rarely see any trouble. We were able to park our minibus close to the Norwich ground and walk through the home fans without any problems. We even had some banter with them.
What did you think of the Norwich game?
Obviously it wasn’t great from our point of view, to go all that way and not see a United goal. We almost thought one had gone in right at the end when their goalkeeper John Ruddy tipped over the header from one of his own defenders. The Reds didn’t test Ruddy enough, though, and it was generally a disappointing performance. But while we were disappointed for the first hour or two of the long journey home, our thoughts soon turned to the next game.
So onto Turkey then, and Galatasaray… how was your journey out to Istanbul?
It was good. We started with a taxi to Manchester Airport at five o’clock on Monday morning – only about 28 hours after getting home from Norwich – and enjoyed our flight to Istanbul, landing there in the early afternoon. There was a bit of a surprise when we arrived because we got our ‘One Love’ United flag out, ready to show to the Galatasaray fans who were waiting to ‘welcome’ Sir Alex and his players. But there were no fans, no police, no press… it was strange. Later in the day when we were in a bar, we saw TV news footage of what looked like semi-riots at the airport, the kind of reception people had been expecting from some of the Galatasaray fans. But the United players also missed it, so I think we must have all come through a different terminal. It certainly wasn’t ‘Welcome to Hell’ like it was in 1993.
So were the Galatasaray fans hostile towards you when you were in the city?
No, we were fine when we were walking around or going into bars, and most of us were wearing some kind of United clothing. The Galatasaray fans were goading us about the game – “You’re going to get thrashed tonight”, that kind of thing – but we didn’t feel threatened. And any Fenerbahce fans we met were fully behind us, hoping the Reds would beat their local rivals.
How many times have you been to Turkey to watch United?
I’ve been to all seven. Before this one, I went to both of the Galatasaray games at the old stadium, two against Fenerbahce and also the Bursaspor and Besiktas matches. The