Man United We Stand: Andy Mitten’s Greatest Away Days
Andy Mitten is the founder of the fanzine United We Stand, now in its 25th year. Having seen Manchester United play in 43 countries he has a wealth of away day stories, from Bilbao to that night in Barcelona. Here he recounts some of his more memorable trips with the travelling Red Army.
Atletico Madrid 3 - 0 Manchester United
European Cup Winners Cup
23rd October 1991
Vincente Calderon, Madrid, Spain
My first ‘proper’ European away trip following United* was to Atletico Madrid in 1991. One British tabloid told us to expect to be met at the airport by hooligans called ‘The Sexy Hamburgers’. I was 17 and worried, but it was all just fanciful fabrication and the hosts were fine.
Holders United lost 3-0 in a Cup Winners’ Cup tie, in what was their only ever game in the Vicente Calderon. Games against Atleti’s more glamorous neighbours from Madrid’s north side have been numerous and among the most memorable in United’s history. Just don’t mention Nani’s sending off last season.
*Wrexham in 1990 and the Rotterdam final in 1991 were exceptions.
FC Porto 0 - 0 Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
19th March 1997
Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal
n the late 1990s, the advent of budget airlines made it cheaper to watch United on the Continent and all but made the spectre of travel by road, rail and ferry redundant, despite its previous popularity (at least to mainstream destinations).
Fans used budget airlines, flew to somewhere near their destination and then took a train or hired a car.
No budget airlines flew anywhere near Porto in 1997, but that didn’t stop over 7,000 fans travelling there for a huge quarter final game against an FC Porto side, fancied to win the Champions League. Charter flights were utilised and trips booked months in advance. Appetites were already whetted by the first leg, in which United surprised all by winning 4-0. That meant less pressure around the second leg and a relaxing jolly near the port lodges. There, locals watched with fascination and trepidation as fans drank in the Portuguese sunshine, singing songs and hanging their flags from buildings and cranes. The game ended 0-0 and United were through to the semi-final for the first time since 1968.
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