So as some of you may have seen on my social media, this week I got to experience something that was honestly the best day ever. Just over two months ago I received a lovely email, followed by a phone call from Jason, a member of the VIP team at Manchester United Football Club. He invited me, along with 3 guests to go to Old Trafford and enjoy a day with Jason himself, experiencing their VIP package, as massive Manchester United fans, of course I had to say yes. When Wednesday the 19th of July came around, it was finally time to travel up to Manchester and experience this once in a lifetime opportunity.
We arrived at the stadium just before 12pm, we were greeted by a member of the Museum’s VIP Team, Jason who was already in the museum and tour entrance waiting for our arrival. He greeted us and gave us our passes, then took us straight up to the Red Cafe, where we were given menu’s and could choose any food and drink that we would like. I would like to mention also, that every single member of staff we encountered was so lovely, from the car park attendants to the restaurant staff, to the museum staff, to the stewards and security and of course Jason, I couldn’t fault any of them, they all made us feel super welcome and relaxed whilst there.
In our group was my mom, my dad and myself, collectively we don’t eat a large lunch, it’s just not something we do, so we decided we would all have a dessert and a drink each. I had a salted caramel brownie with ice cream and my mom and dad had an ice cream sundae, both were presented lovely as well as tasting absolutely unreal! The Red Cafe update their menu every 12 months or so to make sure that they are only serving food and drinks that their fans would like. We didn’t personally have a meal, however there were many families, couples and individuals who did around us and I can say that the portions were enough to fill you up and I didn’t see anyone waste any of it, so it must have been lovely!
Now onto the main event.. The museum and tour. As a VIP you get a guided tour around the museum instead of wondering around by yourself. When entering the museum the first thing you see is the English Football League Cup on a table with a backdrop, where you can have your photos taken with the cup and have them printed there and then for a souvenir to take home with you. Jason proceeded to tell us that Jose Mourinho had told the club he was taking the Europa League trophy on tour with the team to America an the Football Association had taken the Charity Shield back as the next game for it will be played soon, but normally any trophies the first team had won during that season would be there available to take photos with.
After taking the photos we went into the first room which was absolutely full of trophies, what we didn’t know until Jason told us was that the whole room was full of trophies that the youth teams had won, none of the trophies were what the first team had won, which absolutely blew me away. The talent for the club is, of course, incredible, but that room really showed that the talent starts right at the beginning as children and they just grow to produce a strong first team, Marcus Rashford is a prime example of this within the club.
During the tour around the museum Jason told us all about different memorabilia and stories behind them. He also told us a few interesting facts, such as the museum was first opened in 1986, however Pele opened the current museum in 1998 and it is now one of the biggest football museums in the world with over 350,000 visitors each year! He also told us Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager of the club for 26 years and in that time he won 38 trophies, which is an absolute unbelievable achievement.
Being able to experience the museum alongside someone who knew background stories of certain things, knew the players included and knew more history than any of us was amazing. We not only got to see everything on show, we also got told stories about it and it was all that little bit more special. You can attend the museum as and when you please however you would be walking around by yourself, you can buy commentary which is available in numerous different languages however, for me, that personal touch of having a personal tour guide for just myself and my guests made it feel like an even more intimate and special occasion.
After the full tour of the museum, which in itself was amazing, we were then onto part two of the day… The stadium tour! We were taken up into the stands first, where Jason proceeded to tell us that they were currently having work done to allow more access for wheelchair users, they have added 350 spaces which are being finished currently before the new season, however these seats will be multi-purpose, they can be used for either wheelchairs or as regular seats. If all 350 spaces are used for wheelchairs the stadium is only losing 1,000 seats, which in reality is amazing. I think for a club like Manchester United to take that step and think about other fans and not the money of those extra 1,000 seats is something very admirable.
When we were in the stands, there were 3 grounds men working on the pitch to make sure it is in the best possible condition for the beginning of the season which is fast approaching! The grounds men told us there are 24 sprinklers across the pitch to keep it healthy, as well as underground heating and water recycling, all of these combined have meant that the club have won best ground, best staff, best pitch etc numerous times, looking at the pitch and the hard work done in the time we were there shows exactly why they have won so many awards.
We were then taken down to the changing rooms, where we were allowed in the home and away dressing rooms, on our own meaning we got perfect shots of the room and with any shirts we wanted photos with and overall it was something you wouldn’t ever imagine you could experience.
Once we had taken all of our photos and just enjoyed the moment of being in the changing rooms amongst some incredible players playing shirts we were taken down the new tunnel and down onto pitch side.
The view of Old Trafford as you come out of that tunnel is unreal, so I can’t imagine just how special it would be if that ground was full of fans chanting, singing and cheering for you.
Next on the tour was the ‘dug outs’ that aren’t actually dug out, they’re actually raised! We were told these were raised due to Sir Alex Ferguson wanting them raised, which is another interesting fact we were given. We had the honour of being able to sit in the seats and enjoy the moment, again exclusively just our group and nobody else.
After being shown around the whole of the ground, we were then taken onto the box corridor, we saw so many different boxes, all of which were gorgeous, full of food, drinks, TV’s and honestly just gorgeous with an unreal view of the pitch.
Honestly this is the moment I was absolutely blown away, we got taken to the one and the only Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s box! It may not seem special, but to people who are massive Manchester United fans, this was a moment you could only dream of. Being taken into this box and being able to sit down and just enjoy the luxury of this area, something I could only dream of being able to do.
Whilst in Inbrahimovic’s box, Jason brought out a massive box, we honestly had no idea that he was going to do this at all. In the box was absolutely loads of old playing shirts and playing football boots that had been worn and the players gave to the club for the fans to experience, which was a lovely gesture. The box included Rio Ferdinand’s boots, Nemanja Vidic’s boots, David De Gea’s gloves and the one and only David Beckham’s shirt as well as so so much more.
Not only were we able to look and take photos but Jason allowed us to try anything on that we wanted to. So I got to try on the shirt that David Beckham had previously worn when he was at the club and to me, that just blew my mind. Being a Manchester United fan and being able to wear the David Beckham’s worn shirt was just honestly unreal, I was completely speechless, I really was. That was something I could only dream of happening, so being surprised with that was the best feeling possible for all of us there.
Overall, the whole day was something I could only of imagined being able to experience, whether you are a Manchester United fan or not, I know you would absolutely love seeing the behind the scenes of the club and the hidden stories you might not know of. As the biggest football club in the world, you can honestly see why once you get there. It’s a club that is all about their fans, their family, not the money. Yes, don’t get me wrong, it is a business and they do make a lot of money, but their staff are so welcoming, so lovely and make you feel so comfortable, all they care about it allowing those who visit to leave with a smile on their face, being able to make every individuals visit something special and a day they won’t every forget. I for one, had the best day ever and I will never ever forget being able to experience an exclusive tour like that. Honestly if you have the opportunity to go on a tour of Old Trafford, I would definitely recommend it, it is a special day and I know you wouldn’t be disappointed.
A few quick thank you’s just before I finish. Firstly thank you to Manchester United as a whole, being able to experience the behind the scenes of your club, the untold stories, the hard work done by the staff that nobody gets to see, I not only enjoyed the experience, but I also learnt a lot about how much it takes to create a football pitch up to Premier League standard and how much hard work goes into creating the best possible stadium ready for the fans. It was a real eye-opener into a massive establishment and for that I am grateful. Also a massive thank you to all of the staff, I really can’t say it enough, every single person you spoke to was lovely and made the day special by welcoming you and making you feel comfortable in their company. And of course, the biggest thank you has to go to Jason. Jason was the loveliest person ever, from the very first email he sent me, to saying our goodbyes when we were leaving he was just amazing. He knew so much about the club, the history, the memorabilia, the players, the behind the scenes, honestly what he didn’t know, wasn’t worth knowing. Thank you for arranging the day for us and making it the most special, unforgettable day possible for all of us involved.
Also, just a little side note: This was a taster of their VIP experience. If you were to purchase this experience you can have so many extras added. You will be there in the evening after everybody else has left, so we were in our separate tour however there were other public tours taking place at the same time, if you were on this experience you would be there completely on your own with the staff with a bottle of champagne and food also. You would also have the opportunity to meet a player, past or present as well as the additional option of a skills session on the astro-turf so each experience is personally catered to you and your group and whatever you would love and enjoy the most. For me, this taster was unreal and anyone who experiences the full day would have the best time, honestly an unforgettable experience that I think everyone needs to have the chance to do and see.