Mitten: Norway's passion for United is amazing

Wednesday 12 July 2023 10:48

Norway will play host to Manchester United’s first pre-season friendly of summer 2023 later today (Wednesday), when the Reds go up against Leeds United at the Ullevaal Stadion, situated in the capital of Oslo.

It goes without saying that United boast strong support from across the globe, and that is certainly pertinent in the host country – and the surrounding region - of this afternoon’s outing.

Our Scandinavian supporters’ club have previously been named as United’s biggest outside of the UK, and many of the organisation’s members will get another chance to see their team up close in the 16:00 BST kick-off, which is also to be shown live on MUTV.

The meeting with Leeds will be our fifth pre-season game played in Scandinavia across the last eight years, and the Reds’ fourth contest in Oslo since 2017 – the most recent coming 12 months ago against Atletico Madrid.

Journalist and United fan Andy Mitten is in the Norwegian capital for this year’s game, and is delighted to see the club return to the nation once more.

“It’s brilliant,” he said, speaking at a supporters’ event in Oslo - packed full of passionate Reds - on Tuesday evening.

“I first came in ’91, I was 17, on an inter-rail ticket with a load of scallies from Manchester travelling around Norway thinking: ‘This is a bit different from where I grew up.’ 

“It was extremely expensive, and that’s not really changed, but the passion for United is amazing and I love coming here.

“You meet lots of Scandinavian fans, Norwegian fans in Manchester, they go to games. United is so popular here.”
The aforementioned event was held at The Scotsman pub in Oslo – a place where Scandinavian Reds regularly come together to watch United – and included Mitten hosting an exclusive Q&A with club legend Andy Cole. 

That was after Wes Brown and John O’Shea had taken to the stage for a separate question-and-answer session, with the whole evening going down a treat and providing the perfect warm-up event for those in attendance, ahead of today’s match.
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Ten Hag's Reds mobbed in Oslo

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While the Reds are expected to be well supported in the clash at the Ullevaal Stadion, Mitten says that our opponents are also highly regarded in the region, making for a much-anticipated contest.

“Leeds are actually quite big in Norway and that goes back to the 1970s, partly because you could receive radio from the UK because of the proximity,” he explained to MUTV.

“So, there are historical reasons for English teams being popular in Norway.

“It’s the War of the Roses, it’s in Oslo. Manchester United will have more fans at the game but Leeds are a big deal here and they’ll be respected here.

“They’ve come off tough times, last season wasn’t good for them, but I was at Old Trafford on that filthy night in February [2-2 draw in the Premier League] and Leeds United did not go away defeated.”
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That encounter Andy refers to was the last time the two clubs met – but what can we expect this time around?

It will be the first game in charge for new Leeds boss Daniel Farke – as they prepare for a return to the Championship following last season’s relegation from the Premier League – while there’s plenty of intrigue around the Reds’ line-up, which could include summer signing Mason Mount for the first time.

“Anything can happen in terms of the game, it’s quite a young Manchester United squad mixed with the experienced players,” Mitten added, when previewing the fixture.

“I’m looking forward to it, I really am.”

United take 26-man squad to Norway


Find out which Reds are on the plane for the friendly against Leeds, live on MUTV.


Our first pre-season game will be shown live on MUTV, and the United App with coverage starting at 15:00 BST, one hour before kick-off. Ensure you're ready for all the action by subscribing now.