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Published: August 29th 2011
Wayne Rooney stunner -dead ball top corner - thanks for coming!
Today shapes up to be one of our most exciting of our trip; we have VIP match and Europa Lounge tickets for Manchester v Arsenal at the most famous of football grounds Old Trafford.
Manchester is about one and a half hours from Skipton and In order to try and avoid the worst of the traffic we got away early - about 9 o’clock. Rather than battle through the city centre and pre/post match traffic we headed for Altrincham a suburb 15 minutes from Old Trafford with free car parking and direct tram links to Old Trafford. All went to plan and we hopped off the tram walked up the street past the cricket ground (and the match day roadside stalls) towards Old Trafford – and there it was! Dominating the skyline, a massive stadium - it was a real buzz just standing outside soaking up the environment.
We picked up our tickets from the marketing/admin block, no problems at all just needed to show ID, and had a bit of a wander around the outside of the Stadium. There were a number of tributes to the players who lost their lives in the 1958
Super choice -including authentic replica shirts for all the first team players, plus a huge range of other merchandise. This sort of shopping I don't mind at all!
Munich air disaster. Made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Then it was off to the Super Store of a bit of a shop, got a Manchester United playing shirt (Vidic 15), some socks for Terence and a few other bits and pieces. As you would expect there’s just a massive range of merchandise for sale.
Then it was up through the Directors Entrance to our venue for the day- the Europa Lounge. The lounge would have had around 25 tables of ten and ours was right in front of the small stage area. We were ushered to our seat and introduced to Mohammad who looked after our table for the day – nothing was too much trouble, we really were treated like VIP guests. We had a four course meal, and drinks were provided whenever we wanted them. The Lounge opened at 1pm (Kick Off 4pm) and we were there on the dot, didn’t want to miss a minute- it was good because we had time to settle in before the rest of our table turned up – a family from Russia and a family from London .
Michael Owen came into the lounge
Chatting with security guys before we were allowed up to Europa Lounge
pregame was interviewed briefly and signed autographs for the kids. The room photographer gave me the opportunity to go out into the Stadium before it filled up and do the ‘photo in stadium with scarf’ thing which was good fun.
We were then ushered to our seats in the South Stand, an easy walk from our lounge and an excellent view of the pitch. There was a great atmosphere – 76,000 fans around 70,000 of them for United. Their passion is fantastic, there was a guy behind us who usually sat in the West -think Yellow Fever - Stand but had treated himself to the VIP experience for his 25th birthday and he was hilarious. Man U kicked off passed the ball backwards for about 3 passes and he shouted (with absolute sincerity) ‘We’ve been FANTASTIC today’. He might have known something. Before United really got going the South Stand crowd were a bit quiet – he complained ‘what’s going on its like watching football in a graveyard’ before launching into a series of full volume chants – others joined in and we were away!
United dominate from the outset - holding - probing
Relaxing in the Europa Lounge early on
- testing. Ball whipped in Danny Wellbelck gets in front of the defender and gets enough on his looping header to send it goalwards (time stops - WAIT) keeper at full strecth (WAIT) he cant reach it - GOAL! 1-0, nothing less than United deserve!
Softest penalty ever given goes to Arsenal (Walcott should be booked for diving but incredibly the ref pointed to the spot). Crowd respectfully show their disapproval!
De Gea makes a sensational save to deny Van Persie – crowd goes wild - stadium chant for the young keeper.
Domination continues, foul on edge of the box, Rooney steps up, dead ball, perfect strike 2-0 (its the pic at the top of this Blog, first time I wished we had a camera with better zoom).
Perfect ball disects defence, Wellbeck flys through (he's got pace that boy), he's clear, he's one on one with the keeper...he pulls up lame! Hammy gone (collective groan). Look to see replacement - Its the Mexican firecracker Hernadez (plenty of comfort for the crowd there).
Ashley Young, audacious, lets fly from outside the box, we are staring down the line of the shot, it curves - it dips
- OH MY GOD its top corner - keeper no chance - its in -GOAL!
After 40 minutes United were 3-0 up and the whole crowd (minus one small corner of Arsenal supporters) was absolutely going off-it was incredible!
Then against the run of play the Gunners nicked one before half time-it’s the cheating diver Walcott -gutting. -Total silence, apart from one small corner of the stadium.
Crowd recover to give a stirring rendition of 'You'll be sacked in in the morning, You'll be sacked in the morning...'to Arsne Wenger (Arsenal coach) as he trudged off to deliver his half time talk.
it’s a United Blitzkrieg! Rooney another dead ball stunner, an Arsenal defender chops a United player in the box...it can’t be anything else (stadium collectively holds its breath)...ITS RED! Poor bugger had to walk the length of the field to the tunnel with the whole crowd waving and signing Cheerio, Cheerio, CHEERIO...Cheerio, Cheerio, CHEERIO! Rooney smashes home the pen HATRICK!-Didn’t think it was possible but the crowd become even more frenzied and the 'passionmeter' goes off the scale! Park, Nani BANG BANG 7-2.
Whistle blows. A final sub who will get
And special guest in the Lounge - Wilf McGuiness
the nod....Its GIGGSY! The crowd rises. Ryan Giggs for over two decades he's graced the hallowed turf at Old Trafford. He's won every top Domestic and European club trophy and he's playing in front of us right now. Receives the ball, lays it off, makes a run - he's in the game. Crowd unleash the Giggs chant - this is a family Blog but enough to say it didn't relate to his scoring prowess on the pitch.
The perfect finish as Man of Match Young rips another one top corner. 8-2, 8-2, 8-2!
The most striking things when you see the game live are: the speed of the game, the runs off the ball and the accuracy of the passing, plus the way defenders read play and step out of the line to make the intercept.
Back to the Lounge –it’s buzzing! Man of Match Ashley Young come up to sign autographs for the kids. Lots of talk and banter to round off a brilliant day. It was the game that had everything, if we only ever get to one Premier League game we couldn’t have hand picked a better one. As Man U legend
Man of Match
Ashley Young in the Lounge after the game
Wilf McGuiness said to us -‘this will forever be known as the 8-2 game, one of the greatest days in this great clubs history, and we were here to witness it’.
Trip home was really easy, out of Stadium, short walk, onto tram, into car good run home-8pm so not too much traffic. Pleased that we took the option of parking in the suburbs and using public transport to get to and from the ground.
Backing up tomorrow for races at Ripon (about an hour to the north)- its two year old championship day – biggest on the calendar!
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Ah what a day!
It was an absolutely cracking day, Europa Lounge sounds like a 5 Star version of the Mad Butcher Lounge. Did you get anything from the stalls around the ground, I forgot to tell you that these are worth a look as they have a lot of really interesting and unique stuff. And far better scarves. It's great that you'll always be able to say "I was there" I'm like that with the 7-1 win over Roma.
yup got I got 2 scarves from the stalls outside the ground - Mum got one. Actually it is very much like an upscale mad Buthcer Lounge. we will always be able to say we were att eh 8-2 game. It was a brilliant expereince.