Rooney, with his side trailing, was introduced after 67 minutes and rifled home a truly magnificent free-kick deep into injury time.
The captain’s late strike – which, it should be noted, extended Man United’s unbeaten streak to 17 games – ensured that Charlton’s club record was finally surpassed after 43 years.
Sir Alex, in what was a rare public statement, heaped praise on Rooney for reaching the historic milestone.
“I would like to say huge congratulations to Wayne on reaching this milestone,” he said.
“It is no mean feat to score so many goals and he breaks a record that has stood for over 40 years.
“Wayne thoroughly deserves his place in the history books of this great club and I am sure that he will go on to score many more goals.
“Well done Wayne, I am absolutely delighted for you, you have been a great servant to this club and long may it continue.”
Football often fosters the emergence of unsavoury, unnecessary aspects of life: things like corruption, slander, fighting, financial extravagance and general vitriol are indeed prevalent in today’s game.
But every once in a while a genuine fairy-tale emerges – the type of story that could only happen within the realms of the beautiful game. And Rooney’s milestone is something of a perfect example: brought to the club aged 18, a hat-trick on his debut, and now the club’s – and England’s – all time top goalscorer.
Such a story is only possible at United, a club that still holds dear Sir Alex’s legacy of longevity and making the impossible possible, and supporters – in spite of their current stance on Rooney – ought to appreciate what the 31-year-old has done for this club over the years.