Manchester United
Old Trafford

Ground No. 25
Visited - Wednesday 27th August 2003
Result - Manchester United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Competition - FA Barclaycard Premier League
Attendance - 67,648

Since I started watching Wolves there is one match in particular that I have wanted to go to, and that is Manchester United, away at Old Trafford. Love them or hate them there is no doubting that Man Utd are the most glamorous club in England, and probably the world. Whenever the fixtures come out in the summer, for every team in their league then this is one of the matches people look out for first, this is THE big one, certainly not one to be missed.

We set off for Manchester at about 5pm, being rush hour, and trying to arrange the leaving time around picking people up from their workplaces was a nightmare, particularly driving all over Wolverhampton at the height of rush hour traffic, but we eventually left the city at about 6pm, and got onto the motorway network. The M6 was quite heavy going, but there were no queues, and we got to Manchester for about 7:30.

With the timing we didn’t have much to do other than go straight to the ground. Walking down Sir Matt Busby Way, reminded me of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, there was just so much colour there, all of it red. It was quite impressive.

From the outside, the ground isn’t really that spectacular, certainly not the part we saw, (the corners between the South and East Stands). Given more time I would have liked the opportunity to walk around the stadium, have a good look at it (which I did at a later date). Once inside you get the same impression as the outside, nothing out of the ordinary, I think there is such a myth about the place as it being the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, the largest ground in Britain, etc. that once you are actually there, you realise it is little different from most grounds, simply bigger.

However once in the seats it was impressive. At first I didn’t notice, simply walking up the steps trying to find where we were sitting, but once there I turned around, and it took my breath away. It is just so huge, bigger than anywhere else. It is everything inside that you want your own ground to be.
After the first two games of the season resulting in heavy defeats confidence wasn’t too high among the Wolves faithful, and we fully expected to go to Old Trafford and come away having been beaten convincingly, however in the end, we left with our heads held high, we lost 1-0, but really took it to the champions, and should have come away with at least 1 point, if not all 3. Being on TV for the whole world to see made it feel even better, proving to all the doubters that we weren’t quite as bad as people thought!

The atmosphere was good, or at least it was from us, we didn’t stop singing all game, however the stories we’d heard about the Man Utd supporters being quiet are true, the only ground that I have been to that is quieter is The Walkers Stadium. Despite tales to the contrary, I found the stewards to be friendly, and quite good, we stood for the entire match, but they didn’t say a word, they seemed quite reasonable. 

After the game, getting away from the ground is a story in itself, we got out of the ground quick enough, but as soon as we hit the crowds in Sir Matt Busby Way, then it was slow moving for the rest of the way home, we eventually managed to get on a metro back into Manchester at 10:44, an hour after the game had finished, then once in Manchester we thought it would be OK, just get back on the motorway, and go from there, oh no! 2 hours later after bumper to bumper traffic down the A56, we eventually managed to get onto the M6, which again we thought would be OK, but once more, our luck was out, as all the way back down the motorway to the midlands it was like going through rush hour traffic, but at 1-2am in the morning! We finally arrived home at 3am, averaging about 20mph all the way back.

Overall it was a good day out, we came back with a little pride restored and feeling more confident to go into the next few games. It’s a great ground, one that if you haven't been to, you must put on your list to do, a feeling which was reaffirmed when I went back a few months later to take pictures.

View over water

Eastern end of the South Stand

The rear of the South East Corner

The Munich Air Crash Memorial Clock

The Munich Air Crash Memorial Plaque

Rear of the East Stand

The Sir Matt Busby Statue

Rear of the North Stand

Rear of the West Stand

The Matt Busby Memorial Plaque

Western end of the South Stand

View from the upper tier of the North Stand
(England vs Poland)

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