Wednesday, February 26, 2014

UK - Live Football Match @ Old Trafford, Manchester

I don't really follow football matches but I do get excited watching football games. And by football, I mean what North Americans would call 'soccer'. 


Since my brother is a big fan of Man United, I therefore automatically become a Man United supporter, and there is no better place to watch the match other than the Old Trafford.


My first live match was actually a big one: Man United v.s. Arsenal. We were standing (yes, not sitting) on the West Block 3102. That's directly behind the goal post of Man United on the first half of the match. Which means... there were no one else around us other than the hardcore fans of Man United. We pretty much did not sit down at all throughout the entire match. It's a 'standing seat'.



If you come about 15 minutes before the kick off, you can also see the Red Devil mascot wandering around the VIP area.



Soon after some warm up exercises, the players entered the field. 


And ready for the kick off!


Now, unlike watching the match live behind the TV, you don't hear any commentators at all throughout the match. There is no replays, too, so if you missed something... you just miss it. That's why it's much more engaging than watching American football where there are plenty of advertisement moments in between the match and that people are easily distracted with beers and cell phones. There is no time for you to lose focus on the match. Unless it's a really boring one, I guess.

So, you came to the stadium, watch the game, and... that's it?

NOPE!

One crucial part of enjoying a live football match is the singing and the chanting, which was annoyingly replaced by the buzz of vuvuzela in World Cup 2010, South Africa. You should also prepare to memorize the songs and chants before you go to a game, especially if you sit in the 'hardcore fans' area. For Man United's chants, you can check them out in websites like here and here. The most commonly chanted one was 20 Times!, and I even memorized the gestures now :)

And have you ever heard pounding sounds of drums throughout the match? Ever wonder where the drums are located? Well, here are the 'drummers':


See the men standing at the corner? They're the 'drum' bangers. They bang the aluminium structure they were leaning against throughout the game. 

The nicest part of watching a live game on site? When the team you support won the match!



Your first time watching a live match on site? Here's a few of my tips:

1. If you're watching the game in winter, make sure to dress warm enough. Chanting makes you feel warm, but when the game is not very exciting, sometimes people don't cheer that much and you'll feel cold. But if you forgot to bring your scarf or hat, you can always buy their official merchandise from the mega store just outside the stadium. Or if you prefer to save money, you can buy scarfs with Man United logo or faces of the players for 10 pounds.

2. Get some food before the game.


 There are hot dogs and burgers, and if you are the curious type, you can also try roasted pork with stuffings and gravy in Yorkshire pudding. I don't know if this is also available in other areas, but at least they are available in Old Trafford.



To be honest, I don't like Yorkshire pudding that much. It's spongy, it tastes unusual, it's rubbery, it's chewy... well, it just doesn't suit my taste. But hey, I tried it! :)

3. You can't bring drinks from outside, although you can buy it once you're inside. Of course, the drinks are more expensive than if you buy them at the supermarket, but I think the prices are not too bad.


By the way, because of my curiosity and because I trust my brother too much, I was led into buying Bovril because... I haven't heard of it and my brother pretended to know what it is. Chocolate drink, he said. Bah.


I feel like drinking a cup of beef bouillon from a coffee cup. Not the best drink to have in a football match.

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