MANCHESTER UNITED P-P AFC BOURNEMOUTH 15.5.2016

I Headed to Old Trafford today to see Manchester United take on AFC Bournemouth as they tried to win the 4th Place Trophy. As you now know, there was not a competitive ball kicked in anger.

I travelled over with my dad and we were due to be sat together but we made our separate ways to the stadium. I preferred to go into the City Centre on Sunday morning and make my own way to the ground, and we would meet in the ground.

I did my usual Old Trafford pre-match ritual, waking around the stalls, having a look at the stuff in Red Star Sports, before heading into Old Trafford just before 2pm for a 3pm kick-off.

I was sat in my seat, reading my programme as the teams warmed up when there was a PA announcement looking for the Head Of Safety (or some job title like that) to report to somebody. I found it a bit odd but carried on, admittedly having a look at he people around me.

It would have been around 2.40pm when stewards were evacuating people. There was no panic amongst fans were I was, all very calm and orderly. I overheard one supporter saying to their child that it was probably an alarm accidentally set off.

I was in the Family Stand, just above the players tunnel, and was evacuated to the Car Park where the Ticket Office is based, being evacuated further back to the point that I was at the bridge as you walk towards the stand.

When the stadium was evacuated, my dad wasn’t with me, so I made a quick phone call to tell him I was ok. He was trying to get into the stadium when the evacuation happened.

After that, I phoned family back home to let them know I was ok.

Thankfully, we live in a digital age, so I began checking Twitter to see what was happening. It was clear as mud.

The early indication was that kick-off would be delayed by 45 minutes.

At about 3pm, the scheduled kick-off time, stewards around me began shouting that the game was off. I headed to leave the general Old Trafford area, while checking Twitter, which had still not confirmed anything relating to the status of the game.

When I travel to Old Trafford independently, I usually stay at Salford Quays, so I know the area relatively well. It was near to where I was, so I naturally headed there.

By the time I was facing the Premier Inn, there was confirmation the game was off.

The bus I would be taking back to my hotel was parked at Trafford Hall Hotel. To get there, I would have to walk along Sir Matt Busby Way.

Unsurprisingly, that street was all one way traffic, and I was heading in the wrong direction.

I phoned my dad to tell him of this, and now my plan was to get a tram from Salford Quays to Trafford Bar.

I got the tram, albeit having to stop off at Cornbrook as it wasn’t direct, before heading to the bus back to the hotel.

There was plenty of time left in the day to go to the City Centre, it was more of a hassle given the circumstances. If I was travelling on my own, I probably would have went to the City Centre for the afternoon.

Naturally, it was disappointing for the match to be postponed. I’m not a security expert, so I have to respect the opinions of those that are.

Whenever people go to a football match, there is always a possibility that it could be postponed. I managed to spend some time in the City Centre on Saturday and Sunday, got some Street Art photos, so it wasn’t a wasted trip.

I even walked past the Bournemouth team in the City Centre this morning.

Onto the football, Manchester City got the draw they needed to secure the 4th Place Trophy. The damage was done for United over the past 37 games, and most fatally on Tuesday night at West Ham.

We didn’t deserve to win at Upton Park, but being 2-1 up with so little time left, we should have had enough smartness to see the game out, especially having won there 2-1 in the FA Cup last month. That result gets even worse when you see that West Ham lost their games either side of that.

In terms of the rearranged game, all it will decide is if United finish 5th or 6th. Still, got to go out and try to win it to avoid ending the league season on a low note.

European football is confirmed, the next two games in the season will decide if United qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Cup automatically or not.

If United do reach the group stages, I would be tempted to head over on Matchday 5 or 6, especially if I can do a double header with a home Sunday match.

It’s been nearly 23 years since my first trip to Old Trafford. Today won’t put me off.

Whatever you’re opinion of Louis Van Gaal’s employment prospects (personally, I think there should be a parting of the ways as soon as the season ends), he deserves better than for his Old Trafford finale to be in a behind closed doors match.

Hopefully, he gets a nice send off at Wembley next weekend.

I haven’t had much luck with my trips to Old Trafford this season. I’ve been three times, only seen two games, and haven’t seen a United goal.

I chose this game over the Leicester game because I don’t like going away in March/April when the Irish League season reaches it’s finale at the same time. It’s easy to say I made the wrong decision in retrospect.

The postponement might be inconvenient, but as the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

In 30 days time, the 2016-2017 fixture list will be published and I’ll be plotting my next trip to Old Trafford. Hopefully, I’ll be writing about the football.

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