OLD TRAFFORD, MANCHESTER—It was a bad day for the "Moyes Out" campaign.
And it ended with United scoring four goals, collecting three points and the Stretford End applauding David Moyes as he walked down the tunnel.
The United manager even lingered for a moment in front of the fans as if to say "thank you."
It was a game that showed perfectly the dilemma facing United fans.
Most are still not in favour of Moyes carrying on as manager. They have already reached their breaking point.
But they want to go about things in a way befitting the club they support.
They haven't yet reached the point where they feel the need to sing "You're getting sacked in the morning".
And the majority didn't agree with hiring a plane to fly over Old Trafford with a “Moyes Out” message. It was a gesture organised by a very small minority.
In the eyes of many United fans it was the type of thing you might see at another club. But not United.
When the plane did finally arrive, about five minutes after kick-off, it was greeted by a mixture of boos and singing in support of the manager.
That quickly drained away when Ashley Westwood gave Villa the lead with a well taken free-kick.
But by the final whistle, United had hit back with four of their own.
And during the second half, the United fans sang "you can stick your banner up your a--e" and "David Moyes' red and white army".
It will take more than a home win over Aston Villa to convince many of them that Moyes is the right man for the job.
There are tougher tests to come in the next month with two games against Bayern Munich, Everton away and Newcastle away.
But the planned protest during the game against Villa appeared only to back-fire.
During this disappointing campaign, the match-going fans have handled themselves with a huge amount of class.
They are clearly unhappy. And never more so than after the humiliating defeat to Manchester City on Tuesday night.
But they want things done the right way. And not once has there been a collective out-pouring of anger.
They don't want the odd fan speaking for the majority by organising crass stunts. Simply put, it's not very United.
Moyes might yet lose his job. He might yet lose it before the season is out.
But the United fans ensured against Aston Villa that, during this difficult time, the club can maintain its dignity. Its class.
It was perhaps a bigger victory than the one they watched unfold on the pitch.
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