Mark Namanya on Newcastle 2008
Uganda-based fan Mark Namanya recalls a Ronaldo-inspired win…
Growing up in Jinja, Uganda’s second largest town, my childhood dream was to watch a match at Old Trafford one day. That dream came true in January 2008 when, whilst on holiday in England, a season-ticket holder I knew through a friend offered me his ticket for the game against Newcastle. I had been to the Theatre of Dreams for stadium tours before, but to actually be there for a match felt unbelievable.
I had a great view from my seat in the South Stand and United looked up for it from the off. It had already been a pretty good day with Arsenal only having drawn against Birmingham earlier in the day. That meant a win for us would take United top. Unfortunately, we had nothing to show for our first-half dominance by the time the referee blew for half-time and Shay Given was looking pretty sharp, twice saving well from Wayne Rooney.
Thankfully, it took the Reds just four minutes to get and off running in the second half. Cristiano Ronaldo struck a brilliant low free-kick which fooled Given and from then on, Newcastle simply couldn’t cope. Carlos Tevez grabbed a couple and Rio Ferdinand even got in on the act, but the day was all about Ronaldo who netted his first United hat-trick. His second came about after a brilliant move involving Michael Carrick, Rooney and Tevez and while his third may have taken a lucky deflection, it was only what he deserved.
My first game at Old Trafford had been everything I’d expected and more it was a real privilege to be there to see Ronny work his magic.