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Old Trafford
 
Manchester United v
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Saturday December 31st 2011, 12.45pm
By Tom Croft
(Blackburn Rovers fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

Although we were expecting to go to Old Trafford and receive an absolute kicking, it had
always been a ground I was determined to visit and now with a bit of money behind me, I had to go. I was really looking forward to it mainly due to all the hype connected with Old Trafford; Being such a large and famous stadium and with the fact that on Boxing Day we gained a point at Anfield (1-1 vs Liverpool) I was rather optimistic about this day out.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

We travelled by club coach so a very easy journey. Once we arrived we parked in the car
park which was roughly opposite the away turnstiles probably about 100 yards away.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

I asked a Police Officer about any pub's in the vicinity of Old Trafford that welcomed away supporters but he didn't know so we decided against going to find any and instead accompanied our friend who had lost his ticket to the ticket office to see if he could get it replaced. (Fortunately he managed to). We walked into the ticket office entrance - all dressed in our blue and white - and didn't have any trouble whatsoever. United fans didn't seem to bother with us too much although I imagine this would be different for teams such as Man City and Liverpool.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

When we first saw the ground I was amazed by it. It really is such an impressive stadium all the way around outside and inside doesn't disappoint either. The view from the away section is probably the best I have ever experienced although there isn't much leg room. The segregation however between the home and away fans wasn't massive which led to a lot of banter between both set's of fans resulting in one Man United fan being called Rooney, all good natured banter though and nothing went too far.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The game was absolutely brilliant. United threatened a lot early on but didn't seem to have that killer instinct in front of goal. The game changed however fairly quickly when in the 16th minuted Yakubu was brought down by Dimitar Berbatov in the penalty area resulting in a penalty to Rovers which the Yak calmly slotted in to put Rovers 1-0 up. Again United poured on the pressure but couldn't find that killer goal. We got to half time 1 up and the 2nd half began much the same as it ended in the first half. Rovers then made a counter attack which resulted in Yakubu darting past former Rover Phil Jones to drill the ball through De Gea's legs to make it 2-0 to Rovers. At this point we couldn't believe it and were going wild although our celebrations were short lived as straight from kick off United pushed forward and sloppy defending allowed Berbatov to make up for giving away the Penalty and putting united back into it with a cool finish from close range. 2-1.

Ten minutes later and the same again. Sloppy defending by Rovers resulting in Berbatov cooly finishing to make it 2-2. We thought it was over then however ten minuted from time De Gea seemed clueless as he came for a cross and Grant Hanley headed it past him into the net to make it 3-2 to Rovers! United then pressed more but just couldn't break through Rovers stubborn defence. Great result for Rovers and the atmosphere we generated was electric as we were singing for the full 90 minutes. The United fan's weren't in great voice although the roar when they scored was impressive.

The facilities in the ground are very good. The concourses were very spacious and toilets clean. When in there we bought a bottle of Singha Lager (3.20 I think for a 330ml) and a bottle of Bulmers (again 3.20 I think) so not the greatest choice of alcoholic refreshments but better value than some ground's I've visited. We had very little to do with the stewards but they seemed fairly relaxed and were helpful when helping us to our seats.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting to the coach wasn't a problem however once we got on the road it was a good half hour at least before we got moving properly. The roads were extremely congested so I would advise taking an extra hour out of your time for the journey away from the ground just to be safe. Once back on the motorway there were no problems at all though.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall I would rate this as one of my favourite away days ever. Most likely because of the result but Old Trafford really is a splendid stadium and as an away supporter a MUST visit in my opinion. The pictures on television really don't do it justice because when you're there in your seat just knowing you are in what is regarded as one of the best stadiums in the world really brings an extra buzz about the place and if you are lucky enough to get three points as we did on this particular day (however not forgetting the humiliating 7-1 defeat last season) then your day will be even better. Definitely a ground I would recommend visiting.


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