I am Manchester United’s biggest fan!
Well, that may be a slight overstatement. But after I went to my first soccer… ahem, I mean football game, a few weekends back, I was sold on the team and the overall experience. And boy was it quite the time getting into the stadium.
Abigail and I arrived in the United Kingdom mid-September for the next leg of our backpacking adventure. Because we don’t have visas, we can be in the EU for up to 90 days at a time, but then have to leave the EU for the next 90 days. Most EU countries follow these guidelines, but thanks to Brexit and Ireland being one of few EU countries that don’t have this visa rule, we will be exploring this region until mid-December.
We were being hosted in Manchester by a mutual friend for the weekend, and when we arrived, we learned Manchester United was playing Saturday afternoon. What better way to immerse ourselves in the British culture than to attend a game for one of the most iconic football teams of all time?
We didn’t have tickets, and we quickly learned scalping is more monitored here than in the States, so we made our way to the stadium on the day of the game in hopes we could purchase tickets from the box office. While waiting for our bus towards the stadium, we flagged down two strangers with their Manchester United gear on and struck up a conversation. We learned this was a rivalry game, and the tickets were already sold out.
Once they learned we didn’t have tickets ourselves, they made a few calls and found us reasonably priced seats in a season ticket holder section. We couldn’t believe our luck! We walked with them to Old Trafford stadium, where they bought us beer and bucket hats to show our support for our new favorite team. The father and son-in-law duo completely made our day.
The game itself can only be described as electric. The fans are so invested, and at times I felt like I was in the stadium for a high-stakes Alabama football game. The excitement is contagious, and although Manchester United was down 0-1 for most of the game, they scored a goal in the final 5 minutes to tie it up and scored again to win the game during the final minute! We cheered with the rest of the stadium and declared ourselves huge fans right then and there.
Afterwards, we met up with our two knights in shining armor for one last celebratory beer at a nearby pub. The father was born and raised in Manchester, and he attended his first game in 1969. The son-in-law asked his future wife on their first date if she was a Manchester United fan, and if her answer was no, the date would have been over. It’s safe to say the father and son-in-law have a great bond.
These two enjoyed hearing about our backpacking adventures, and we loved learning about Manchester United’s history and their experiences with the team over the years. This was a highlight from our trip, and we are already trying to find a way to go to another game with them before leaving the UK.
Just like how I received those tickets an hour before the game, life is full of surprises. Sometimes, these surprises are joyous, like this last-minute opportunity. But they can also be challenging or unexpected, such as accidents, illnesses, or sudden changes in circumstances. Estate planning is all about preparing for life's unexpected twists, ensuring that you and your loved ones are protected, come what may.
Make sure you’re prepared for all types of surprises in life. Embrace the positive experiences and prepare for the challenges, and you are setting both yourself and your family up for success.
As for me, I can safely say that I enjoy watching both types of football. If you ever want to talk football (soccer), I’m all in!
Jill “Manchester United’s Biggest Fan” Marks
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