Can you hear us Ferguson? read the banner, fluttering boldly in the stiff Manchester breeze. Rest assured, he can hear.
All season the noisy neighbours, as the United boss rather dismissively called them last season, have been building up to Monday night, the night when they painted the town blue.
Albert Square hasn’t seen a City victory parade since 1976, but they made up for it with an outpouring of joy and sweet anticipation.
The timing wasn’t great, held on a Monday teatime, when many Blues were struggling to make it to the city centre after work.
But they came in their droves, packing the famous old square, their flags, banners, scarves – and bananas, naturally – waves in a sea of excitement.
Many of the flags carried the legend “The City is Ours”, always a bone of contention between Reds and Blues.
But even the most ardent United fan could deny that – even if it was for one day – City held the day.
Fans began pouring into Albert Square from mid-afternoon and as the anticipation built, every sighting of a face at the windows of the town hall brought cheers.
One tall, young, blond TV technician covering a press conference was regaled with chants of “England’s number one”.
Middle-aged men who were in short trousers in 1976 hoisted their own kids high onto their shoulders, urging them to remember this moment.
Bitter experience has taught them that you have to store up such warm moments, hold them close and cherish them through the barren years.
You get the feeling now that those kids might just have a few more of these days and nights of ecstasy in the years ahead.
The connection with the past was always there. Some wore red-and-black striped shirts and scarves, a tribute to the late Neil Young and to Malcolm Allison, who would have both heartily approved.
Fans of a certain vintage reminisced about ’76, how Tommy Booth had dragged a reluctant Colin Bell to the windows of the town hall to salute the fans who chanted his name.
The injured Bell had missed the final through injury, and ever the shy, retiring type, wanted to leave the celebrations to the men who had played at Wembley.
BBC Radio Manchester commentator Ian Cheesman, as Blue as they come, had a poignant tale to tell.
In 1976, his mum knitted him a scarf which, as an excited 16-year-old, he wore proudly at Wembley as City lifted the League Cup.
His mum passed away the following year.
This year, he gave the same scarf to his 15-year-old son Daniel to wear as the Blues beat Stoke and ended the long wait. The circle was complete.
Such tales of bittersweet memory were many in the throngs who gathered to watch a seminal moment in City’s history
The swag men were also out in force, dodging the police and selling their flags and scarves. Their suppliers have broken out the sky-blue dye from the storeroom after a 20-year run on red.
United fans have been busy getting in the last few jokes they can shoehorn into the situation, of course.
“Flights have been grounded by a dust cloud above Manchester, but City say they are sorry but they had to open the trophy room sooner or later,” was a favourite.
The gags are getting thinner and weaker, and will soon be consigned to a museum, alongside the old “35 years” banner.
Then at 5.35, the expectation moved up a couple of notches as two Fingland’s coaches, followed by two Mercedes people carriers, appeared on Mount Street and turned in at the side of the town hall.
Minutes later the fans got their first glimpse as players signed charity shirts in a first floor room, some venturing to the window to wave to the cheering crowds below.
Inside the town hall, Vincent Kompany, double Player of the Year and all-round hero, wandered down the Gothic corridors holding the FA Cup as if it were a baby, and talking with the kind of authority and inspiration of which the great orator and statesman John Bright, whose statue gazed down on the masses, would have approved.
The fans struck up a chorus of Blue Moon – once the deafening PA music had been switched off and they could hear themselves think – to welcome the players as they emerged from the front doors to board the open-topped bus.
The only man missing was Mario Balotelli, for reasons unknown, although the club line is that he was not there for family reasons.
But the striker did receive some good news following confirmation that he had been recalled to the Italian national squad for their Euro 2012 qualifier against Estonia next month.
Amid the heady scenes of joy, the happiest man in Manchester appeared to be Carlos Tevez, who – rumour had it – had already flown out to Buenos Aires in the afternoon, snubbing the parade.
That turned out to be nonsense, as he emerged from the town hall, he and Wembley goalscorer Yaya Toure carrying the FA Cup between them, and beaming from ear to ear.
The Argentine ace perched himself at the back of the bus, hoisting the Cup, bedecked with two scarves – one blue and white, the other red and black – and grinning until his face almost split.
If anything can persuade him to stay, this was it.