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13/01/2010 21:15
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Mick Groom on Millwall 1974

Essex-based fan Mick has seen United play in 34 different countries. But there's no place like home...

It seems an eternity ago... my friend Tony Howes and I had decided to hitch-hike to Manchester for the first home game of the 1974/75 season against Millwall. This was decided after we had had an amazing day in East London for United's first game in Division 2 at Leyton Orient.

We finished school on the Friday, and after going home, having tea and getting changed we met up and off we went. This was all being done without our parents' knowledge, as we were just a couple of 15 year olds, and they would have tried to stop us.

We were soon on our way, with thumbs outstretched, and after a few lifts we found ourselves on the outskirts of Manchester in the early hours of the day. Obviously not sure of where we were, we caught an orange bus that was travelling into town, and ended up in Piccadilly Gardens. After a hot drink in some cafe, we asked how to get to OT, and were pointed in the right direction. Eventually we saw the ground in the distance and this seemed to make us forget how tired we were, and we stepped up the pace.

When we actually got to the ground, it seemed so big, compared to the other stadiums we had been to, although admittedly these only consisted of Orient, Spurs and West Ham. We walked round to the Stretford End, two excited but tired little schoolkids. There was hardly anybody about and we decided we needed a bit of kip, and I remember we just plonked ourselves against one of the gates and tried to get some shut-eye.

Later on, the place started to get a bit busy, and we walked round to the small souvenir shop, and

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