Saturday, October 20, 2012

Manchester: Day 35 - "The Theatre of Dreams"

The view from my seat
Today was the day I crossed the biggest item off of my list of things to do while in England: attend a Manchester United game at Old Trafford.
The day began early, at 6:30, as I had to wake up at that time in order to get my run in before my train up north.  After completing my run, I had breakfast and left to take the tube to Euston station with the friend who I attended the game with.  The train ride took two hours, and upon our arrival in Manchester at 12 noon, we took the tram to the stadium before grabbing a bite to eat and finding our seats, in the Stretford End.  The Stretford End is the most famous stand in the stadium and arguably in the entire country because of the vocal support that rings from it, so sitting there was quite the experience.  During gameplay, everyone stands, chanting and clapping constantly.
United won the game 4:2 against nearby opponents Stoke City, despite another bad start that saw Wayne Rooney head into his own goal just past the ten-minute mark.  But like they always have, United came roaring back.  Rooney headed in to the correct net at 27 minutes off of a perfectly placed cross from Robin van Persie.  Van Persie gave his side the lead just before half time, and Rooney curled a perfect cross into the box which was finished off by Danny Welbeck just after the game re-started.  Stoke got one back 12 minutes later, but Rooney sealed off the match with a fine finish from in close with 65 minutes gone.  It was a truly amazing experience to be in a stadium that I have watched on TV countless times, and seeing my favorite player score twice, as he did for England a week prior, was very special.
After the match, I realized that I had purchased a first-class ticket for the train ride home by accident, but in classic fashion I had sat in standard class on the way up.  So, after dropping the season ticket cards that I had used to get into the game at a hotel in the city center, we grabbed dinner before getting on our train back to London at 8.  Arriving in a rainy London by 11, we took the tube home and went to bed.

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