THE tongues were firmly stuck in over 70,000 cheeks as they belted out the words.
But the humour behind that late “United, top of the league” chant could not hide the truth.
That this season there is a buoyancy among fans you could argue is as strong as in any of the Prem campaigns that have gone before.
There has been greater conviction, of course. Greater belief they would end a season with another notch on the title bedpost.
After all, United fans have been spoilt by watching far better teams, ones that have been far superior to rivals than they are right now.
But therein lies the point.
In the past, that new- season feeling has been one of expectation. Or complacency. Or, in recent years, resignation.
This time it is different. This time there is a spring in the step.
This time there is a genuine wide-eyed hope that Old Trafford means excitement, flowing football, goals and glory.
This time there is a sense that the fun, the excitement, the passion is back.
And that the silverware will not be far behind.
It is easy now, in the mists of time, to forget the first Premier League campaign kicked off with an air of gloom around Old Trafford.
The fans were still reeling from seeing the old Division One crown gift-wrapped and hand-delivered to Leeds after a late-season collapse.
Of course, it all ended swimmingly, with a first title in over a quarter of a century for United, but it certainly did not start that way.
And in every season after that under Alex Ferguson, the fans pretty much expected a serious title charge.
So much so, it was almost deemed a failure if that was ALL they won.
Whether it was Arsenal, Chelsea or — very fleetingly — Newcastle, there was invariably only one other serious rival to see off as they marched towards — and then past — Liverpool’s then-record haul of 18 titles.
An entire generation grew up knowing nothing but an English football kingdom ruled by United — until Fergie eventually left the dugout for the final time.
Since then, there has rarely been a sniff of the summit, let alone remaining there long enough to plonk the flag.
Since then, it has always been that “mid-1980s” feel about United, that “Well, you never know” start to things while deep down knowing that it was going to be a decent cup run at best.
Until now, that is. Until Jose Mourinho’s infamous second season.
The season in which he always wins the title.
And while one swallow — or in this case, one win over a very poor West Ham side — does not make either a summer or a season, it leaves a smile on the face.
Not just the win, of course, because let’s be honest, even a side managed by Jose Carreras, never mind Jose Mourinho, would probably have beaten them. No, it was not so much the three points as the manner in which they were gained. The way United looked like the United of old.
Every attack brought the threat of a goal, every counter thrust had an air of danger.
And the crowd increasingly believed it, too.
Old Trafford, like many grounds these days, is a quieter place than in bygone times. Another example of a set of fans who have grown accustomed to success, or arrived on its coat-tails more as a result of chasing glory than following passion.
Yet as the attacks and the excitement levels mounted against West Ham, so, too, did the noise levels. The fans, you sensed, were starting to believe once more.
Starting to realise they could be in for a treat this season — both in terms or results AND performances.
Mourinho, a man whose teams have oft been labelled drab and efficient, rather than dynamic and exciting, will appreciate the irony.