Cheapest Football Tickets Watching United

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Whilst there is much focus on the most expensive football tickets, there is little commentary on the other end of the scale, the cheapest tickets. There is a growing focus and efforts to fight the inflation of football tickets both domestically and in Europe, with the FSF’s Twenty’s Plenty campaign one clear success, leading to the £30 cap on Premier League away matches.

There’s still a lot to address though, with European match prices continuing to rise and little action from UEFA, meanwhile the FA are making the cup final less affordable each season. It means cheaper tickets are harder to come across, and are most often found in the corners of Eastern Europe.

It’s certainly a less extensive list than the higher end, but there’s a few interesting games in the mix of cheapest football ticket prices I’ve paid to watch United in recent years:

1. Zorya Luhansk vs United, 2016

Ticket Price: £5 (₴125)
Competition: Europa League

One of the more recent trips tops the list of cheapest tickets; the £5 we paid at Zorya Luhansk will take some beating too. The game was memorable firstly for being played 500 miles from the city of Luhansk, instead it was moved to Odessa to avoid issues near the Russian border. A cheap trip all round with pints for around £1.50, much needed in the freezing December weather – the match coming close to being called off due to a frozen pitch! A straightforward 2-0 win in the end though, sending us on our way to winning the Europa League in 2017.

2. Shakhtar Donetsk vs United, 2013

Ticket Price: £7 (₴80)
Competition: Champions League

It’s interesting to see that the two cheapest games have both been in Ukraine, a non-EU country in Eastern Europe. In the 3 year period between these two games there was Russian military intervention, affecting both Donetsk and Luhansk. The currency almost halved in value in that time, but our match in 2013 was still really cheap at £7. One of the Champions League games under David Moyes a 1-1 draw was as much as we could manage at the Donbass Arena, which was actually bombed during the conflict.

3. Otelul Galati vs United, 2011

Ticket Price: £7 (€20, with a €10 refund)
Competition: Champions League

Another trip East makes the top three, this time slightly further south to Romania. Like our game in Luhansk, the tie against Otelul Galati was moved to a different city, with the national stadium in Bucharest the venue as the home ground in Galati didn’t meet UEFA requirements (due to size and lack of floodlights!) The face value of the ticket was even cut by 50% which made it just £7, with the game won with two Rooney penalties, and the trip noteworthy for 80p pints.

4. Morecambe vs United, 2011

Ticket Price: £8
Competition: Pre Season Friendly

A slightly dubious game to include, given it was a pre season friendly featuring a “United XI”, with the first team playing a few days later for Paul Scholes’ testimonial. Still a reasonable price at £8 to see a 2-0 win at Morecambe’s new Globe Arena; with the likes of Rafael, Lingard, Kuszczak and Danny Drinkwater featuring. Even United’s reserve team seem to have very few local friendlies now a days; it’d be great to see more of this type of fixture to get to a few new grounds with relatively little travel costs.

5. Real Madrid vs United, 2017

Ticket Price: £13 (€15)
Competition: UEFA Super Cup [Final]

It may be a surprise to see a game against Real Madrid near the top of the cheapest tickets list, let alone a final, however UEFA’s money spinning tour of Europe meant that Skopje in Macedonia was the host of the 2017 Super Cup. A great trip in late August, 40 degree sun and cheap beer in a corner of Eastern Europe with so much history. A £13 ticket to see United play a European final (of sorts) was great value, even if Madrid were miles ahead of us; a late consolation goal made the scoreline a little flattering at 2-1.

6. FK Partizan vs United, 2019

Ticket Price: £16 (РСД2000)
Competition: Europa League

7. CSKA Moscow vs United, 2015

Ticket Price: £18 (₽1800)
Competition: Champions League

Our trip to Moscow in 2015 came well before Brexit and the collapse of the pound, and around the time that the Russian Rouble was struggling due to oil prices and other financial crisis in the country. It meant for a cheap trip to the capital, albeit a freezing one, and an £18 ticket. A 1-1 draw played out in front of a small crowd, with the Russians ultras going topless in -2 degrees. Subsequent trips to Russia have seen United cover the visa costs of travelling fans – I was stung for £88 for this one however!

8. AC Milan vs United, 2010

Ticket Price: £19 (€22)
Competition: Champions League

Five time European Cup winners AC Milan have struggled in the competition in recent years, with the last few seasons spent in the Europa League. Our trip to the historic San Siro in 2010 came with a £19 ticket thanks to a sizeable 80,000 capacity, even if the away end was up in the Gods and behind netting. It was fantastic to finally see United play here, a 3-2 win as well thanks to a brace from Rooney, our first away win in five attempts against Milan (dating back to 1958).

9. Sunderland vs United, 2014

Ticket Price: £20
Competition: League Cup

There have been plenty of tickets around the £20 mark in recent years, almost exclusively for the League Cup. It’s a less glamorous competition, though it’s still treated seriously by the big teams; United have won it 3 times in the past decade, whilst City have won 4. The game against Sunderland in 2014 was a two-legged semi final, losing 2-1 before we succumbed to a penalty shoot out defeat at Old Trafford. Peak-Moyes.

10. Stoke City vs United, 2013

Ticket Price: £20
Competition: League Cup

The game that preceded the Sunderland semi-final took place a month earlier at Stoke, another £20 League Cup ticket. A short train ride from Manchester and a decent allocation of 5,000 for the cup made it an attractive tie for travelling reds. A comfortable 2-0 win was only interrupted by the players running off the pitch due to a first half hail storm. A rare sight in professional football, though the Britannia Stadium is well known for its exposure to the elements. Cold, rainy night at Stoke, anyone?

11. West Ham vs United, 2010

Ticket Price: £20
Competition: League Cup

The last of the £20 League Cup games that I’ve managed to attend, and one memorable for the wrong reasons. Our trip to West Ham’s former Boleyn Ground (Upton Park) was in the thick snow at the end of November. It was far from our finest performance, with a heavy 4-0 defeat; one of the rare occasions that we were treated to seeing Obertan and £7m Bebé both starting as wingers. This blog is possibly one of the few places on the internet that wants to recall it.

12. Preston vs United, 2015

Ticket Price: £21
Competition: FA Cup

The most expensive ticket in English football, the FA Cup Final, somewhat overshadows the rest of the competition. In the earlier rounds there’s usually a little less interest and so clubs drop prices to encourage the crowds. Less so when United are in town, but the £21 ticket against Preston helps it sit just outside the top 10 cheapest. With 12 FA Cup wins (1 behind leaders Arsenal) United usually take it seriously, and the strong line up against a Championship team saw us progress 3-1.

13. Club Brugge vs United, 2015

Ticket Price: £22 (€30)
Competition: Champions League [qualifying round]

This list starts and ends with a Champions League fixture, this time for the 2015 qualifying game in Bruges. The £22 match ticket was fair for a 4-0 win on a sunny day in August. It was probably the biggest game for Club Brugge in sometime, with the team typically competing in the Europa League, but they didn’t go down the route of FC Midtjylland and go for a big payday. A small allocation of less than 1,700 tickets for United could have sold at least twice over too, given it’s an appealing trip, so fair play to the Belgians.

Summary

Only a handful of Premier League games prior to the start of the 2016/17 season were cheaper than the £30 cap, which whilst a really positive breakthrough is something that needs to be considered in the cups too. My cheapest games with United have all come from games hosted in the less affluent areas of Eastern Europe, rather than any intentional discounts.

At Old Trafford, United offer a 25% discount to season ticket holders for Europa League games. There’s been the occasional discount for League Cup games but the rest are always full price, meaning that away tickets in cup games at OT are not great value at all. United may well flag concerns with teams in Europe upping prices for our trips, but they need to seriously consider a fairer policy for fans coming to Manchester too. Either way, there’s unlikely to be many additions to this list any time soon.

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