Manchester United lift 16th league trophy

The Premier League trophy returned to Manchester United on Sunday for the first time in four years.

updated: May 16, 2007 15:53 IST
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Manchester, England:

The Premier League trophy returned to Manchester United on Sunday for the first time in four years.

United veterans Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs raised the trophy in front of more than 70,00 fans at Old Trafford as fireworks exploded behind them.

"There were times in last three years when we have been really low and inconsistent," said Neville, the United captain who has been injured for about two months. "But this year we deserved to be champions."

The team's jubilation wasn't diminished by a weakened side that lost to visiting West Ham 1-0 on the final day of the season. United manager Alex Ferguson started Sunday's match with Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Giggs on the bench.

United's 16th league title was wrapped up last Sunday after Chelsea was held to a 1-1 draw at Arsenal.

"This has been a fantastic season for our club - everyone one of us, you the supporters, the staff and these lads there have been absolutely fantastic," Ferguson told the fans after lifting the Premier League trophy for the ninth time.

"It's been a wonderful year. Thanks for your support and I hope now we can add to it next season again - and next week, let's hear you."

United could finish the season with a double if it beats Chelsea on Saturday in the FA Cup final.

United last won the Premier League in 2003. Arsenal won the title the following year, followed by two victories for Chelsea.

"I'm very happy. It's a great day for me, my family and Manchester United," Ronaldo said, accompanied by his mother Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro. "This season has been a great season for me. I've won the title and a few individual trophies. I'm very happy and I want to go on like this next season."

The trophy was carried onto the field by surviving members of Matt Busby's 1956 championship-winning team, including Wilf McGuinness, Bill Foulkes and John Doherty.

"Hopefully we won't have to wait four years to win it again," United striker Wayne Rooney said.