United in the UEFA Champions League 2021/22

Meet me in Saint Petersburg

It’s fair to say that few people expected the 2021/22 season to start with full capacity allowed at games in England, but after watching almost the entire 2020/21 season behind closed doors (with the exception of the Europa League Final in Gdańsk) it’s been a much anticipated and welcome return. However, despite this being the case for much of the UK with Covid-19 vaccination take-up close to 90%, Europe’s progress is slower and the situation inconsistent across each country and league.

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2020/21 European Season Review

united end

A Year without Football

Given almost the entire 2020/21 season was played without fans in the grounds we’ll be forgiven for not being able to recall it well in years to come. The final home fixtures of the Premier League season were the first to be open to supporters, however missing out on one of just 10,000 tickets in the ballot meant the match against Villarreal was my first United game since March 2020. Despite being a European final it was somewhat subdued by continued Covid-restrictions and a 25% capacity crowd, the above shot being the moment prior to kick-off. Defeat on penalties completed an anti-climatic season and also robbed us of the exciting prospect of a Super Cup final in Belfast in August.

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Villarreal CF vs United, May 2021

2020/21 Europa League Final, Gdańsk

What a strange old season. 8th March 2020 was the last time I properly stepped foot inside Old Trafford, well over 14 months ago; the last European trip, to Bruges, was a few weeks prior to that. Whilst I’ve dipped into non-league football at West Didsbury and Chorlton, I’ve had to make do with watching United on tele for more than a full season, almost to the point that it’s lost meaning.

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English Football Stadiums

The iconic view from the Goodison Park away end

A Guide to Classic English Football Grounds

A huge appeal for football fans and groundhoppers are the trips to the more obscure parts of the country, and to the grounds that have long made up the English game. In a previous post I’ve looked at the biggest football stadiums in Europe, but there’s so much interesting history about some of the oldest football grounds in England.

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Club Brugge vs United, February 2020


Back in Bruges

A fairly convincing group stage saw United finish top, avoiding the difficulty of facing one of the seeded teams, Europa League group winners or stronger Champions League drop outs. Of 14 possible opponents there was a real mix of locations, with Germany the only country represented more than once with 3 teams. There were familiar foes in the form of Olympiacos, Shakhtar Donetsk and Cluj, as well as new potential trips to APOEL of Cyprus, Ludogorets of Bulgaria and Getafe of Spain.

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