Five of United's best visits to new grounds
Manchester United will add a 59th away ground to the list of those we have visited in the Premier League when we travel to the Brentford Community Stadium on Wednesday.
While we have been acquainted with venues like Villa Park, Anfield and Stamford Bridge for many a year, there are plenty of destinations which have only sprung up in the Premier League era, with the Bees' new ground replacing their cherished Griffin Park home in 2020.
It was a fitting time to switch, with Thomas Frank's side promoted back to the top flight for the first time since the 1940s at the end of their maiden campaign at the venue.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have already visited Brentford this term, but it's United's turn this week and fans will be hoping the journey down to London ends up like these past Premier League visits to new stadiums…
RIVERSIDE STADIUM (3-0 V MIDDLESBROUGH, MAY 1996)
To paraphrase Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan, United had to go to Middlesbrough and get something on the last day of the 1995/96 season and, fortunately, we did. With the Magpies just two points behind, the Reds needed a win on our first venture to the state-of-the-art Riverside Stadium to be sure of a third title in four years. Trips to the north-east had often resulted in disappointment, with United winning just one of our last 11 fixtures at the old Ayresome Park, but David May’s back-post header put paid to any early nerves. With Newcastle still level at home to Tottenham in a game which would finish 1-1, the pressure never really felt like it was on, and Andy Cole and Ryan Giggs added further efforts in the second half to ensure Steve Bruce would be lifting the trophy later on that afternoon at the recently opened ground.
ST MARY’S STADIUM (3-1 V SOUTHAMPTON, JANUARY 2002)
It’s fair to say that few players looked forward to playing at the Dell. The cramped confines of Southampton’s old haunt were synonymous with some of the biggest shocks of the early Premier League era, including a thumping 6-3 defeat for United in October 1996. All in all, we returned from the Milton Road ground empty-handed in four of our last six visits, but that kind of form has never been repeated at the Saints’ new home. We’ve lost just once in 12 league meetings at St Mary’s, a sequence which began with a come-from-behind success in January 2002. James Beattie’s opener would have left the travelling Mancunian contingent with a familiar feeling of dread, but efforts from Ruud van Nistelrooy, David Beckham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dragged United to a win that moved us to the top of the Premier League for the first time that season.
KING POWER STADIUM (4-1 V LEICESTER, SEPTEMBER 2003)
Filbert Street was usually a happy hunting ground for United in the Premier League era, with the Reds emerging victorious from each of our last four visits, including a 1-0 win in April 2002, when Solskjaer lashed home to confirm the Foxes’ relegation under caretaker boss Micky Adams. Leicester moved to the Walkers Stadium that same summer and bounced straight back to the Premier League, welcoming United in September 2003. Despite the change in setting, it was a familiar story with red shirts overrunning blue ones. Roy Keane poked beyond Ian Walker to open the scoring but the day was Ruud van Nistelrooy’s. The Netherlands striker struck three times to ensure another miserable afternoon for the now-permanent manager Adams.
KCOM STADIUM (1-0 V HULL, MAY 2009)
With the title already wrapped up and a Champions League final against Barcelona on the horizon, Sir Alex Ferguson selected a youthful XI for our maiden trip to the then KC Stadium on the last day of the 2008/09 campaign. The Tigers were only a point clear of the relegation places, making for a nervy atmosphere on Humberside, and when Darron Gibson struck home from outside of the box early on, City fans were fearing the worst. But north-east rivals Newcastle United and Middlesbrough couldn’t take advantage of their slip-up, meaning travelling Reds were treated to an on-pitch singalong with Hull boss Phil Brown after the final whistle, as well as the three points.
LONDON STADIUM (2-0 V WEST HAM, JANUARY 2017)
The Hammers bade farewell to their old Boleyn Ground with a 3-2 win over United in May 2016 on a raucous night in east London. That result effectively denied the Reds Champions League football the following season, so it was with a desire for revenge that we travelled to London Stadium for the first time at the beginning of the following year. Slaven Bilic’s side had been struggling to adapt to their new surroundings, and when Sofiane Feghouli was sent off for a late challenge on Phil Jones after 15 minutes, their task became much harder. It still took the Reds 63 minutes to make the breakthrough, though – Juan Mata slotting home from 10 yards after Antonio Valencia’s clever pass. Zlatan Ibrahimovic added a second late on to secure the victory.