Paddy makes emotional return to Old Trafford

Thursday 20 May 2021 09:18

Tuesday evening saw 10,000 Manchester United supporters sample their first live football at Old Trafford since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United Kingdom.

It was an emotional night for all involved, as a run of 34 behind-closed-doors matchdays at the Theatre of Dreams was brought to an end, with Fulham’s late equaliser only slightly dampening the euphoria kindled by Edinson Cavani’s sublime goal.

Among the cheering faithful was a familiar face and Reds legend, in 1968 European Cup winner Paddy Crerand.

Paddy has of course been a mainstay of MUTV’s broadcasting over the years and throughout lockdown has helped keep fans entertained with his regular column in United Review.

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Paddy’s heart-warming return to Old Trafford

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However, Paddy – who turned 82 this year – has been unable to attend matches in person and readers of the programme will know just how much he has missed it.

But our final home game of the 2020/21 season gave Paddy the opportunity to return for the first time in 14 months.

Our cameras captured the moment, while the man himself sat down with us before the game – and it’s fair to say he was delighted to be out at the football again, although he confessed that Mrs Crerand was probably even happier!

“I’m terribly excited,” he told us before the game. “It’s been a nightmare, my poor wife must have felt the nightmare more than anyone else! I’ve been there all the time.

“I’ve been involved in football all my life, supporting Celtic and Manchester United, so it’s great to go back.”

So, what has been the biggest loss in terms of not going to the match?

“The camaraderie, that’s what you miss,” Paddy added. “You miss all the people you’ve lived with more or less every day of your life.

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“Being an ex-player, you meet fans from all different countries in the world. They’ll always come and have a chat with you. You miss that conversation and all that stuff that goes on at a football match. Not just for me, but every football fan in the country.

“It’s sad at the moment. I haven’t seen some people for such a long, long time.”

That all changed on Tuesday though, as you’ll see in our video above, which includes emotive shots of Paddy looking around an empty Old Trafford and sharing a few jokes pre-match with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

And the former Scotland international took time to praise Ole for the work he and his team have done to get United to second place and a European final in this toughest of seasons.

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“United are doing very well at the moment, which makes it even worse when you can’t go.

“I feel bad for supporters out there who can’t go. I meet loads of them when I’m walking the streets or going into town and that’s all the conversation’s ever about – Manchester United.

“I didn’t think we’d do as well as we’ve done so far,” he continued. “You’ve got to give credit to Ole and his backroom staff.

“They’ve done a great job and things are looking good for Manchester United at this moment in time.”