UAE v Uraguay and Great Britain v Senegal
Yesterday Mr and Mrs Tnfive and the the little Tnfivers were lucky enough to go to The Olympics at Old Trafford to watch (among others) Team GB’s first match. We packed an array of GB supporters gear from flags to Union Jack earrings and set off for Manchester. It was a balmy 25 degrees as we crossed the Pennines and headed for the Olympic ‘Park and Ride’ near to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. After being greeted by the friendly and enthusiastic volunteers we boarded the bus with all the other excited families and headed off to Old Trafford.
Mr Tnfive at Old Trafford
On arrival at Manchester United’s home ground, we quickly unfurled the flags (yes ok, you may have noticed there was a bit of shameless TN5 promotion going on!) and snapped some pre-match pictures of Mr Tnfive. It was great to see so many supporters from all around the globe coming together for a few hours of footballing entertainment. The sounds of different languages filled the air, German, Spanish, Arabic, French, this truly was an international event. People of all different nationalities queued up to have their photos taken in front of the Manchester United Trinity statue of George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton, before joining the lines for the bag searches.
The United Trinity
Once through security we made our way to our seats in the Family Stand. They were absolutely fantastic – right above the tunnel for a cracking view of the players coming on to the pitch. Considering we only paid £57 for all four of us it was quite possibly the bargain of the century!
The opening game was UAE Vs Uruguay. Considering it wasn’t the main reason for going, the atmosphere was great and the two teams served up a treat of football. UAE played with flair and inventiveness, getting their reward midway through the first half when a great through ball was calmly finished. Cue the comeback! Just before half time Uruguay equalised with a great free kick and went ahead just after the break with another good goal. Both teams continued to search for more goals, but UAE couldn’t quite get back on level terms despite the support of the crowd. Suarez got some stick - booed EVERY time he went near the ball. It was like a pantomime!
Suarez playing Pantomime villain
A great opening game, and GB up next – superb! Or so we thought. The teams emerged to raucous applause with the national anthem belted out by 75,000 supporters.
Enter Team GB and Senegal
The display on the pitch however didn’t quite match the enthusiasm from the terraces and, even when GB went 1-0 up, the crowd were subdued by the performance of the team. As the game toiled on, Senegal came more and more into a game only sparked into flickers of life by some robust challenges. In the end, Senegal got their equaliser which they thoroughly deserved, to take a little of the shine off a great days football.
Captain Ryan Giggs heads for the tunnel
So our one and only experience of an Olympic event has passed and overall we have to take our hats off to the London 2012 organisers. However, on a totally non-sport related note, we would have to complain about the lack of refreshments on offer. Maybe this was unique to Old Trafford, but we were told in a leaflet from the Olympic organisers that we would be able to fill empty water bottles once inside the ground, and that there would be an array of healthy food on offer to fill our hungry bellies.
Well, there was no free water (unless you fancied filling your bottles up in the loo!) and as for food, well if your idea of a healthy food choice is a soggy sausage roll at £2 a pop then you would have been in luck! Hardly the kind of fare that The Olympics should be offering. Anyway, food complaints aside we had a great day and most importantly, the little Tnfivers LOVED it! Especially the Mexican waves!