Serendipity: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for… Merriam-Webster
It’s so strange how I ended up with tickets to a Manchester United game, but hey–whatever, I will take them. I was hanging out with my new friends at the PUB when I mentioned that I would love to go to a football match if I could swing it while I was in England. One of the guys in the pub mentioned that he had two tickets to Manchester United’s opening match against Southampton and his original companion would not be able to go as he would be in NY. Would I like to go with them? Um yes, please. So that is how I ended up one amazing day [and night] in Manchester.
One of the best ways to see Manchester is from the water.
Manchester’s Chinatown gates are the largest outside mainland China.
Sometimes it’s just better to go on the tour and take the photos there than trying to get a decent shot when the stadium is full of people–unless you have front row seats–which I didn’t…
I love soccer. I played it until I was in high school. My high school didn’t have a soccer team [boys or girls] so I stopped playing it, but I kept up with the sport and refereed it while I was in college. I wasn’t a Man U fan before the match, but after I most definitely was. To be fair, I’m loyal like that. I don’t live in an area with a lot of professional teams. My favorite teams are usually the first team I saw in action which is why I am a fan of University of Tennessee [1st college football game], Miami Dolphins [first NFL game], Baltimore Orioles [first MLB], Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadians [first NHL games], and Seattle Sounders [first MLS game]. An odd mix to be sure, but it works for me.
So on August 13, 1997, I went to my first English Premier League match. Up to this point I was a Real Madrid fan mainly because I was a Spanish major in college, and my Spanish professor and I would watch La Liga matches and converse in Spanish [weird I know…]… Anyway, Manchester United vs Southampton. A young whippersnapper by the name of David Beckham came in as a substitute in the second half of the match, and netting the only goal giving Man U a 1-0 win. I became a Red Devils fan for life [it didn’t hurt that my high school mascot was also the Red Devils]. Manchester United went on finish the 1997-98 season as runners-up to Arsenal.
As I side note: Nearly 20 years later, I am still a Man U fan, still go for Liverpool as well, but they have not been great lately, and have added Arsenal to the mix of my favorite English Premier League teams. Something I am sure no true English football fan would say.