Rooney riches leave United in his debt

Manchester United 4 Hull City 0

Wayne Rooney did not exactly lift United into first place in the Premier League single-handed, but he did so with the statutory minimum of help from his friends.

United were indebted to Rooney and his four goals for distracting from their £700m debt under the hated Glazer regime which has come to light in recent weeks. When he completed his most productive game yet for the Reds with three strikes late in what had been shaping as an awkward afternoon, being in the red suddenly seemed not too bad.

With typically Fergusonian logic, their manager dismissed the financial revelations as "stirred up in the media". It was not the despised media, however, who handed out the song-sheets for the renditions of "We want Glazer out" that rang around Old Trafford until Rooney's efforts concentrated attention on the common cause.

"I thought we started well, but took our foot off the pedal a bit," Ferguson said. "But you have to give credit to Hull for the way they kept going."

In fact, City, who showed dogged persistence in ignoring their own difficulties with their former chairman Paul Duffen, accused in court by the club of taking bungs last week, threatened to spoil the party just once, when substitute Kamel Ghilas sent a shot through a crowded area on the turn past the post with the score still at a precarious 1-0.

Rooney's response to that was three goals in 11 minutes, two of them owing a good deal to the work of the oft-derided Nani, surely enjoying his best game yet for United. The effect was to take the focus away from the Glazers, although the United hard-core support need as much "stirring up" on that subject as Carlos Tevez at the mention of Gary Neville.

Hull's Phil Brown said: "I didn't think there was enough belief that we could come here and get something." Brown was not helped by an error-prone performance from his goal-keeper, Boaz Myhill, who had been so magnificent at Tottenham a week earlier. As he acknowledged, however, Rooney's constant attentions forced plenty of other players into mistakes as well.

Some of Hull's most interesting work took place not on the pitch at all, but just off it. First there was Craig Fagan, cleaning out the assistant referee with a shoulder charge of ice hockey proportions that put him literally into the front row of the stands. Then there was the sight of Nick Barmby on the touchline, not warming up in preparation for going on, but warming down after coming off. You can't be too careful in the twilight of your career and it at least gave him a close-up view of Rooney's late rampage.

Brown made the valid point that it is not games at Old Trafford that will define Hull's season, but the run of three home games they have coming up, against Wolves, Chelsea and Manchester City. United's will be defined in the short term by their Carling Cup semi-final second leg against City on Wednesday.

One reassuring factor was that Rio Ferdinand came smoothly enough through his first game since succumbing to back trouble in October. He was helped in his comeback by a strong performance from Jonny Evans, the young defender who has grown in stature in the captain's absence, evidence of a depth of talent that managers such as Brown can only envy.

Manchester United (4-4-2): Van der Sar; Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra (Fabio 88); Nani, Fletcher, Scholes (Gibson 72), Park; Rooney, Owen (Berbatov 72). Substitutes not used: Kuszczak (gk), Brown, Carrick, Valencia.

Hull City (4-5-1): Myhill; McShane, Zayatte, Gardner, Dawson; Garcia (Kilbane 74), Geovanni (Ghilas 69), Boateng, Barmby (Mendy 57), Hunt; Fagan. Substitutes not used: Duke (gk), Mouyokolo, Carney, Vennegoor of Hesselink

Referee: S Bennett (Kent). Booked: ManchesterUnited: Rooney. Hull: Fagan Man of the match: Rooney. Attendance: 73,933.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution