My guilty pleasure
Trip Start Mar 14, 2007
30Trip End Apr 10, 2007
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Manchester United was scheduled to play the Bolton Wanderers at their home stadium on March 17, which happens to be my birthday. So I gave myself a birthday present and bought a ticket online for the match at Old Trafford ("The Theater of Dreams") several weeks prior to the trip.
I arose early, walked through the ancient streets of York to the train station and caught the 8:25 to Manchester
The train stopped just outside the stadium, I joined the milling crowd in front of the famed venue to search for the ticket office, where I picked up my ticket after waiting in a long line when I didn't need to. I skipped a visit to the team shop in order to collect my program and find my seat in the second tier of the east end. (Does that make me an Eastender?) It was the nose-bleed section, but I had what felt like an aerial view of the field. The players might as easily have been Xs and Os on a coach's chalkboard.
Imagine 76,000 fans singing in unison. Imagine the excitement of a crowd expecting to watch the top team in England against the number five team. Imagine a Man U team loaded with international stars. It was indeed dreamlike.
The game itself was the best I've ever seen
Ronaldo. My birthday. Sweet.
After the game, I checked out the overpriced merchandise in the team shop and then went outside the grounds to an unofficial shop, where I found a reasonably priced t-shirt.
Eventually I found my way to the train back into Manchester but got off at the wrong station (Victoria) and had to take a very slow local train back to York. Cold and rain made for a miserable walk to join Nancy, Kirsten and Braden for dinner at a Chinese restaurant, all other options having ridiculously long waits for seating.
It was late when we got back to the house, but it had been a very satisfying birthday.