A Day At Old Trafford Stadium – The Manchester United Experience

A Day At Old Trafford

Photo: By Daniel (Flickr: 2012 Olympic Football – Old Trafford (4)) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

While the UK is home to some of the most important historic sights, museums and galleries in the world sometimes it can be refreshing to experience a truly ‘live’ occasion. One of the most iconic opportunities to enjoy the more passionate edge of English culture is a classic 3 pm Saturday English Premier League Fixture. Most EPL teams will offer some kind of stadium tour package on non-matchdays, but for neutral fans, nowhere’s better than Manchester United’s Old Trafford to enjoy some world-class soccer.

A Day At Old Trafford Stadium – Book Tickets In Advance

Manchester United are one of the biggest names in the sport and without question the most successful English club of the last 25 years. With a capacity of 75,731, Old Trafford is also the largest soccer stadium in the country, and it tends to sell out for the majority of domestic fixtures. For a club who has a global support well into the millions, tickets can be awkward but far from impossible to obtain for the casual visitor.

In order to apply for a match ticket, you will need to become a member of the club unless you can source a ticket second-hand from an existing supporter. Assuming visitors are taking the official route, it costs at the time of writing £20 (approx $27) per year. Clearly, this adds an additional expense on top of the face value of the actual ticket. Tickets themselves range from £31.50 to thousands of pounds for VIP seats offered via one of the club’s hospitality packages.

The good news is that booked well in advance tickets can be obtained for most ‘typical’ EPL matches and early-stage European and cup fixtures. For more prestigious matches tickets are distributed via a ballot system of members who express an interest and do not hold a season ticket. Naturally, these can be very tricky to obtain – but again not impossible via third-party resellers (at an expensive premium).

A Day At Old Trafford Stadium – Before The Match

Old Trafford is in the Salford side of the city a short distance from the city center. Not only does the club have a dedicated train station, but there are plenty of additional buses and trams in service on matchdays.

To really soak up the experience though, allow plenty of time around the stadium before kickoff. The area around Old Trafford is 100% Man Utd territory with a good proportion of local stores proudly proclaiming their loyalty. Banners, statues, and memorials abound in the district and it provides a great sense of the history of this enormous club.

No matchday experience would be complete without a couple of warm-up drinks first and there are three great pubs to choose between a stone throw from the ground. None of these allow away supporters and are entirely safe environments to enjoy a pint and join in a singalong. Do be aware that visitors from overseas are likely to be warmly brought in to the local circles. If just along for the day and you happen to support another EPL team – keep this to yourself out of politeness.

Inside The Stadium

You may want to consider grabbing a quick bite to eat before entering the ground as prices are typically inflated. Finding the appropriate gate (often referred to as turnstile) is straightforward enough, but do be aware that seats may feel abnormally cramped! This isn’t just through trying to pack in as many fans as possible; the actual stadium has been expanded numerous times since 1909 and not always in the most ergonomic sense. All sections are managed by stewards who will tolerate some occasional standing in various zones but rarely for the duration of the whole match.

A peculiarity of Old Trafford is that for away supporters it is one of the highlights of their season. This often means that even much smaller teams with at most a few thousand fans in attendance can be especially vocal. Even season ticket supporters acknowledge that Man Utd supporters are not the loudest, but the amount of chanting and singing will depend largely on where you are sat. The stands behind the goals tend to be loudest but also often are home primarily to season ticket holders. Consider this when booking your tickets if it matters to you.

A Day At Old Trafford Stadium – After The Game

Win, lose or draw there’s usually a lively atmosphere around the ground after the stadium has emptied. You may be interested in taking the time to visit the Manchester United superstore which stocks a staggering range of associated products. Many are not even available online so if you happen to be a fan, this is the place to find a truly unique memento. Bear in mind that the club museum is not open on weekend matchdays and closes three hours before midweek and European fixtures.

Plenty of supporters will make their way into the town center to enjoy drinks after the game, and again the transport options are widespread and prompt. Manchester is famous worldwide for its music and nightlife scene, as well as boasting some amazing dining options to match any budget. Just remember that it is a two-club city, and it is inadvisable to wear club colors in most ‘shared’ spaces. Many will turn away patrons wearing jerseys or scarfs at the door.

There’s plenty of amazing cultural sights to also see in the city should you be staying overnight and have some free time the next day. Manchester has undergone a fantastic modernization program over the last couple of decades and is now home to a fabulous variety of museums, galleries, and festivals. Take time to enjoy the city and its people as well as one of the most iconic soccer clubs in the world.

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