I don’t classify myself as the biggest football fan. Besides a brief stint of late night game watching with my dad when I was in high school, I have never got into it again. Alas, I started dating someone who is a football fan and he supports Manchester United. Over the years, I have had to focus my energy on learning names of players, managers, and derbies. I have had to endure the background noise of crowds yelling and cheering on my weekends. I have been dragged to the odd pub for a more atmospheric view of the Red Devils strutting their stuff on the field.
Alas, I started dating someone who IS a football fan and he supports Manchester United. Over the years, I have had to focus my energy on learning names of players, managers, and derbies. I have had to endure the background noise of crowds yelling and cheering on my weekends. I have been dragged to the odd pub for a more atmospheric view of the Red Devils strutting their stuff on the field.
Don’t get me wrong, I do understand why people are a fan of football. I do understand why you would pick a team and support them even to the bitter end. I can also get caught up in a game just as much as the next person. I just don’t consider myself a fanatic and that is where I draw the line. On a random whim, Eamon happened to get tickets for the Manchester United vs Aston Villa game at Old Trafford. I jumped at the opportunity to go because I value that not everyone will get to do this kind of thing in their lifetime. I am lucky that I am being given the chance!
Prep for the game
Since I was going to this game, I decided to go all out. I bought myself the current season’s t-shirt and I donned it with pride on the day. Eamon and I went to the game in his and hers tops and I had a high that I would not soon forget. We took the Virgin fast train on Saturday morning and that in itself was an experience. Going as fast as you are, through the countryside is amazing. You get to see all the farmlands but not get bored of just seeing farmland.
We arrived at Old Trafford with enough time to walk around. Eamon showed me the stadium without the rush of us having to find our seats. There is so much history in this colossal stadium and it makes you realise that it is not just about making money.
It is also about legacy, stories, and memories. It is about having a membership from when you are little and becoming a season ticket holder. It is about pitching up for even the less important games and supporting your side. It is about the atmosphere and the memories of what came before this moment.
I really got caught up in the whole experience. I laughed at the away fans making fun of themselves for losing. I clapped when there were near-miss attempts at goals. I flinched when a man went down and I cheered when the one and only goal was scored. I didn’t sing, but only because I didn’t know the words! The whole experience showed me that you don’t have to be a massive football fan to enjoy a game like that. The fans will suck you in any way and you are one of them for the day. Part of the family, part of the legacy and part of the game.
After the game, we walked around Manchester. We took in the artwork at the University of Manchester grounds, took a stroll through the official Gay Village of Manchester and even encountered the Manchester China Town. It was the perfect light-hearted walk, to end off a rather festive and riveting day at the footie.
P.S I still don’t know if I am a die hard football fan, but I have decided I can take my time to make up my mind!