Michael Carrick turned back the clock with a virtuoso passing display that put Manchester United on course for victory and reminded fans how much they will miss him.
On a day of goodbyes at Old Trafford, the 36-year-old chipped a magnificent 50-yard pass after 34 minutes that landed on the boot of Juan Mata.
He skilfully squared the ball slightly behind him for the on-rushing Marcus Rashford to drive it into an open goal.
It was a fitting reminder, on Carrick’s first league start of the season, just how much Jose Mourinho’s side has missed that kind of defence-splitting passing this season.
It also helped remind younger fans just how Carrick has become one of the legends of the Premier League era in his dozen years at the club.
Five league titles, three League Cups, an FA Cup, each of the two European trophies – it is no accident that Carrick has become one of the modern game’s most decorated, and probably under-appreciated, stars.
Mourinho tried to correct that lack of appreciation on Carrick’s farewell, naming him skipper and both sets of players gave him a deserved guard of honour onto the pitch before kick-off.
And, on the final whistle, Carrick took hold of a microphone to thank United supporters who have seen him play over 460 times for their club.
But Carrick may not have been the only United player to be saying adieu to the club given yet more speculation surrounding the future of French international Anthony Martial.
Yesterday was also the end of Mourinho’s own special partnership with coach Rui Faria who is now leaving United to look for a job as a manager in his own right after 17 years alongside Jose.
Carrick, of course, is moving onto United’s coaching staff and if he can coach half as well as he can pass, Mourinho could do far worse than immediately appoint him in Faria’s place.
The Carrick appreciation day at least gave some meaning to an otherwise meaningless last day affair that saw Mourinho rest most of his front line stars ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup Final.
One of the stand-ins, keeper Sergio Romero, made the most of a rare chance with a stunning diving save to keep out Richarlison’s header that was bound for the corner late in the first half.
And Gerard Deulofeu’s follow-up shot from the corner was aimed straight at United’s deputy keeper.
The second half offered even less in terms of goalmouth action with Alexis Sanchez’s far-post cross almost finding Mata in one rare moment of excitement.
And the unimpressive Marcos Rojo almost gifted Watford an equaliser when his poor pass was charged down by Will Hughes only to bounce to Andre Gray in an offside position.
At least the lack of on-field action allowed United fans to remember former boss Sir Alex Ferguson, currently recovering following last weekend’s brain surgery.
The entire Old Trafford crowd stood in his honour, chanting “Stand up for Alex Ferguson” midway through the second half.
Abdoulaye Doucoure rose to meet Jose Holebas’s late corner although his effort lacked power and offered Romero a comfortable save.
And six minutes from time Mourinho was able to offer Carrick one last moment in the spotlight as he took him off, replacing him with Paul Pogba, to a massive ovation from United and Watford fans alike.