I’ve since learned that everyone else’s first experience is pretty similar. The fact that Romario, Ronald Koeman and Pep Guardiola were all playing against us, that it was an exciting match, was secondary.
I’ve had conversations with countless other fans, family and friends, and they were just as excited, just as mesmerised, when they first went. It didn’t matter if they’d seen Ronaldo, Romario or Ralphie Milne. Or if we’d drawn 0-0 with QPR.
Because those first matches are only the start of the journey. They capture your heart, but then Old Trafford begins to take you somewhere else.
To me, it’s not a shrine. It’s not a theatre. It’s a time machine.
I remember my dad lifting me onto my seat when United attacked the Stretford End, because I was too small to see when everyone stood up.
I remember all the people that used to sit around me, when I became a season-ticket holder at the age of 16 in the North Stand. The players they hated; the ones they loved. The catchphrases they used to shout.
I think about swigging a can of warm lager on Warwick Road before we played Arsenal in the 2009 European Cup semi-final with my mate Ste, whose grandad (another United obsessive), was a friend of former manager Frank O’Farrell.
I remember cursing my sister as we walked back to the car in 1996, because I deemed her singularly responsible for us losing our 40-year home European record to Fenerbahce. That was her own first match.
I’ve not given this list of reminiscences any preparatory thought. Things are just popping into my head as I write. There are thousands of them; different things that happened that mean something to me. You’ll have your own. Sadly, there are just as many I know I’ve forgotten. Great bits of play that took my breath away, but have since drifted from my powers of recall.