United had looked stylish as they romped into a dream Champions League final against Barcelona at Wembley in May.
However, 90 chastening minutes later and a glum Ferguson was left to ponder a 3-1 defeat that exposed the gulf between the English champions and the Spanish giants, who celebrated their second win in the competition in three seasons.
United’s hopes of returning to avenge their defeat in the 2011-2012 competition were dashed in the group stage, with the club bundled out after a defeat by FC Basel in December which left them in third place.
City, too, fell at the first hurdle in the Champions League, eliminated after finishing behind Bayern Munich and Napoli.
Meanwhile, the closing months of this year were dominated by the twin racism controversies embroiling Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, and Chelsea and England captain John Terry.
Suarez was hit with an eight-match ban by the FA for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, allegations that the Uruguayan international and his club, Liverpool, strongly deny.
Terry, meanwhile, faces a court battle to clear his name next year, after the bombshell announcement on Dec. 21 that he had been formally charged with hurling racist abuse at Queen Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand during a match at Loftus Road.