Mitten: If you've got a ticket, get to Old Trafford!

Monday 09 May 2022 13:34

Manchester United supporter and football journalist Andy Mitten has urged fans to turn up en masse and create a brilliant atmosphere at Wednesday's FA Youth Cup final.

Over 60,000 tickets have been sold for the game against Nottingham Forest – with all proceeds from the £1 seats going to Manchester United Foundation and its work with disadvantaged youngsters across the region.
It's set to be a really special night in M16, with the Reds chasing a record-extending 11th FA Youth Cup triumph, and Mitten says supporters should relish the chance to be part of something historic.
“If you've got a ticket, definitely come to Old Trafford,” says Andy, who is travelling from Spain to attend the game.
“And if you cannot make it, give your ticket to someone who can use it. Because I think this game is going to come pretty close to selling out – which is incredible. 
“It's not just beaten the previous figures [for an FA Youth Cup game] – it's absolutely destroyed the previous record. Get behind the team, enjoy it and create an atmosphere!”
The United We Stand fanzine editor admits that part of the reason for the huge crowd is due to a lack of first-team games at Old Trafford, as a disappointing 2021/22 season heads towards a conclusion. But he also believes the club's special, unique relationship with the Youth Cup is responsible for the incredible surge in demand.
“The Youth Cup was important in the past and it's important now,” he explains. “I can remember the buzz around the team in '92, the huge crowds against Leeds in '93. Leeds brought loads and we took loads to Elland Road. One of the Leeds players, Steve Tobin, is from where I'm from, in Urmston, so there was all these side angles to the game.
“But United fans always celebrate young players coming through. One of the few high points of this season has been the emergence of Anthony Elanga, for example. I think it's vital. It's not essential you fill the first team with 11 homegrown players, but, if you could, it would be better. These players coming through are exciting, and there's much more access to them than there used to be. 

“In the '90s, none of these games were televised, as far as I remember – now there's [social media] accounts dedicated to the youth team. United We Stand has got a column every issue on the youth team. We never had anything like this in the '90s. There's a lot more interest I think, in the emerging players, but also United are putting a lot more money into it.”

Academy Weekly: Youth Cup final approaches


Wednesday's Old Trafford fixture against Nottingham Forest is the centre of attention.

United have dominated this competition in the past, and have won it more than any other club. But Mitten says it has become much more difficult to win since we last claimed the trophy in 2011.
“The main reason for the huge, huge crowd is that there's no home games [for the first team] and it's been a really bad season,” he admits. 
“People are clinging onto the fact that it would be great to celebrate the kids and win a competition that United haven't won for over a decade. A competition that's become really hard to win, because of the money Chelsea and Manchester City have put in to youth.

Road to the Youth Cup final


📽 Tap to see how our exciting youngsters progressed through five rounds in style 🔴⚽⚫

“It's good that money is going to the Foundation, too. I think the £1 [ticket price] can also be a negative, because people can buy a ticket and then not turn up, and that worries me a little bit. But people should come because it will be very enjoyable. 
“A huge crowd can create its own atmosphere, its own fun. Whatever happens to the careers of these young players, this will be something that they never forget. For both sides. 
“Nottingham Forest, who are bringing over 4,000, have not been to Old Trafford for a long time either, so it's something for them to look forward to, too. Them beating Chelsea in the semi-final was significant.”

How your presence will help our young Reds


If you can, make sure you're at Wednesday's FA Youth Cup final to play a part in United's future.

The match is set to shatter the current record for an FA Youth Cup game – 38,187 watched the semi-final first leg between Arsenal and United at the Emirates Stadium in 2007 – with a figure Mitten never thought could be reached for a youth game.
“I went to all of the Youth Cup finals in the 1990s. For the final against Palace in '92, that was the first game without the Stretford End. I can remember the Stretford End was starting to be demolished, so I just spent half the game looking at it! 
“I also got really excited, because I think it was turn up on the day, pay on the gate, whatever. I remember just seeing section after section filling up. It was only 14,000, but that crowd at the time was celebrated as being significant. Then, when the Leeds games happened the next year, it was like: ‘This is never going to be beaten.’ 
“And now it is! It's fantastic.”