James Wilson scored either side of half-time, instinctive but composed finishes that belied his 18 years, before Robin van Persie added a third after Matty Fryatt had pulled back a goal for Hull.
Wilson is surely one for the future, but what about United’s heroes of the past?
It was farewell to Nemanja Vidic, the captain who will join Inter Milan in the summer, while Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra were left out of the squad. Both are out of contract in the summer.
And what next for Ryan Giggs, the interim player-manager? He came on for the last 20 minutes and that also felt like goodbye.
Giggs’ future will, most likely, depend on who United choose as their next manager.
Louis Van Gaal is expected to be named as David Moyes’ permanent successor and could be announced within the next seven days, before starting his preparations for the World Cup with Holland on Wednesday next week.
Giggs worked under Moyes as player-coach but Van Gaal’s intentions are not known. Giggs is understood to want to continue as a player but any extension to his rolling contract would be dependent on the new manager.
In an emotional address to Old Trafford after the final whistle, Giggs said: “You’ve seen a glimpse of the future. We always give youth a chance and we try to play attractive football.
“Keep supporting us. The good times will come back soon.
“We know it’s been tough this season and we’ve been spoiled with what we’ve enjoyed so far this year.
“Your support has never changed and I’m sure the coming years will bring you more success.”
Vidic started on the bench alongside Giggs, while Wilson was joined in the team by Tom Lawrence, a fellow debutant. It felt like an impromptu testimonial.
Steve Bruce’s visitors, preparing for their FA Cup final date with Arsenal on May 17, obliged by allowing United to control proceedings without overly exerting themselves and the new boys had United’s first sights of goal.
If Giggs’ intention was to treat Vidic to a late goodbye cameo appearance, the plan went out of the window when Phil Jones was hurt in a clash with Maynor Figueroa.
Jones left the field nursing his left arm and was take to hospital for X-rays while the match was in progress, an unwelcome development with World Cup duty with England on the horizon.
Nine minutes after club captain Vidic entered the fray, United were ahead.
An Adnan Januzaj cross was met by a downward header from Maourane Fellaini and this time there was no one in the way to block Wilson’s instinctive finish.
Hull spent long periods struggling to escape their own defensive third, let alone their half, and Shane Long, alone up front, cut a frustrated figure.
Bruce won plenty during his nine years as a player at Old Trafford but has never won there as a visiting manager.
In an effort to break that 16-year record, he sent on strikers Matty Fryatt and Yannick Sabo, but still his side struggled to impose themselves and United soon doubled their lead.
Januzaj skipped beyond a lunge from Curtis Davies and crossed to Fellaini. His side-foot shot was parried by Eldin Jakupovic but Wilson was lurking to fire in the rebound.
Two minutes later, Hull halved the deficit with a goal out of nowhere. George Boyd’s pass infield found Fryatt, who rode a challenge before letting fly with a stunning strike from 25 yards.
Then came the moment most had been waiting for. Giggs entered action for his 963rd appearance and, while a full-stretch save from Jakupovic denied him a fairytale goal, the 40-year-old chipped in with an assist.
His low pass found Van Persie 15 yards out and the Dutch striker drilled his low shot home at the second attempt.
HULL: Jakupovic 7; Davies 5, Bruce 6, Figueroa 6; Elmohamady 6 (Livermore, 82), Meyler 6, Boyd 6, Quinn 6, Rosenior 6 (Sagbo, 46, 6); Koren 6; Long 6 (Fryatt, 46, 7).
MANCHESTER UNITED: De Gea 7; Valencia 6, Jones 6 (Vidic, 22, 7), Smalling 6, Buttner 6; Carrick 6, Fellaini 5; Januzaj 8, Kagawa 6, Lawrence 7 (Giggs, 70, 6); Wilson 8 (Van Persie, 63, 7).
Referee: Craig Pawson.