After Manchester City tweeted in support of Alex Ferguson on Saturday, the mood at the Etihad was celebratory from start to finish yesterday as the coronation of Pep Guardiola’s champions should be.
But, while it took three weeks for City captain Vincent Kompany to finally get his hands on his third Premier League trophy, the winners appeared to be Huddersfield who got a priceless goalless draw.
A strong showing from the struggling visitors earned a valuable point, which may be enough to keep them in the league next season.
They also kept at bay the bid by the runaway champions to set new league records for the most goals, points and wins in a season – all marks which could yet be claimed in the season’s final week during which they play Brighton and Southampton.
After a delay due to a pitch invasion by the supporters, Guardiola and his team were presented with the trophy, the third country in which he has managed a team to a title following successes in Spain and Germany with Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively.
Post-match, the Spaniard issued a challenge to his men to retain their league title for the first time in their history next season.
“England is a special place and is so tough. Today we saw it,” he told BBC Sport.
“To make back-to-back titles in this league will be tough, but we accept the challenge.”
City favourite Yaya Toure, 34, who will be leaving the club in the summer, was also feted by supporters and his team-mates.
“It’s very special… we fully deserve it this year. This group is younger and full of energy and enthusiasm. It is fantastic to be part of this team,” the Ivorian said.
The celebrations for City’s third title in seven seasons began well before kick-off, both inside and outside their home ground.
Supporters were issued with blue and white flags, creating a colourful vista to greet the champions as they were given yet another guard of honour on their way onto the field before the start of the game.
They were also met by the survivors of City’s famous 1968 championship-wining side, a squad led so memorably by legends Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee who were all on hand to receive an emotional welcome from fans.
A City side who had been held goalless in just one previous league game – a draw at Crystal Palace on New Year’s Eve – created chances, but Huddersfield otherwise defended manfully.
And Guardiola’s heartfelt congratulations to his opposite number David Wagner after the final whistle demonstrated the importance of the point to the Terriers, who now join Everton and Manchester United as the only sides to have avoided a league defeat at City’s ground this term.