My first contact with Man Utd was playing an Amiga game called “Manchester United Europe”, when I was a 6-year old boy back in 1995. Since then, I was dreaming of a live match at Old Trafford. Ten years later, my dad and I were traveling over for our very first time by train to Manchester. After a 23 hours journey we saw the Red Devils drawing goalless in their disappointing Champions League campaign. Nevertheless definitely the most magic 90 mins of my life. Then, I noticed that my beloved club was about 1.500km away from my hometown. As great as my first visit was for me, I was wondering about the rare chants from the all-seating stands, about not being able to drink at European cup matches and about high ticket prices.
I recognized that I wanted to stand up on the Stretford End before the commercial part of football overtook the social part. During my upcoming trips to United home matches, I started to fill the empty time slots with some other matches around the country and I learned more about the English football culture. The Champions League match in Milan 2007 was my first away trip with United in Europe and I got in touch with some other German supporter as well to see what it means to make some noise inside the stadium. At the same time I have started following the development of FC United regularly via the internet and radio.
Fortunately my planned big United match at the beginning of the season 07/08 was moved to a Sunday and I decided to watch FC at Gigg Lane. Despite being there on my own, it felt like home from the start. Like the missing piece to the jigsaw of all previous matches in England:- Paying at the gate, great atmosphere with a wide variety of chants, everyone standing next to his friends and of course on the pitch United in red. Since that day I try to arrange both United matches at each trip for me and my friends. I have seen FC United home and away more than ten times so far and met with lots of great people. Meanwhile I have convinced five friends of my local town who have been to an FC match to be a member of FC this season.
At my FC second match I get in touch with Linus from Sweden. During a trip to Frickley I get to know with some nice Mancs but definitely the most impressive thing was when Rick was inviting us on FC’s Facebook page for having a drink at The Main Stand Bar inside the ground, followed by a traditional English dinner and most recent a Manchester pub tour – that is what football is all about, people who are passionate about football from wherever!
I hope that I can give something back when he will come to Germany for the FC tour in May. Generally speaking I hope that many of you will coming over. If you need some help at organizing your trip, you can read my unofficial guide about the FC Germany tour on my website (http://www.footballflight.de). Till the summer tour there are some matches to play and we are all hoping for promotion this season and that we could make further progress with our own ground.
(Published at first in the official match day program for the Northern Premier League match between FC United of Manchester and Witton Albion on 6th April 2013)