The best fan moments from Old Trafford this season
As the curtain prepares to come down on another Premier League season at Old Trafford, in this, the most unusual of campaigns, we have decided to count down our most memorable moments, as supporters, from inside the ground in 2019/20.
Goals are what bring the house down more than anything else but we have also looked to recall other times when the Reds' faithful have been lost in emotion and captivated by events on the field.
Of course, there will be no traditional lap of appreciation and no manager on the microphone after the final whistle against West Ham United. The game is simply not the same without supporters, and we know they would have been roaring us on in a bid to get the job done against West Ham United.
However, on a positive note, whenever fans can return to the stadium, you can be sure the kick-off will be greeted with the sort of euphoria and energy that will eclipse each of our picks below.
5. LIFTING THE MOOD AGAINST LEICESTER
We weren't to know at the time but this could end up being one of our most crucial wins of the entire campaign. The way the crowd stuck with the players, when the going got tough against the Foxes, was impressive and almost out of keeping with the prevailing mood on social media. I wrote it about this afterwards, and the one moment we'll nominate is Harry Maguire's excellent challenge on Demarai Gray in the second half.
All fans love a well-executed tackle and Maguire was not holding back after, rather disappointingly, being subjected to jeers from the away end for leaving for Old Trafford in the summer. It was tight, edgy and far from free flowing, but the sort of performance that bonds us all together. There had been criticism of the side in the build-up and some steadying of the ship was certainly required.
Marcus Rashford's penalty proved enough in the end and it is looking a more and more crucial goal as we battle with Brendan Rodgers's side for one of the top-four slots.
4. VAR MUTES LIVERPOOL'S CELEBRATIONS
Just as there is nothing more frustrating than cheering a goal and seeing it ruled out, when the boot is on the other foot, a certain amount of schadenfreude occurs when our rivals have one disallowed. and rivals do not come any bigger than Liverpool. United were ahead, through that man Rashford again, as the Merseysiders' 100 per cent start to the league campaign came under threat.
A couple of minutes before the break, Sadio Mane evaded Victor Lindelof and ran through to score but used his left hand and arm to control the ball in doing so. While it was given, the visitors celebrated, only for the recently introduced VAR to intervene and spark great relief and joy in most parts of the stadium.
"The reason VAR was brought in was for Manchester United to beat Liverpool," joked Gary Neville on Sky Sports. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case as Adam Lallana popped up with a late equaliser, but the Reds remained one of the few teams to stop the eventual champions in their tracks before lockdown and, let's be honest, all spectators love things like disallowed goals, penalty saves, open-goal misses, referees being hit with the ball and so on!
3. BRUNO MAKES HIS BOW
There had been so much talk around Bruno Fernandes signing but he put pen to paper before the January window was out and made the starting line-up for the game against Wolves on the first day of February.
Competing against a number of players he knew well from Portugal, including visiting keeper Rui Patricio, his first touch was greeted with a roar and there was a sense of anticipation usually only reserved for the most special of signings - think Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, Robin van Persie and the like. Maybe the United followers knew the playmaker would add so much to the side but he was backed to the hilt from the outset, with every positive move meeting with appreciation.
Bruno had more shots and passes than anybody else and instantly looked at home. His encouraging display only lacked a goal, with his old pal Patricio denying him, but, in what was to become a familiar theme on matchdays, he was voted Man of the Match by our Official App users.
This was a transfer that excited United fans worldwide and those fortunate enough to witness his debut in person were enthralled by what they had seen.
2. A NEW RED'S ROAR
Everybody knows Daniel James's dream move to Manchester came soon after he experienced the terribly sad loss of his father and his emotions were always going to get the better of him when he made that first step out at Old Trafford without his dad proudly looking on.
A late substitute, with the Reds cruising to three points against Chelsea, he had done enough in pre-season to suggest he would be a real asset and his pace quickly caused problems in the Blues' backline. A little shimmy to adjust his position and a low finish past Kepa Arrizabalaga brought the house down, the icing on the cake in a 4-0 victory.
Yet this celebration was amplified by his raw, personal reaction to such an unbelievable start on the opening weekend of his first season at the club, as he let out a primal scream that resonated with everybody present and all of his team-mates, even the substitutes.
"Every day, I miss him," James said afterwards. "I know he is looking down on me now." It was an emotional moment that further endeared the new boy to the home crowd and made us all aware of what it means to suffer such a loss.
1. BEDLAM AT THE END OF THE DERBY
There was probably a sense that the world might be changing at this point, with the coronavirus pandemic clearly spreading and poised to affect our lives in a way we could never have imagined. Allied to this feeling, was a belief that United had really turned the corner, were hitting top form and capable of putting one over our neighbours again.
It possibly explained the intoxicating mix that had been building throughout a terrific contest, as the hosts led through Anthony Martial's finish. The pressure to hold on for three points became greater and greater, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer introduced Odion Ighalo to relieve some of this with his hold-up play in attack. It proved an inspired move.
After his excellent control ultimately led to the ball going back up to the other end of the pitch, Old Trafford took a deep breath as Blues keeper Ederson prepared to launch one final attack. The anxiety quickly changed to sheer elation as Scott McTominay intercepted the throw-out and, from some distance, expertly located the empty net.
The celebrations were wild and prolonged and this one glorious scene felt like what supporting this special club is all about.
It would prove to be the last such moment at the famous ground for some time but what a moment it was, and how we all cannot wait for more like this again in the future, when it becomes safe to pack the stadium with our wonderful and loyal fans.The opinions in this story are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United Football Club.
We are all United as the Reds go marching on! On sale now, get your 2019/20 kit while stocks last.