She saw her first game in the 1945/46 season, regards Duncan Edwards as the greatest ever United player (followed by David Beckham), and once accidentally set alight to a fellow supporter’s trousers. One United member Dorothy Arnold, from Levenshulme, turned 82 earlier this month and has great memories of 64 years following the Reds…
“The first football match I ever went to was a Manchester City game, but once I saw United play it was them forever – there was no going back! That team was a great one with players like Johnny Carey, Charlie Mitten, Henry Cockburn and Stan Pearson. They were a great side to watch and went on to win the FA Cup in 1948, of course.
“I don’t remember who the opposition were for my first game but it was in the 1945/46 season, the first season back after the war. Both teams played at Maine Road because Old Trafford had been bombed, and I’d stand in the Kippax on the terrace along the side of the pitch. You’d arrive early, take up your place and then stay there until kick-off. You couldn’t really move if you wanted to; it was so packed.
“My favourite ever United game is the European Cup second-leg tie against [Athletic] Bilbao. It was so exciting, watching United under floodlights in European football… it really captured everyone’s imagination. And what a game – United won 3-0 [6-5 on aggregate]. The greatest atmosphere I’ve known.
“Playing that night was the greatest player I’ve ever seen – Duncan Edwards. He was so powerful, so skilful. You felt that when he had the ball on the halfway line he could even score from there. I also liked David Beckham, he worked so hard up and down that right wing and created so many goals. But the highlight of my time watching United was not a specific match, it was seeing Duncan play – he was just wonderful."
“Another moment I remember was at Old Trafford in the 1950s. I was stood on the terrace and when a goal went in I dropped my cigarette. Before I could stamp it out, I realised it had rolled off. I didn’t give it another thought, but the next minute someone said they could smell smoke, and I looked down and the turn-up of this man’s trousers were glowing red and smouldering. Someone quickly put it out but I never did own up!”