Love them or hate them, I’d suggest a trip to Old Trafford for a variety of reasons. Mainly, regardless which football team you support, this will emphasise just how small your club is.
We’ve all bemoaned them and belittled them and argued that we support big clubs. Visiting Old Trafford on a non-match day is something else. It shows 100% how massive Manchester United are.
I visited at around 5pm on a Friday afternoon. There was nothing happening. No games, no signings, it was July for god’s sake! Yet the ground was absolutely teaming with tourists. Bus loads of them, constantly. Just coming to see where Manchester United play. Big deal? Yes, big deal. I suspect there are a lot fewer coaches full of Japanese tourists visiting Newcastle United or Wigan every week.
United have done a brilliant job of entertaining people, if that’s the right word. Tributes to the Munich air disaster, a history of the event and the club itself all adorn the Old Trafford walls and provide information for visitors. So much so that at times it feels less like a football stadium and more like a theme park.
Usually I’m able to poke my head over the wall and grab a snap of the inside of the stadium but with United’s skyscraper size stadium it’d be impossible. Imagine my surprise when one of the doors to the Theatre Of Dreams was swung open due to work being done on the pitch!
I couldn’t see much, but the players’ tunnel was in the car park outside which was a nice bonus, and just to see the lush green turf gave me a thrill that only football fans will understand, but it was enough to sell me.
Manchester United may live in a corporate tourist attraction, but they’ve kept it as classy as possible and if nothing else I can only suggest you pay a visit to understand the size of the thing. They must be the only club with a public toilet built into their ground.
Now that’s massive.
I’m not a huge fan of football, but I do know what you mean about the ‘thrill’ of looking in. My best friend used to work at St. James’ park and I’d always peek in when I visited her. Something about the atmosphere, residual emotion/excitement of matches, perhaps?