This time I am writing about my trip to Manchester – which was a kind of football trip – and about my football experience here in Bangor – football passive and active so to say. 😉 To be more precise about the Manchester trip, I will share my experiences at Old Trafford and the Old Trafford Museum as well as the National Football Museum, but also some things I have seen in Manchester.
To me, Manchester is inextricably linked to football. The reason I did not want to go to Manchester for my exchange semester was simply the fact that I would have spent all my savings within a week or less. Just joking, I went to Bangor because I wanted to go there, only there – for academic reasons, to learn about cognitive linguistics mainly. But you know that anyway. By the way – if you were wondering why I use the term ‘football’ here instead of ‘soccer’ – since I usually use American spelling – I just think using ‘soccer’ would not really fit, especially if the museum is called football museum. 😉 Back to Manchester: After arriving in Manchester, I was very happy to hear that it takes only 15 minutes by bus to get to Old Trafford from the city center. Soon we arrived at the stadium and I saw the hugest stadium I have ever seen in my life, it is even bigger than the Ernst-Happel stadium and the Emirates Stadium (Arsenal’s ground).
After visiting the megastore we went to the Old Trafford Museum, which displays Manchester United’s history. It was a rather small museum but there was still a lot to see. The collection of objects ranges from individual player’s items such as Ronaldo’s boots, Ibrahimovićs jersey to a wide range of different trophies. Apart from Ronaldo’s stuff I was very happy to even find Shinji Kagawa’s jersey – one of my favorite players – among the objects on display.
A particular interesting but also sad part exhibition is the part in which the Munich air disaster is shown. The Munich air disaster was a plane crash on the 6th of February in 1958, which took 20 people’s lives, among them many Manchester United players.
The very intersting exhibiton finished with a wall showing the names of all Manchester United players.
After visiting the museum, we took a guided tour through the Old Trafford stadium. I have learned many fascinating things about the stadium and the club, such as that you have to pay a fine of 5000 pounds if you touch the football field, which the tour guided us of with a rather serious expression on his face. We saw the stadium from various different places, it has more than 75,000 seats, and with 55,000 season-ticket holders I assume it is not that easy to get a ticket for a game.
Inside the stadium there is a huge area for buying food and drinks and – of course – the player’s dressing rooms. I was very lucky to be the second in the dressing room of ManU– ok to be serious I went as one of the first on purpose because I knew what was coming – and the tour guide said we can take place anywhere we want, on our favorite’s player’s seat if we want. I immediately ran to Paul Pogba’s place and the French people (probably from St.Etienne because ManU played against them a few days before) were noticeably disappointed – what a pity for them.
In the away team’s dressing room we could see a number of jersey of players who have played at Old Trafford on the away side, such as Ryan Giggs with Wales, Ronaldo with Real Madrid and Abby Wambach for the US in the Olympics.
After going through the player’s tunnel we came very close to the football field. If you were wondering why those constructions are on the field, it is because there is not a lot of sun and the grass is provided with light instead.
After the tour we visited the shop once again and I was astonished again about the variety of products they sell – I just bought a cap in the end, otherwise my credit card would have started to cry (and it was already close to crying when I arrived in Bangor). As a good owner, I have to care about my credit card.
We continued our Manchester football experience at the National Football Museum in Manchester city center. The way to the museum entrance already offered something for the football nerd: a series of floor plates of famous players, have a look at the photos below.
The National Football Museum offers three floors of exhibitions, entertainment and learning. At the very beginning on the ground floor of the museum we could take a photo with two trophies, which I will not show here since I am on it and I do not like myself on photos 98% of the time. 😉
There were really sooo many things to see, I do not know where to start and where to end. I will try to summarize what the museum shows and what I found particularly fascinating. It features the history of the English football national team, history of the Premier League, World Cups, Champions League, the Wembley Stadium and many artistic representations of football.
One of those artistic representations are a series of painting of famous coaches as superheroes: Guardiola as Batman, Mourinho as Superman and Klopp as…yeah weeeell…I do not know what he is. I assume it is Iron Man, guess with me. But I think it is ok if we say Klopp as Klopp.
Another one is the photo below, which shows a number of famous players in a very particular way. Cultural Studies people out there, please analyze it in terms of the Circuit of Culture – especially representation and identity – and use it for teaching, isn’t it awesome?
After visiting the National Football Museum we had a bit less than two hours left, so we went through the city and saw a very crowded Market Street with a bunny I had to shoot a photo of – see below – another Chinatown with a giant arch and a restaurant where people had to wait in front of the restaurant because it was so full – I have never seen this before, ok maybe once in Austria, I just don’t get it why people wait so long if they are hungry? – and a very impressive Manchester City Council and Albert Memorial. A very exciting day in Manchester ended at 6pm when we got on the bus home to Bangor. I believe it could not have been a better day in Manchester, at least to me.
I want to conclude this blog post with a brief paragraph on my football experience in Bangor. The university has a women’s team and I am very glad that I can participate in the trainings of the team, which are the best in their league. Training takes place every Monday in the evening and I have been there two times so far. We play outside on the football field, which is synthetic grass. As you can imagine it was a bit difficult for me at the beginning to get used to it, I have never played on synthetic grass, I have never played on such a huge field, I have never played outside and I have never experienced playing after a leg injury – all of it as an adult of course. And – I have never played against people who have maybe in average about 10 years more experience than me. I therefore have to be realistic about my expectations, I don’t have any problems with respect to stamina and running – which I am hugely surprised about – but I can’t expect to score five goals every week. I continue trying to do the best I can and learn as much as I can, I enjoy playing a lot – even with the given weather conditions – and I am sure I can develop a lot if I keep being confident and motivated. 🙂 And to be honest, I have to play, otherwise I will return to Austria as a not so very thin person – yes that was euphemism – because of the many different kinds of sweets and food they sell here. 😉
I hope you liked this blog entry – I did my best to convey my passive and active football experience in Bangor and Manchester. The trip to Manchester was a real pleasure – I want to return soon, especially to discover the many shops they have there – and playing football every week is one too. Not many Austrians can say they play(ed) football in the United Kingdom. I can. 😀