English Football And A Manchester United Stadium Experience

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It was the 1998-99 season and I was lucky enough to get a free ticket to watch Manchester United play at Old Trafford. As an Australian living in London this was an awesome opportunity. So after booking my flights to Manchester and making sure I had enough warm clothes, I was on my way.

During my childhood, football (or soccer as we call it) was not a big thing in Australia, but my Dad used to get up in the middle of the night for the FA Cup final and so I would too. As a little girl I would always go for the Red team.  After being in England for 4 years, I realised there were a few red teams and so it seems I had been supporting a variety of teams. But my favourite was now Manchester United. I loved the way they seemed to never give up and keep going right to the last whistle. This is how many Australian sporting teams play. It always amazed me how English commentators would talk as if the game was over if one team was winning 2-0 at half time. But Manchester United managed to surprise them on a number of occasions.

When it comes to English football the fans are separated so that one team’s fans are on one side and the other team’s fans on the other. This was a big surprise to me when I saw my first football game in England.  I was entering the stadium and they asked what team I was supporting. Not knowing either team and realising that it would be a long walk to the other teams side, I figured this team would do.

So the day arrived to see Manchester United play. It was freezing cold in the Old Trafford stadium. The stadium was absolutely huge and the grass was so bright and green. It was a wet rainy day, which is common in the UK, but does not stop anyone getting out and about. I have no memory of who the other team was. Probably because I just wanted to see David Beckham live. The way he kicked the ball fascinated me and seeing it live was fantastic. Not because of the view (I think I could probably have seen it better on TV, as we were so far back) but because of the atmosphere. One of the really awesome things about seeing English sport live is the singing and atmosphere in the Stadium.  Everyone seems to know the songs and sing along with such great passion.

When deciding to write about this, I looked up the 1998-99 season and was surprised to see that I had been lucky enough to watch Manchester United play in what was their most successful season to date. With them winning the UEFA Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League. In any case it is an experience that I will never forget.

 

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