90% of the questions I’m asked about following United are surrounding the costs involved; whilst an important consideration, it’s not the prospect of spending thousands of pounds each season to travel around the country, and beyond, that drives me to do so. Many football fans follow their team on the road every week, wherever that may take them, but not all get the opportunity to make trips to Europe to see them in the biggest competitions. Fortunately though, my team have been playing in Europe since 1956, and (Moyes permitting) have done so every season since I began attending games in the mid-nineties.
I’ve been lucky enough to see United play in 12 different countries in that time, taking in European cup finals and varying memories of cities all over the continent. Many less anecdotes than reds much older than myself, but enough to tell a few tales over a drink. Why then start a blog now? Skip past this if you don’t care.
Earlier this year I attended a Travel Massive event in Manchester; a meet-up for travel bloggers who share an enjoyment of travelling but also of writing. Now I’ve never really considered myself one to blog, or to explicitly detail events I’m at via social media, however the largely female group of attendees at the Travel Massive event persuaded me that someone out there may enjoy a bit of the insight I can give into one of these European away trips. There are much better writers who do this regularly at United’s great fanzines, United We Stand and Red News, but I’ve decided to give it a go anyway. More of a sway for me was that in my day-to-day digital marketing job, managing websites and working with bloggers is a big part; makes sense to get stuck in then.
Either way, this is a massive test for me. I bought the domain on a whim and it’s not even a good pun (I’m neither broad in relation to size, or gender). I hope I can keep up with some level of regular updates, if not so I can just keep playing with a shiny new website – which certainly gives me time to upgrade from this very basic WordPress theme.
More importantly, United are due to be drawn in the Champions League play-off on Friday. As things stood last weekend this meant they could draw any of 10 teams in cities from Monaco to Moscow; logistics not helped by the fact that the two-legged game takes places in just 2 weeks’ time, meaning flights and accommodation need to be sorted swiftly and at one of the peak periods of the travel season. It’s an inconvenience but a huge buzz.
Before the month ends United will have hopefully negotiated the play-off ahead of the group stage draw through to Christmas, that’s when the fun of plotting abstract trips to remote parts of Eastern Europe or just finding the cheapest way to get to one of the bigger capitals begins. I’ll have also hopefully added my first proper entry to Abroad Red, the journey begins!
[pic: Galatasaray, Istanbul – November 2012]