Welcome to my blog detailing my groundhopping exploits. My aim is to visit all football grounds in England (Premier league to the 8th tier) Scotland (SPL to 3rd Division) and the Welsh premier league I may also add grounds from other sports or countries. I hope you enjoy reading.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Manchester United - Old Trafford

Date: 31/12/11
Match: Man Utd 2 v  3 Blackburn Rovers
Competition: Barclays Premier League
Food: Pea soup - Rib Eye Steak,Bubble & Squeak,Poached Egg - Bread & Butter Pudding
Att: 75,146

This is a match that I had been looking forward to for a while, this is mainly due to the fact that my Dad had managed to blag free hospitality tickets from someone at work.

Today's game was an early Kick off (12.45PM) so at 5am my Dad was outside my house ready to go, for this match my Wife Beth and Mum were joining us, must be something to do with the hospitality and luxury seats that come with the tickets as I haven't seen them remotely interested when we have been of to the likes of Stamford on a chilly Tuesday night.

The first thing we did on reaching the ground was to have a look around the outside of the stadium and find the club shop, I buy a scarf at every ground I visit and my Dad buys a hat at every premier league ground.

Outside the East stand are statues of some of Uniteds great including the one of Law, Best and Charlton unfortunately all played well before my time, I would have loved to have seen them play though.

So at 9.45am we entered the stadium and to the Evolution Suite in the North East Quadrant where we were instantly offered Champagne, proving it's not just Christmas where drinking first thing in the morning is acceptable and with a free bar there was a few more drinks throughout the day.All guest in the Evolution suite receive a small bag with a gift and programme. The worst thing about this being an early kick off was the fact that in the suite there is a full 3 course meal so at just gone 10am I was eating pea soup followed by a steak main and Bread & butter pudding with custard all being washed down with a couple of pints of Worthingtons. I'm sorry but at 10am that just didn't seem right. We then were introduced to former Manchester United legend Sammy Mcilroy, another one well before my time but my Dad knew of him.

My dad grew up as a United fan and first went to see them at West Ham in 1971 I think and after that decided would never go and see them again as they lost and went on to lose the following 11 matches having led the division by 5 or 8 points nobody could remember. So after speaking to Sammy we finally worked out why that happened, the week before the West Ham game the were away at Southampton and straight after that game the squad went off to Jersey for a 5 day training session/Piss up. Sammy being only 17 at the time was unable to go and had to return to Manchester to play for the youth team.

So after all this pre match treatment we left the suite to go and find our seats which were very comfortable due to the padding and gave a very nice view of the playing area.

Mum,Beth,Dad Respectively

So to the match which to be far wasn't the best United were poor especially at the back, but still they controlled pretty much the whole game but got to the edge of the area and stopped. Then with Blackburn's first punt into the Utd box Berbatov decided to yank Samba to the ground and rightly a penalty was given we Yakubu easily converting. This was the first time in two and a half years of groundhopping we had seen a converted penalty kick.

At half time we were back in the suite for tea and coffee and sandwiches so therefore joined Roy Keanes beloved Prawn Sandwich Brigade. unfortunately by the time we managed to get back out into the stadium the 2nd half had already kicked off but were still sitting down in time to see Utd gift Yakubu a second goal.

Utd finally decided to wake up with Bebatov leading Utd charge scoring his first almost straight away and then again not long after to bring the game level, at the point like the rest of the game it was only Utd who looked like scoring. Until De Gea struck again by flapping at a ball from a corner that he didn't need to come for and getting nowhere near it leading to Blackburn third and ultimately winning goal.

Nobody really deserved to win the game both teams were poor it was like watching defence v attack Utd doing all the attacking for pretty much the whole 90 mins, who then decided to gift Blackburn all 3 of their goals from I think the only three times they got near Utds goal.
South Stand and Stretford End

So to the stadium it is a wonderful stadium with plenty of character and a great atmosphere. It has 3 large 2 tiered stands the newly named Sir Alex Ferguson Stand where we were seated the East Stand and the Stretford End with one smaller single tiered stand being the South Stand. Our day out at Old Trafford was very enjoyable may have helped having been in the hospitality suite but reckon watching any game in any stand at the Theatre of Dreams would be an enjoyable experience.

Ground- 8/10 - let down by the South Stand looks out of place being smaller than the other three.


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