9,000 Ready For Theatre Of Dreams!

Last updated : 22 January 2014 By Tott Dixon - Seaham



What Is It Like For Away Supporters?

Away supporters are normally located in one corner of the ground, taking up part of the East and South stands. The view from the away sections are excellent and up to 3,000 away supporters can be accommodated. Entrance into the stadium is gained by first being searched by a steward and then placing your ticket into an electronic bar code reader. It is then up a few flights of rather steep stairs to the concourse. Although the concourse looks a little cramped, it is adequate and there seems to be enough food and drinks outlets that the queues never seem to get too long. These sell a range of pies and other refreshments, plus normally alcohol is available in the form of bottles of Budweiser and cans of Tetley beer. At the far end of the concourse is a large flat screen television showing Sky Sports. I don't know whether it is the American influence at Old Trafford, but I noticed on my last visit that after buying food or drink, that the attendant would always say; 'Enjoy the game' on giving back your change.
The away fans section is set back from the pitch as there is a disabled area to its front. The leg room between rows is a little tight, as well as the space between the seats themselves. This results in most away fans standing throughout the game. The good thing though, is that the away fans can really make some noise from this part of the stadium.

The Club experimented last season for the Aston Villa game, in housing the away fans in a different part of the stadium. This was in the very top tier of the North Stand towards the Stretford End (area NT3).  I wouldn't be surprised if away fans end up in there for the 2012/13 season, as the move will part nullify the presence of away fans and allow more desirable seats in the South East corner to be given to home fans. Although the facilities are fine in this area, you can feel a bit 'cut off' from the rest of the stadium up there as the roof above comes down so low that you are unable to see much of the rest of the stadium.

As you probably know Old Trafford is billed as the 'Theatre Of Dreams' and is certainly one of the best grounds in the country. However, if you have never been there before, be prepared to be a little disappointed, as the reality will probably not meet your pre-conceived expectations. Getting tickets for Man Utd home games is pretty difficult even if you are a member of the club, so make sure you have tickets before you travel.

Where To Drink

The three pubs nearest the ground (The Trafford, Sam Platts and The Bishops Blaize) generally won't let you in if you wear away colours. The best bet is probably the city centre or along one of the stops on the Metrolink. On my last couple of visits I have drank at the Quadrant pub which had a mixture of home and away fans and a couple of handy Chinese/Chippies nearby. The pub is about a 10-15 minute walk away from Old Trafford, in the direction of the Cricket Ground (see Directions & Parking for more info). Luke Burns a visiting Birmingham City fan adds; 'There is also the Lime Bar in nearby Salford Quays. Good beer, quick service and good mix of home and away supporters'.

Andy Syborn adds 'away fans are okay to drink in the Bridge at Sale. It is two stops from Old Trafford on the Metro (about eight minutes journey time)'. Alternatively alcohol is normally served within the ground, although for some high profile games the Club opt not to sell any.

How To Get There By Car 

From the South:
Leave the M6 at Junction 19 and follow the A556 towards Altrincham. This will lead you onto the A56 towards Manchester. Keep on the A56 for six miles and then you will come to see Sir Matt Busby Way on your left. The ground is half a mile down this road on your left, although on matchdays this road may well be closed to traffic.

From the North:
Leave the M6 at Junction 30 and take the M61 towards Bolton. At the end of the M61, join the M60. Leave the M60 at Junction 9 and follow the A5081 towards Manchester. After about two miles you will reach Sir Matt Busby Way on your right for the ground.

From The West:
Follow M56 until its end and then take the M60 (W&N) as for Trafford Centre. At Junction 7 leave M60 and take the A56 towards Stretford. Stay on the A56 for 2.1 miles then you will come to see Sir Matt Busby Way on your left. The ground is half a mile down this road on your left, although on matchdays this road may be closed to traffic. Thanks to Brian Griffiths for providing these directions.

Post Code for SAT NAV: M16 0RA

Where To Park
There are lots of small private car parks near to the ground, otherwise it is street parking. Peter Bennett suggests parking at Old Trafford Cricket Ground (cost £10). Try to arrive early (before 1pm) as if you arrive later, it takes ages leaving the car park after the game. Gareth Hawker adds; 'I parked at the Salford Quays Lowry Mall, a ten minute walk away from the stadium, the cost of which was £3.50. There was virtually no traffic on leaving, and the road takes you straight onto the M601 which joins up with the M62/M6. This avoids the congestion of the traffic heading South'. This car park also offers free parking for four hours if you spend £5 or more in the shopping centre and then get a store to validate your receipt/car parking ticket). There is also the MediaCityUK Multi Storey Car Park located at Salford Quays, it has 2,300 spaces and is only a ten minute walk from Old Trafford (see more details below).
Park in Altrincham town centre and take the Metrolink to the ground (20 minutes). Some pubs such as the Bricklayers Arms in Altrincham town centre, will allow parking for the afternoon, as long as you enjoy a pre match drink (they also do good food). Kevin Dixon-Jackson adds; 'You can get the Metrolink to Old Trafford from Ladywell Halt, in Eccles, where there is also free secure parking. It is about a 15 minute journey on the tram and costs £1.20 return. You can reach Eccles from the M60 (take the Carrington spur J8 A6144(M)) or M602 Motorway (leave at the first junction for Eccles, turn right, and right again at the lights, onto Eccles New Road. Secure parking is immediately on your right). You are only 200 yards away from the Drinking Capital which is Eccles town centre!'

My Tip For Parking & Getting Away After The Game:
Going along the A56, as the stadium emerges in front of you, follow the signs for Old Trafford Cricket Ground, which means that you will bear off the A56 to the right. At the end of the park on your left and before you reach the Cricket Ground, turn right into Great Stone Road. Just over the hill you will see a pub called the Quadrant, which is next door to a chip shop. There is plenty of street parking in this area, up to around 1.15-1.30pm. You are only a ten minute walk away from the ground. The Quadrant pub itself, I found okay to have a drink in. After the game, head away from Old Trafford (keeping the Quadrant pub on your left) along the side streets. You will reach the A5145 (Edge Lane). Turn right down here and you will eventually join up again with the motorway and avoid all those traffic jams on the A56.

By Train And Metrolink

Probably the best way to get to the stadium is by Metrolink or train from Manchester Piccadilly mainline station, as Old Trafford has both its own railway station next to the ground and a Metrolink station which is located next to Lancashire County Cricket Club on Warwick Road, which leads up to Sir Matt Busby Way. Normally the railway station is less busy than the Metrolink. Alternatively you can get a bus from Piccadilly Gardens (see below).

Chris Kilcourse adds; 'The Metrolink also has another branch line going to Eccles from Manchester Centre. There are two stops to leave the tram - Pomona and Exchange Quay. These are on the opposite (Salford) side of the ground - probably a quieter line on Matchdays. Pomona is the closest to the ground, only a short walk away and closer than Lancashire CC. Exchange Quay is the one to use for return journeys as the trams get full and may not stop at Pomona going back'.

Amit Basu informs me; 'If using the Metrolink, away fans are better off taking the Altrincham - Bury route and getting off at Old Trafford station, by the cricket ground - just follow the crowds for the football. While the nearest stations to the ground are probably Pomona or Exchange Quays on the Eccles line, they not particularly convenient for getting to or from the away end. However, when leaving, if you have a train to catch after the game, avoid Old Trafford Metrolink at all costs! The best bet is get the train from Manchester United Football Ground station to Piccadilly (Journey time 10 minutes). The entrance to the station is immediately outside the away end'