Meet United Review's August cover star
Each month during the 2019/20 season, a different Manchester United fan will be featured performing the handshake motif on the cover of our official matchday programme.
Our chosen supporter for August is Barbara Blaber, who is one of the increasing number of fans to hold a season ticket for both the first team and United Women.
We spoke to Barbara in the Chelsea edition of United Review...
Over 150 fans hold season tickets to watch both Manchester United men’s and women’s teams, and local Red Barbara Blaber is one of them.
A platinum season ticket holder at Old Trafford, Barbara, from Sale, was thrilled when the announcement was made of the formation of Manchester United Women last summer.
She attended the early-season league game against Durham Women, and was so impressed (despite the goalless draw) that she promptly purchased a season ticket. It meant her weekends were suddenly much busier – but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We haven’t quite got into the routine of watching both teams yet,” says Barbara, who sits in the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand with her sister and nephews, and watches the women at Leigh Sports Village with her Chelsea-supporting husband Steve.
“It’ll be a challenge to fit it all in this season, but at least the games don’t clash.”
Barbara attended her first game at Old Trafford in February 1967 and was hooked, despite a surprise FA Cup loss to Norwich. Although, she admits, her enjoyment may have had something to do with the Reds’ no.11 that day.
“There was a certain guy called George Best around at the time and he had a somewhat magnetic appeal to me as a teenager. He, along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Forlan – I loved Diego! – remain my favourite ever players.”
After initially standing in the Scoreboard Paddock, Barbara held a League Match Ticket Book in K-Stand before moving to the main stand – where she still sits, with an amazing view from seven rows behind the visitors’ dugout.
These days, her huge passion for United now extends to Casey Stoney’s United Women team – she even named her new kitten ‘Casey’!
“Last season was great fun,” she says.
“I took my husband along and it’s fair to say he was a bit sceptical about the women’s game in general, but he was so astounded by the skill, fitness and strength of the players that we bought season tickets. We really enjoy it and my message to fans who haven’t been would be to get down there.”
Today’s fixture is always an interesting one in the Blaber house, with Blues fan Steve watching the game on TV at home while Barbara heads off to Old Trafford. For them, it will kick off a busy 10 months.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the girls face more challenging opposition and excited at the prospect of seeing the younger lads come through in the men’s team.”
We hope you enjoy every minute, Barbara!
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