, let alone beating, United to the title next season.
"Even worse, there is no prospect of Ferguson retiring any time soon. When he eventually decides to go, it will be a considerable relief to clubs up and down the country, but there is no reason why he should do so now.
“He will not see anything to suggest he will not be as successful next season as he was this. He will not want to stop at 19. He will be after 20, 21 and 22.
“Only an outstanding team will be able to stop him doing that.”