7. Go to a United match

Work had put out an interest circular for a week of testing a new system in Manchester. I checked the dates and there was a United match at Old Trafford on that week so I applied immediately. A few other work chums had the same idea and luckily for us we were the only ones who applied.

Once I got confirmation I was going I was straight onto the United website to check availability of tickets. Thankfully, they were playing the mighty force of Otelul Galati, therefore it wouldn’t sell out (we only got word we were going a week before!). The consensus between was was to go for the cheapest tickets together. I went online that night and booked them for the East Stand.
I was very exited! Though being the glass half empty type, I wasn’t going to be confident until I was sitting in my seat (the same sort ofway I was when I got my Grand Prix tickets). The tickets were to be posted the next day and were to be posted to my billing address (my folks house) and there was a chance I wouldn’t receive them before I flew out, luckily I could get duplicates over there if need be.

The Friday before we flew out we had a meeting with the people organising the testing. It was mainly about what work entailed that week and blah blah blah… but more importantly we would find out about accomondation etc. Earlier in the week we had been told we were staying in the Ramada in Salford (approx 1.5miles from Old Trafford), but during the meeting they found out that it was booked up and they were trying to get a booking at Premier Inn Old Trafford.

We got back to the office and looked it up. It was even closer to the stadium! By the end of the day we got confirmation the hotel was booked and got our flight detials! Plus I got word that my tickets arrived at home. It all was falling into place!

Monday came and after a few pints in the hotel bar we boarded our George Best plane. Later on we arrived at the hotel and to our suprise Old Trafford was literally across the road! I could even see it from my hotel room! Hotel was great to. At the stair case there were photographs of United greats such as Nicky Butt, Raymond Van der Gogh etc

Room with a view

Wednesday came and after work we walked around the stadium for a bit and it was already starting to get busy. Had a walk around the mega store which was bunged. The scarf sellers, fanzine sellers and burger vans were getting ready already and some people were just walking about. We all headed back to the hotel to freshen up and reconvined some time later.

When we headed back it was even busier. Got some gravy chips from a halariously named chip van and bought a “Manchester United v Otelul Galati” scarf. Got a programme too and hung about outside the stadium for a bit.

When waiting for the gates to open I Thai man came up to me with a microphone and his mate with a camera and asked me “for a couple of questions”. Who was I to refuse?

Camera was pointed at the crest of my jersey and zoomed out to me and the interviewer. He spoke some random Thai and then asked me “How do you feel about the match?”
Me :”erm.. very excited.. can’t wait..”
Interviewer: “What will the score be?”
Me: “four nil”
Interviewer: “Who will score?”
Me: “Rooney and Hernandez” (my predictions were half right)
The interviewer tried to close his piece but I think I ruined it by talking to him and walking away.

He then came back to me and said they had the only United Fanzine in Thailand and asked me to pose with it for a photo. Once again I duley obliged.

Photo by @alistairnicholl

So I’m now famous in Thailand. Probably.

Soon after the gates opened and we went into the stadium to our seats. There were people walking on the pitch in suits, possibly Otelul Galati players, but couldn’t make out for sure. Checked twitter for team sheets and was excited to see three forwards (Didn’t realise Rooney would be in Midfield) and expected a goal fest! The stadium then started to slowly fill up and as it got fuller my 3G got slower!

As I had a bit of time before kick off I went and got a pie (I didn’t want to wait to half time less I be part of the prawn sandwhich brigade!). Peppered steak. Very tasty. While I ate it I watched MUTV on one of the televisions.

Back in the stand and the Galati players came out to warm up to cheers to their tiny section of noisey supporters, and indifference to the home fans. The players seemed to appriciate the fact they traveled from Romania to see them and walked to the away section and applaued. The United players soon followed for their warm up and there were cheers for them.

After the warm ups a giant Champions League logo was placed in the centre circle and soon it was announced the players were in the tunnel. The teams came out and lined up for the Champions League anthem. Goosebumps! I tried singing along, but I don’t have the range!

The match got underway and within ten minutes there was a goal at our end! Excellent! Sadly it wasn’t a sign of a goal fest as the rest of the game was a scappy affair. I’m not a reporter so read a Match report here or here. I remember getting annoyed at Berbatov a few times and Johnny Evans the whole way through, however was mightily impressed with Phil Jones.

Wasn’t very loud at our end either though throughout a group of kids infront of us kept singing the Wayne Rooney/White Pelé song, I wouldn’t have minded but it was only that. I did enjoy a rendition of “Park, Park, wherever you may be..” when Park came on! Another person, who was at the testing with us, was at the Stretford end insisted they were singing the whole game.

It wasn’t a classic and will probably be forgotten by most who watched it but as it was my first time at a game I won’t forget.

Afterwards I got back to the hotel and watched the end of the City game ITV were showing and watched the hilights later on in my choice of nightware. ITV’s hilights consisted of barely three minutes of the game. Useless fuckers! Infairness there were not that many hilights of that game but then why have pundits talk shite for ages and show loads of adverts..? Fucking useless!


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