'Real mix' as thousands of United away fans enjoy QPR trip
Manchester United's away support is returning to normal after 18 months of quiet stadiums filled only with the shouts of coaching staff, the training ground-like thuds of footballs and the bellows of goalkeepers.
Thousands of Reds made the journey to QPR on Saturday to create a lively atmosphere at the Kiyan Prince Foundation stadium. Regulars from the songbook emerged as always, as well as an updated version of 'Ole's at the wheel' and some fresh material.
One of those there on Saturday was Sam, who said "the opportunity to watch United in a packed out away end again after 16 months was not one I intended to pass up.
"It was a fantastic feeling to finally be back, returning to match day routines and seeing some familiar faces."
The last competitive domestic away fixture for United which fans could attend was at Derby in March 2020 in the FA Cup. The friendly against the Rams last week offered a first chance to travel for those who couldn't make the journey to Gdansk for the UEFA Europa League final, and this was another opportunity.
It's also a rare chance for UK-based United fans to enjoy pre-season away fixtures, with the Reds normally jetting off to Asia, Australia, Africa or the United States of America.
"The away end contained a real mix of fans from regulars on the away circuit to those who were attending their first game and the atmosphere right from the first whistle was fantastic," said Sam.
United got off to a great start in west London when Jesse Lingard converted our first opportunity and although QPR raced into a stunning 4-1 lead, the support from our travelling fans continued in its strength.
"The result wasn’t what we had hoped for," Sam admitted, "but it was a joy to see our young players give a good account of themselves.
"It must have been so uplifting for them to play with such a vociferous crowd behind them.
"Every time we conceded the chants just got louder!"