Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Tram Ride to Manchester Old Trafford

My days in England were drawing to an end, I had seen too much but missed too many...As if I was having a good dream, I had to wake up in the end. I felt it was too early when I had to go to Manchester to confirm my flight reservation.

The contradiction of my feelings was summarized in the flight agent's question: "Are you sure you want to fly on Thursday?"...That was a tough yes/no question, and I knew that either answer would not make such a big difference.

After I managed to take what seemed to be the right decision, I had good four hours before my bus. I had no idea where to go in such a big, fascinating city, but the tram seized my attention. I remembered that early in the 20th century, we used to have such a thing running down the (at that time) narrow streets of Damascus. We were "Occupied" at that time... No doubt, we evolved ever since: Now we have some 30,000 micro-buses filling the used-to-be-nice-streets of the oldest city in the world…

Manchester Tram

At Piccadilly Gardens, I was staring at the list of different tram lines and stops. I remembered that a friend of mine has suggested Salford Quays if I had spare time in Manchester. I had no other choice, I got my ticket and went on...

Salford Quays was a nice, romantically calm place. It reminded me of the magnificent by-Thames wharves in London. Being located near the canal in the older part of Manchester, they used to be a kind of ship building dock. I was crossing one bridge there when a red sign in the horizon caught my eyes. It said: "Manchester United"!!!

Sir Matt Busby

It was a long walk before I reached 'Sir Matt Busby Way' and eventually found the place. I haven't been so excited in my whole life. I knew that at the other side was a huge stadium, home of the Red Devils. After a long period of hesitation, I decided that I should try to look inside and find a reception or something of that sort. I had no idea what was waiting for me!

ManUnited Trophies

It was another walk inside before I found the museum of Man. United. All the trophies, medals, formal shirts, and other memorabilia of the red team were there. I found the reception after a while...

- "Would you like to join the 4.30 tour?"
- "Would that go into the stadium?"
- "Yes"
- "And can I take photos?"
- "As much as you like"
- "One ticket then, please!"

Old Trafford

It was my first time to go into a real stadium. Although I couldn't get a ticket for the best-of-all-matches Menchester Utd. VS. Arsenal, I felt that it's not a bad thing to see an empty stadium! Especially if it was Old Trafford!

Commentators Stand

The tour itself was a great thing. I got to know lots of interesting things about Manchester United. The stadium, with a capacity of some 76,000 spectators, was the biggest in UK. Because of its location, it was almost completely destroyed in the second world war when the bombardment targeted the nearby ship canal. It was rebuilt and maintained afterwards, but the remains of the old part is still there as a tribute to the great history of the pre-war Manchester Utd. I learned about Sir Matt Busby, who was a football player and then a manager of the club for some 20 years. I heard about the Munich air disaster and other aspects of the team history. The enthusiastic fans of Manchester were something of a noticeable importance, and of course, the sponsors (now are AIG, and Nike, who runs the megastore as well). I became familiar with the anatomy of a stadium, the places of journalists and commentators, and the reserved seats for Managers and VIPs. It was 90 minutes that I will never forget.

Home Team Seats

I had to leave then: to leave Old Trafford, to leave Manchester, and eventually to leave England. I don't even know if I am meant to go back to any of them, I have nothing left but hope and sweet memories. I wish that one day I'll be able to take that tram to Old Trafford and watch the Red Devils playing a home game against Arsenal. You see, I couldn't but become a fan of Man. United!

Tram stop

For those of you who are thinking of going to England in the near future, please don't miss that chance. For Ascribo's sake, take the tram to Old Trafford!


The Syrian Brit said...

Nice one, ascribo..
I am pleased that you managed to see Old Trafford before you left this green and pleasant land.. The tour is, undoubtedly, one heck of an experience, even for someone like me, who is not particularly a fan of Man. United!.. They don't call it the 'Theatre of Dreams' for nothing!..
I sincerely hope that you will one day visit again..
Good luck and best wishes...

abufares said...

For an avid fan of Arsenal and a devoted hater of ManUtd. I found it strange that you got to me through your post. I can't really but admire such an enemy "ManUtd.' if I ever want to be honest to myself and to Football.
Besides, theres' the sweet fact that Arsenal did beat ManUtd. 0-1 in Old trafford just a month ago.
Great story Ascribo!

Yazan said...

This is one nice post,

it got me thinkin whether I will feel the same about this place when I'll have to leave,

regardless, England is one of those places I know that I'll have to visit... someday...

Ascribo said...

Dear Syrian Brit,

It was the 'Theatre of Dreams' indeed. I hope I'll be back one day...

Thank you for passing-by & Commenting..
Best Wishes

Ascribo said...


I hope you'll manage to take the tube to your "Emirates Stadium" one day. I think they don't allow avid fans like yourself to go in because they don't have Stadium tours. It's only a 60,000 spectators stadium anyway.

As for the match you mentioned, it was a great generosity of ManUtd to let Arsenal win that game. That enabled Arsenal to start winning matches in the league, you know...

Ascribo said...


Thank you for passing&commenting. I hope you'll manage to get to visit England one day. If you are to do so, please try to book online to go and see the Red Devils playing a home team in Old Trafford.


I love Munich said...

GREAT post ascribo! I bet you enjoyed that stadium and everything around - one doesn't see all these kind of things every day in life!
I am not into British football .. but once Bayern München will play again ManU - I will definitely think of you!!
Thanks so much for sharing!! :)

Angel said...

Wow Ascribo, you are amazing!
What a piece of work!!
Thank you for taking the time to put your “Old Trafford” memories & photos on your blog! I came looking for a great post to read and stayed with your lovely story …… traveling in my deep thoughts!! ... What a treat since I most likely will never get to see that part of the world again….
God! I could only stare at “Manchester Tram” photo…… library behind……This post really gets my blood boiling…. It’s all these little things that bring back memories and smells of the past … I'm so jealous :)
Insha Allah you will get to visit that place again...

Ascribo said...


I'm glad you liked my post. Maybe one day you'd post something about Allianz Arena (isn't that the name?) if you managed to go on the tour roun it one day...

I hope that ManUtd will beat the München guyz next time they meet :-) Anyway, you're lucky that you've got a home team to cheer...

Thank you very much for Passing and Commenting.

Ascribo said...

Dear Angel,

Thank you for your sweet comment, I feel so pleased.

Don't forget that you recommended for me to go to Salford Quays! The least I can do is to bring the feeling of the place back to your memories again!

Inshallah you'll go to that pleasant part of the world again. Hope we'll go together one day...

Thank you for everything ;-)