FIVE: UNITED 2 BAYERN MUNICH 1
Champions League | Nou Camp | 26 May 1999
“I know everyone will try to avoid picking Barcelona ’99 but it was so memorable for our branch. We took 80 members. I’ve had a place near Barcelona, in Palamos, for 29 years, so I’ve always holidayed in that area. I was already going to the final, because friends in Palamos who have a Barcelona fan club had arranged two tickets for myself and my wife. Obviously when United got there, that was bonus, and I didn’t want to be sat in the neutral part.
“Anyway, we arranged a week-long trip, and off the coach went on the Sunday morning after the Newcastle final. All the branches who wanted to run their own trips had to submit their itinerary to Ken Merrett. When he got ours, for a week’s holiday, he couldn’t believe it. Everyone was booked into the Marina Hotel in Palamos and we had a great holiday. On the night of the game, I’d asked Joseph, a friend of mine who runs the Castallet bar in Palamos, which usually closed at 2am, to keep it open until we got back. I had this cassette with loads of old United songs that he was playing through the week. When we came back to the bar afterwards, he loaded the bar up with pints of beer, and said: ‘These are all on me lads, enjoy, you’ve had a good week and a great result!’
“Before the match, I’d bought enough champagne so everyone on the trip had one bottle each, as we’d already won the Double. No-one knew it was in the inside locker of the coach except me, my wife and the driver. Opening it in the coach park after we’d won the Treble was a terrific moment.
“The only unfortunate thing was that, after Solskjaer’s goal, one of our members, Dave Miller, had jumped up with excitement and somehow ripped an artery or vein in his neck as his head went back. He was hospitalised overnight due to a seizure of the blood to his brain – my son went to the hospital with him. Dave is fine now, but he’s still on blood- thinners to this day.
“But we got back to Palamos about three in the morning and stayed up until about seven! We had all the music going. The local police came in. At one point they said: ‘Keep the singing down a bit, lads,’ but they were fine. It was a tremendous week.”