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"It is the most remarkable arena I have ever seen. As a football ground it is unrivalled in the world. It is an honour to Manchester."
The Sporting Chronicle

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19/02/2010 00:01, Report by Steve Bartram

On This Day: 19 Feb 1910

One hundred years ago today, Old Trafford opened its gates for the first time as United faced Liverpool in the top flight of English football. And although fortunes on the field may have favoured the visitors, there were still celebrations in Manchester at the birth of an impressive new stadium...

The background: United chairman John Henry Davies stumped up £60,000 of his own money for the construction of a new ground in 1909, enlisting Scottish architect Archibald Leitch, the mastermind behind Hampden Park, to design it. After months of construction by Messrs Brameld and Smith of Manchester, Old Trafford was ready to host its first game.

The occasion: A crowd of circa 45,000 witnessed a seven-goal thriller on a pitch "as spick and span, as smooth, and as green as a billiard table" (The Manchester Guardian). United roared into a 3-0 lead through Sandy Turnbull's diving header plus strikes from Tom Homer and George Wall. However, Liverpool hit back through Arthur Goddard (2) and James Stewart (2) to win 4-3.

The team: United's first-ever line-up at Old Trafford was as follows - Harry Moger; George Stacey, Vince Hayes; Dick Duckworth, Charlie Roberts, Sam Blott; Billy Meredith, Harold Halse, Tom Homer, Sandy Turnbull, George Wall.

The aftermath: The inaugural defeat to Liverpool was the Reds' only setback at Old Trafford during 1909/10. Ernest Mangnall's men won their last seven home games and finished fifth in the First Division - eight places higher than the previous season. The Theatre of Dreams was already starting to work its magic on Manchester United...

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