So the death bell from the church of Old Trafford rang out aloud on Monday night, as social media exploded with news and rumour.
By Tuesday morning he was gone. An era exterminated before it had a chance to catastrophically fail.
David Moyes' short tenure will always be remembered as a disaster and a mistake. The final roll of Sir Alex Ferguson's dice did not come up with two sixes, and what appeared as a huge gamble in appointing the former Everton boss was proved as a fatal error of judgement.
If this had been one of Fergie's horses running in a big race, the result card would simply read: "Fell at the first fence."
In hindsight, it is easy to individually criticise Sir Alex and Moyes, and also the supporting cast of Ed Woodward and the Glazer family, but it was the toxic combination of all of these elements that has seen United fall to its knees since winning the league championship just twelve months ago.
Fergie's vision of a future Manchester United was one built in his own image, with his man at the helm while he travelled the world as the Godfather of the football club, with the Phil Nevilles and Nicky Butts scurrying around Carrington, all united together and driving forward his dynasty with Moyes.
But grand plans rarely work if the cornerstones are fundamentally flawed.
Moyes was the wrong man for the job. The board did not buy him the players he needed, and Woodward is no David Gill.
Now Ryan Giggs is in charge with Paul Scholes at his side, and as United fans we are drunk on a cocktail made in 1992. There is no real pressure on Giggsy as we complete a season of misery, but at least the future does not look like a post Sir Matt Busby apocalypse, as it did in the 1970s.
United must now move for a manager who is everything that Moyes was not. They need a technician. They need a man with tactical acumen. They need an experienced head who knows how the biggest clubs in the world operate. And they need someone who is available.
Louis van Gaal has won everything in football. He has won domestic league championships seven times in his career with four different clubs in Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.
Van Gaal was also the architect of the revival of Barcelona after four years without a La Liga crown, and he put the building blocks in place for the modern Bayern Munich we see today. Their current dominance in Europe came from his philosophy and ideas.
The one thing missing from Van Gaal's CV is the Premier League title, and at 62 years old his chances of adding this will decrease sharply in quick time.
But United and himself are a perfect marriage. They both need each other to fulfill their current aspirations.
One of the problems Moyes faced was living in the shadow of Ferguson, and finding a way to win. He has never known trophy success, yet was expected to control a set of players awash with medals and winning egos.
Van Gaal will have no such issues. He is Fergie's equal. He will not need guidance or hand-holding. He will not have to convince new signings that he is a legitimate leader, as Moyes would have had to, because the proof is cemented in football history.
Yes, United's board would probably love a Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho at this present time, but Van Gaal is no second-class citizen in comparison.
As a club, United have to evolve now and not continue purely trying to conform to Ferguson's idealism. His status as a director should not influence the team's playing style. Van Gaal will help United move toward this progression, even if his stay at the club is not long-term.
As he did at Barca and Bayern, he can install the attacking flair that the fans demand whilst also laying the foundation for a generation of success. He would make United a collective again rather than a team of individuals, rotating around the axis of Wayne Rooney, like planets orbiting a frozen sun.
Robin van Persie would thrive under Van Gaal, playing for a coach who understands him and the world-class finishing he can provide better than any other player at United. Juan Mata would also excel in the Dutch manager's preferred 4-3-3 system.
The positives are clear in hiring Van Gaal to be the next manager of Manchester United, with the negatives being few and far between: Yes, he will be at the World Cup finals over the next few weeks, but so will most of the best players in the world.
Should Louis van Gaal be the next manager of Manchester United?
The planning and organisation needed for the next few years will not be impacted by this. Rome was not built in a day.
The next managerial appointment by the Glazers will identify which direction they wish United to go over the next decade. Do they really want success on the pitch? Or do they just want the next big sponsorship deal, with as cheap a wage bill as they possibly can muster?
If they want success and trophies, they will employ Van Gaal. They will allow him the funds to craft a new Manchester United that conforms to the highest of continental standards, rather than one that lives in the past as its major organs slowly start to fail.
As Liverpool prepare to go "Back to the Future" and win their 19th league championship in the coming weeks, it will be once again down to Manchester United to knock them off their newly acquired perch.