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Man United Awaydaze
Wednesday, 11th Aug 2021 21:45 by Tim Whelan

After a little break of 18 months Awaydaze is finally back, and we have a nice quiet fixture to start with! Our visit to Manchester United kicks off at 12.30 on Saturday, and it’s live on BT Sport.

It’s unusual to have such a ‘high profile’ fixture on the opening day of the season, so it’s possible that they thought that it was possible that some covid restrictions would still be in place, so they could get this one out of the way without too many Leeds fans present.

If you’re driving from Leeds, the best way is to stay on the M62 as it becomes the M60, and come all the way round to the west of Manchester, taking junction 12 onto the M602. Then come off the M602 at the first junction (Eccles), taking the third exit of the roundabout at the top of the slip road and the first exit of the next.

That will bring you to the park and ride at the Ladywell tram stop, from which you can get the Metrolink to the Pomona stop close to Old Trafford. Make sure you get an Eccles bound tram on the way back. Alternatively, if you need to drop the Mrs off for some shopping, you could stay on the M60 to junction 10 and park for free at the Trafford Centre, getting the tram from there to the Wharfeside stop.

If you’re coming from the south, the best option would be to park in Altrincham or Sale and get the tram from there to Old Trafford. Parking is limited and expensive closer to the stadium, with all the streets being residents only on matchdays. You could park at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground, but it costs £10 and it takes ages to clear after the game. There are lots of small private car parks nearby, and one other option is the Lowry Outlet at Salford Quays, which costs £4 for 4 hours.

Public transport options from the city centre are the Metrolink to Old Trafford (on the Altrincham line), and the 255, 256 or 263 buses from Piccadilly Gardens bus station, which run down the main Chester Road and pass very close to the stadium. There is a railway platform by the stadium that did have special trains from Piccadilly on a matchday, but these haven’t run for a couple of seasons.

Inevitably the pubs nearest to the Theatre of Nightmares are home fans only, and we can expect there to be plenty of bouncers on duty to enforce that restriction for this particular game. There are some pubs in Salford Quays where away fans can normally drink, including the ‘Lime Bar’ and the ‘Matchstick Man’, which are about a mile from OT.

Otherwise you could drink in Manchester City centre or in Altrincham, the latter having several decent real ale establishments. But from there you’d need to be on the way by at least 11.45 to allow time to get the Metrolink to Old Trafford before kick-off, so it might be better to do your drinking after the game if you’re heading this way.

The current capacity of Old Trafford is 74,879, having been extended several times around the millennium. The Stretford End was rebuilt as a new stand in 1992/3 and later had an extra tier built on top, as did the stand at the opposite end. And in 1995/6 a huge new stand was built down one side, which alone contains 25,500 seats.

Away fans get 3,000 seats in the corner, which is the minimum allocation Man U have to provide under Premier League rules. (Visiting clubs have to be given at least 3,000 or 10% of the capacity, whichever is the smaller of the two figures.) The view is pretty good, though there wouldn’t be much legroom if we sat down. There are plenty of food outlets, and usually they sell alcohol, though this might not happen while we’re in town.

The tickets cost £30 for adults, with concessions at £20 and £15, which again is determined by Premier League rules, with a maximum charge brought in because travelling fans are the game’s most loyal supporters. Inevitably our allocation sold out as soon as it went on sale, but if you are rich and truly desperate there are usually some touts hanging round near the takeaways on Chester Road.

The capacity has remained the same for the last 20 years, with the south stand being the only one that hasn’t been extended because it back straight onto the railway line. But the latest developments in stadium technology have meant that it might now be possible to put a new tier above the existing stand, which would bring the total capacity close to 90,000. But don’t worry, there is no chance that any of the extra space would be given to us.

Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .


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