FAN NEWS & BLOGS

Penalty Champions

Six lucky fans recently won the chance to represent their clubs in a two-legged penalty shootout. After the first leg, held at Old Trafford, United lead Barcelona 3-1. The second leg will take place in Spain next month.

ManUtd.com reporter Nick Coppack was on hand to cover the action on Monday night. In fact, he couldn't have got much closer: Nick went in goal and saved two penalty kicks.

View: Click the main picture above to see images from Monday's half-time shootout.
14/12/2010 10:05, Report by Nick Coppack
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Spot of bother

ManUtd.com reporter Nick Coppack was on the spot at Old Trafford on Monday night...

I've got a lot of sympathy for Wayne Rooney: taking a penalty at Old Trafford isn't easy.

I only had to look at the six competition winners who were stood in the old centre tunnel, minutes before half-time, for proof of that. Three dressed in United kits, three clad in Barcelona colours... and all a bundle of nerves ahead of their big moment.

“Where's the toilet?” asked one.

“Can I have a glass of water?” asked another.

It was too late for that. The fourth official had just raised his electronic board to indicate the two minutes' added time at the end of the first half.

I was at the head of the queue, goalkeeper for the evening and charged with leading the two sides – it was United v Barcelona in the Betfair Penalty Challenge – onto the hallowed turf. I wished them all good luck and shook their hands. Then we began the long walk to the Scoreboard End goal, as stadium announcer Alan Keegan informed those in attendance of what was about to take place.

I won't lie or try to play it cool. I was thrilled to be on the pitch in front of thousands of United fans... even if I was dressed head-to-toe in fluorescent yellow and resembled a bumble bee. Fitting, I guess, as I was buzzing off the experience.

Things began well, too, as I saved the first penalty and the crowd erupted. The poor lad from Barcelona had opted for power rather than placement.

All three United fans – Darrin Crawford, Brendan Doherty and David Snell – went on to score, while I saved another of the Barcelona penalties (in my head I plucked it out of the top corner – in reality it was at a comfortable height, just to my left). And as quickly as it had begun it was over.

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