Opinion: Why I'm excited for United's floodlit first game

Friday 21 June 2024 18:00

As announced earlier this week, Old Trafford will welcome fans back for the very first game of the new Premier League season on Friday 16 August.

It's an announcement that has been embraced by fans who are excited for the start of the new season and the return of the Reds to the place we all call home.

The 8pm kick-off will see the floodlights shine upon the Theatre of Dreams, stirring feelings of exhilaration that are well known to any fans who have been lucky enough to attend a night game.

Tuesday's release of the Premier League fixtures made me reflect upon the last match I attended, and our victorious ending to the season. It just so happened to be the last home game, when the Reds battled against the Magpies of Newcastle United.

The contest attracted a crowd of 73,582 fans and among them were celebrity Reds such as singer Zayn Malik, formerly of One Direction, who were just as keen as me to experience Old Trafford’s season finale.

Zayn Malik watches the Newcastle game with friends, as pictured on his Instagram account.
In the last few hours before kick-off, the areas outside the stadium were buzzing. I went into the Megastore and found it full of fans eager to purchase United merchandise and memorabilia on the last matchday before the stadium falls quiet for a couple of months.

Walking into the stadium is a feeling like no other, the energy from the crowd is infectious. You simply can’t help but be overcome with anticipation as you join others in taking a seat inside what is one of the world’s most famous sporting venues.

Holding a ticket for the top of the Stretford End, I had a thrilling climb up numerous flights of stairs to reach my seat. From there, I looked out over the thousands of fans who share a collective love of their team.
As kick-off loomed, tensions were soaring as the players stepped onto the stage, ready to entertain the Theatre of Dreams crowd for the last time in the season.

Our players performed excellently, feeding off the supportive cheers, chants and songs from the fans. It was Kobbie Mainoo who began the scoring streak, successfully executing a clean shot in the first half. He was followed by Amad, striking a sweet second goal for the Reds in the second half.

The game really did not disappoint. Both sides fought fiercely to secure a win, and it was Rasmus Hojlund who brought his fresh legs into the fray to score what was ultimately the winning goal in the 84th minute, to seal a 3-2 result.
Rasmus Hojlund celebrates after scoring United's decisive third goal.
Thousands of fans, myself included, leaped out of their seats, expressing sheer joy as the referee blew the final whistle. The victory was ours. A triumph that was keenly welcomed by the red crowd, all ecstatic at leaving Old Trafford for the last time in the season with a success.

Fast-forward to five weeks later, and news of the fixtures release has undoubtedly created an excitable buzz amongst the red community, all of us united in the hope that Erik ten Hag’s team can continue the winning streak into the approaching season.

The countdown is now on until we return to our home turf and we hope that our boys can return refreshed and reenergised, ready to enter the new campaign as we intend to go on – as winners!

The opinions expressed in this article are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United.