Thursday 1 September 2011

Manchester United - Old Trafford

Manchester United FC
Old Trafford
Sir Matt Busby Way
M16 0RA

0161 868 8000
Official Website

Ground Number: 163
Saturday 27th May 2011
Torquay United 0-1 Stevenage Borough
League 2 Playoff Final


1:  The club was established in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR FC by the carriage and wagon department of the Lancashire & Yorkshire railway. They originally wore shirts in white before changing to the green and gold of the railway company and even bought back a commemorative away shirt in the mid-90s to signify the latter. They changed to red shirts in 1902, the year they were renamed Manchester United and have stuck with them ever since, aside from a small period in the 20s and 30s when white also featured.

2:  Manchester United have played at Old Trafford since 1910. At 74,879, it's capacity is the biggest in UK club football and second only to Wembley Stadium as the largest used for football. The record attendance of 76,962 came for the 1939 FA Cup semi-final between Grimsby Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers. They previously played at the 15,000 capacity North Road from 1878-1893 and the 15,000 capacity Bank Street from 1893-1910. The latter is now the Velodrome Car Park, situated right next to cross-city rivals Manchester City's current home.

3:  The club was founder members of the Football Alliance in 1889 and stayed there for three years, finishing as runners-up behind Nottingham Forest in their final season, after which, the league was disbanded. All clubs joined the Football League with Newton Heath joining Division 1. They had two bottom-placed finishes and were relegated to Division 2 in 1894. It took until 1907 for them to win promotion back to Division 1. The worst finish in the club's history came in 1934 as they finished 20th in Division 2. Since 1938, they've spent all but one season in the top tier and have won the league title on twenty occasions, including 13 times by Sir Alex Ferguson between 1992 and 2013.

4:  Manchester United have won the FA Cup on 12 occasions and have been runners-up on a further eight occasions. They rank second in terms of FA Cups won behind Arsenal who have 13 wins. In terms of giant killings, they've not often been upset, notable occasions include defeat to the then League 1 Leeds United in 2010 and AFC Bournemouth in 1984. They decided not to play in the competition in 1999, opting instead to play in the Club World Cup, Darlington taking their place as the 'lucky loser' due to their fairly late withdrawal.

5:  The League Cup has been won five times with the Charity Shield being lifted on a record 21 occasions.  

6:  In Europe, Manchester United have won the European Cup (and the vastly inferior and long drawn out) Champions League on three occasions. They've also won the Cup Winners Cup, Europa League and Super Cup once each. Worldwide, they have won the Intercontinental Cup in 1999 and the Fida Club World Cup in 1999.

7:  The most tragic incident in the club's history came in 1958. Their young and talented 'Busby Babes' team was decimated when their aeroplane skidded on the runway, leaving 23 of the 44 passengers dead and many more wounded. This was following a stop in Germany following a 3-3 draw in Yugoslavia against Red Star Belgrade.

8:  The Glazer family started to take ownership of the club in 2003. The Americans risked little of their own money, instead, taking out loans to cover the costs of buying the club. This was later taken from club funds, meaning higher prices for the fans, less transfer funds and club finances reworked. Due to a section of fans being unhappy with this, they formed a club of their own in 2005. FC United of Manchester started at step 10 of English football (step 6 of non-league) in the North West Counties Division 1. They progressed up the leagues to the Conference North, moving into their own stadium in 2015, after sharing with Bury. They currently play in the NPL Premier, following relegation last season.

9:  Manchester United have rivalries with Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Leeds United.

10:  Famous Manchester United supporters include TV personality Terry Christian, Alan Halsall (Tyrone from Corrie), Andy Whyment (Kirk from Corrie), Angus Deayton (Patrick from One Foot In The Grave), commentator Clive Tyldesley, TV presenter Eamonn Holmes, cricketer Jofra Archer, snooker player John Virgo, Michael Le Vell (Kevin from Corrie) and jockey Ruby Walsh.


Originally, I wanted to see another game at Old Trafford. The experience at my first game had been pretty underwhelming and I wanted to give the ground a fairer review. I'd considered a few occasions but on the rare occasion that tickets were available, they were exorbitant prices such as nearly £50 to watch a Manchester United reserve side take on a lower division side in the FA Cup. I wouldn't have minded paying that or more for an England game at the ground, but none were ever arranged there. In the end, with time to spare during the 2020 Coronavirus epidemic, I decided to revisit my old blog and try and add a bit more detail to it, albeit nine years on, rather the few months that I'd had when I first started this blog. I remember first wanting to visit when I decided to complete the 92 which was decided on a Tuesday night game for Wycombe at Hereford. The inspiration was my mate Dale's mate Robert who I got to know reasonably well in the interim. With that, I gradually got more into groundhopping, widening my net to take in some fairly basic non-league grounds. For whatever reason, the 2011 League Two playoff final between Stevenage Borough and Torquay United was scheduled to be played at Old Trafford. It was Dale who got us our tickets, these were £26 which was not too bad. 

Dale also drove and my other mate Paul also come with us paying £30 petrol each if I remember correctly. We left at 9 am, suffering a 90-minute delay as some people decided to crash their cars on the M6. We even had time to go for a rare walk on the motorway and chatted to fans of both teams. For some reason, a car of Stevenage fans thought it was highly amusing that we had travelled up, tough luck on them that we were supporting Torquay that day. Eventually, we got to Old Trafford at around 1.30PM and after a quick look round United's massive club shop, I decided to go for a drink and a bite to eat. First to the Trafford, a pub that featured in BBC1 Drama 'Life On Mars'. There were Man U fans in there preparing for that evening's Champions League Final and they were in good voice. There was an amusing notice about not throwing beer around too! Then I went to the chippy for Curry Sauce, Mushy Peas and Chips, which weren't brilliant, especially for up North. Finally off to the local convenience store to get a few bits to take into the ground. They were charging scandalous prices in there though - £9.50 for a pack of fags, obviously taking advantage of being the only shop near the ground. The game itself wasn't brilliant, both sides opting to be cautious in their play. Stevenage eventually won with a goal from former Wycombe player John Mousinho and therefore joined us in League One for the following season. It was overall a disappointing experience of what is a highly rated ground but unless Wycombe or England play there, I can't see myself going back.


I had previously been to Old Trafford, just to have a tour of the stadium. The bloke who showed us round was brilliant and had lots of stories to tell as he has been working there since the early 1980s. Well worth a visit, though the game I went to see, with just over 10,000 in attendance, really didn't show Old Trafford in all its glory. I'd imagine a big European night would show it up better, the atmosphere was very flat when I went. As you would expect, there's a huge amount of food and drink places around the ground, again, I didn't feel that I made the most of. Public transport is your best bet unless you like paying upwards of a tenner to park and a 2-hour wait to get out. It's certainly a ground I plan to revisit and review better when the opportunity arises.


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