Being in only
my second full season of attempting to
attend every week at Spurs (Iíve only just
moved back to the area after a
childhood-long absence) I was relishing the
chance to go to see us play at Old Trafford,
one of the most famous football grounds in
the country. Before the game we hadnít been
bestowed with the best of records against
United at their place, not having won there
for 23 years. I admit I wasnít hoping for
much as I travelled to Manchester, but
nonetheless I saw it as an ideal opportunity
to visit both the city and the ĎTheatre of
Dreamsí, and hope for a shock result while
having a good sing song for the lads. Every
away fan enjoys a sing song!
On this particular day I came from
Peterborough, and got the rather slow direct
train through Nottingham and Sheffield. Not
the most memorable three and a half hours of
my life, but I did get into Manchester in
one piece and in plenty of time.
After walking round the impressive city
centre for a bit, I had lunch at a Chinatown
buffet followed by a drink at the famous
Lass Oí Gowrie pub near Oxford Road station.
Both places come highly recommended,
especially the Lass if you are a real ale
drinker. I then took the tram to the ground.
On first impression the tram was quite
expensive at £2.50 for a single ticket, but
I suppose the price is justified for the
high level of investment going into the
There was no trouble with the home fans. They
seemed to vary in attendance habits with
some proudly sporting their gold season
ticket badges while some fans clad in United
shirts seemed to not know how to purchase
tram tickets! Interesting. As a win for them
was expected, general talk on the tram was
of how big the scoreline would be and which
of their star players would be on the
It took about 15 minutes to reach Old
Trafford tram station, and another 15 on
walking out of the station past the cricket
ground to finally reach the stadium. Another
peculiarity I started to witness was the
proliferation of half-and-half scarf
sellers, the scarves themselves being half
red and half white and sporting the names of
the two teams. Even stranger that many
people were wearing them! It began to feel
more like a tourist attraction than a game
of football. Given the stadiumís capacity, I
feel hardly surprised now that I didnít see
a single other Spurs fan until I arrived at
The ground itself is huge, not like any
other Iíve been to, save for maybe Wembley.
Outside the East Stand, where the lit
ĎManchester Unitedí sign is and where news
correspondents pose when reporting about the
club, thousands of fans posed for photos.
The buzzing atmosphere outside was
indicative of the prestige of the club. I
walked round the outside of the ground and
noticed that the South Stand was a bit older
looking than the rest of the ground, but I
had read before that the club cannot expand
this stand because of the railway line lying
more or less directly adjacent to it. I then
bought a programme and went into the away
section of the ground, located under the
Munich memorial clock at the corner of the
South and East stands.
I enjoyed a Thai beer for the
Londoner-friendly price of £3.60 and took my
seat about twenty minutes prior to kick off.
The ground was just as impressive on the
inside as it was from the outside, with
imposing stands on three sides (some seats
were so high we couldnít see them from where
we were) and a great view from the away
section. I heard United trialled moving the
away fans up into the Ďgodsí ŗ la Newcastle
but decided to drop it for this season;
please donít do it, Old Trafford has one of
the best away sections in the country!
Although there wasnít much leg room, I was
stood close to the away section which led to
much good-natured banter between the fans.
As for the game itself, just wow. Spurs had
a dream start with Jan Vertonghen playing a
one-two and dinking a goal inside five
minutes. We continued to dominate with the
brilliant Gareth Bale grabbing a second
before half-time. I stayed in my seat during
the half-time period. The second half was
more nail-biting: for United, Rooney came on
for Giggs and they looked a different side.
They got chance after chance until Nani
scored impressively from a Rooney cross to
make it 2-1. However a minute later we
countered and Jermain Defoe was at the other
end; he crossed to Bale who forced a parry
from Lindegaard, inviting Clint Dempsey to
tap the ball in and send us into delirium.
Kagawa then finished off a good move two
minutes later making it 3-2. And, despite
Unitedís total dominance from then until the
final whistle, the scoreline stayed put.
Spurs had finally beaten Manchester United
away for the first time in nearly 23 years!
Our fans were brilliant all game and I
personally was hoarse after about half an
hour; definitely the most atmospheric of
away experiences Iíve had. The United fans
broke into song on occasion, but ours were
the more consistent of the two sets of fans!
I have heard however that the Stretford End
is hard to hear from the away end, so
forgive me if you were at the game and you
disagree! The stewards were very helpful as
well, showing us our seats and letting us
stand for more or less the whole game, even
smiling to us as we left.
We continued to sing in our seats for about
ten minutes after the game, after which the
party transferred to the street.
Unfortunately it quickly dissolved after we
were outnumbered by the swathes of grumpy
United fans in the dark! I personally then
did the two and a half (ish) mile walk back
to the city centre. A bit far for most, but
I thought better that than waiting in the
vast queues for the tram among seventy
thousand disappointed Reds!
Overall, it was a perfect day as a Spurs
fan. Fantastic and iconic ground to visit,
easily reachable from Manchester city centre
and one in which you get a great view and
can easily create an atmosphere. Winning was
just the icing on the cake for us! Will
definitely be back next year though Iíll
still be cautious of overrating our
prospects, albeit less so after this great
result! Manchester itself is also a lovely
city with so much to do both pre- and