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Champions League: Wolfsburg at Manchester United

1 October 2009 No Comment

Rather than hang around downtown Manchester for a couple of hours before checking into my hostel, I decided to take the bus to Old Trafford to buy my ticket for the evening’s match. Even after seeing extra tickets in Glasgow on Tuesday night I still wanted to be sure I had my ticket for Manchester United.

Obtaining Tickets
Tickets were available for the match and I bought a ticket in the upper deck for £38. As I walked around the stadium looking for a restaurant to eat, there were a couple of guys who asked me if I needed an extra ticket. I should have figured there would be a secondary ticket market for Manchester United but I had already bought my ticket.

Lunch outside Old Trafford
I wanted to eat lunch before heading back to my hostel so I walked around Old Trafford to see what restaurants were in the area. I chose to eat at The Trafford which is a short walk from the stadium and has reasonable meal prices – for example, Fish & Chips was £4.

Back to the Hotel
At this point it was only 1:00 pm, so I took the bus back to my hostel to relax. I bought a day pass for the bus since the day pass was cheaper than even one round trip from downtown Manchester to Old Trafford. I was planning to make two round trips.

Pre Game
After hanging out in my hotel for a few hours, I took the bus back to Old Trafford. However, this time the area was completely different. The corner across the street from where I ate lunch was completely packed with fans hanging out before the game – where was this at Manchester City and Ibrox!

I believe the main reason so many people were hanging out on this corner was because of the beer store. The store had four commercial refrigerators (the kind you find at any convenience store) full of beer. For £2 you could buy a 16-ounce can and hang out on the corner – of course, the most expensive beer was Budweiser. Also, along this strip of stores was a bunch of English fast food restaurants but the main attraction was the beer convenience store.

Note: You can walk and drink your beer up until the police blockade but be sure to throw it out when you get there. No standing and drinking allowed.

Secondary Ticket Market
On the walk from the beer corner to Old Trafford were a few people holding an extra ticket in the air – meaning they had extra tickets. So for the second night in a row I could have bought a ticket for under face value but pulled the trigger too early.

Old Trafford
Old Trafford was a classic old stadium. However, I was in the upper deck meaning A) I had to walk up 170 steps and B) my view of the stadium was terrible.

First, as you enter the stair case to get to the upper deck there is a sign posted that reads “Access to the third tier stands involves climbing over 170 steps via 10 levels. Spectators who have vertigo or who have difficulty climbing are advised accordingly.” I’m not sure what stadium officials would do for you if you could not make the climb and I did not ask to find out. Second, my view of the game was fine, but the main reason I bought the upper deck ticket was so I could see Old Trafford as well and there was no view of the stadium from my seat.

The Game
The highlight of the night was Ryan Giggs becoming the ninth player in Manchester United history to score 150 goals for the team. His first goal with the team came in 1991. His 150th goal equalized the match at 1-1 after Wolfsburg took a 1-0 in the 55th minute. Michael Carrick scored the winning goal for United in the 78th minute as United defeated Wolfsburg 2-1.

Attendance at the match was 74,037 – by the far the largest crowd of any of the matches I have attended in England or probably will. A fan ran onto the field in the 2nd minute of the 2nd half for no apparent reason. Either most of the clubs have similar songs or it appeared that United had similar songs as Chelsea – only the words were different. Maybe the teams need to not only change the words but the tunes as well.

Post Game
For the third night in a row, I did not hang out in pubs after the game. Instead I did the same thing I had done on Monday night – buy a subway sandwich and chill in my hostel room.

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