Watching Man United Against Barcelona From the Nosebleed Section

Like most American fans, my joy of European football is mostly experienced via my television set. So when I heard that the poor person’s version of the Champions League Final was coming to the U.S., I jumped at the chance (as did 81,806 other fans) to see Barcelona v Manchester United in person.

When the big night arrived, it was with great anticipation and my nosebleed ticket (third row from the top and in a corner) firmly in hand that I made the great schlep to my seat. The energy of the crowd in the stadium surpassed anything that has ever taken place in my TV room. But it was not without its downsides… contretemps with someone in my seat (who should have been in section 406, an even worse location than 405), some guy singing “Glory, Glory Man United” in my ear at the top of his lungs, a moron in front that just wouldn’t sit down, an announcer who mutilated players’ names—including ones like “Evra”, and people incessantly coming and going in the aisle — did they come to watch two of the best teams on the planet or eat snacks?

But nothing could take away from the thrill of seeing Rooney on the pitch. And addition to seeing Nani’s goal, it was a treat to see to his lovely display of footwork for the full 90 minutes. And, yes, it was good to see that Michael Owen has still got it, scoring a goal as a substitute. Even though Barca didn’t play Messi, Xavi, or Piqué, watching the team hold possession was pure pleasure. It was exciting to see Iniesta and Villa play. And can’t believe I was lucky enough to witness Thiago’s beautiful goal.

With only one yellow card (dos Santos), this match was pure friendly. But it wasn’t any less of a joy to watch even from the distance of section 405—the closest I’ll ever get to a match between these two great teams.

30 thoughts on “Watching Man United Against Barcelona From the Nosebleed Section”

  1. ha ha I agree with Paula, so many people were busy getting their chicken tenders and fries that I was left wondering if they realized that they were attending a game between the Champions League finalists or not

    1. My guess is probably not. There are ‘fans’ that have never heard of Gary Neville or Eric Cantona. Think you get the point. Kind of sad really. But for as many mongs out there, there are definitely the hard-core ones that make you glad you support one of the greatest teams in the world

      1. Isn’t this a culture of sports-attending fans in the US ? Just curious. Because everytime I go to NBA, MLB, NHL or NFL games, a lot of people are always busy enjoying their food.

        1. There are definitely hardcore fans in each sport but the way most go about supporting the team is nothing close to the fanaticism that fans from other countries. It’s just the way things are at the moment. Not real sure how they’ll change because most fans are content with their form of support and like you said also are enjoying the food. If you threw some of these people into an EPL atmosphere, I don’t think they’d fare too well. This is even considering the fact that the atmospheres sometimes aren’t as good as what they used to be. So the way I see some of the fans here in this country are as daytrippers/casual fans.

          1. I spent 2008-2010 in England and went to 2 or 3 games a week for the most part and the only difference was no food vendors walking the aisles. Fans got up to piss and eat regularly. That didn’t bother me, having half the fans leave with 5 minutes left and only down 1 to get the train or car bothered me a lot. At least stay and boo them off the field. American and English fans are a lot more similar than they’d like to believe.

        2. Yes, definitely part of our culture. Americans like to eat, especially at sporting events. Snacks are even considered integral to the experience. Peanuts and Cracker Jack are part of the reason you want to be taken out to “the old ball game”. But unlike baseball, that can go on for hours without anything really happening (not to mention breaks in the actual game to allow for TV commercials for the audience at home) football is non-stop action for only 90 minutes. I don’t understand why anyone would leave his/her seat to miss a minute of it.

          1. Gotta co-sign with Paula on that one. A stadium experience isn’t the same without some stadium food and ususally I get mine before the game or at 1/2 time. And as quick as football matches can be, I also have to agree…by the time you have done your snack, it’s time to go.

    2. I sat in the fans section…No one was going to get chicken tenders or fries. as a matter of fact, they didn’t sit down the whole game.

  2. I think we were listening to the same person singing. I was in section 402.

    I had the same experience pretty much, but I guess that’s expected since these two teams are magnets for casual US spectators. My impression was that for a lot of people, they were there to be seen (i.e. to be able to post a picture of themselves on facebook with their scarf) rather than to watch the game, which was annoying since I spent most of my time either watching:

    a) people with nachos going back and forth or
    b) people going down to the front row to turn around and take 4-5 pictures of themselves, trying to get the correct angle.

    And fair enough to those I saw who drove from Connecticut that wanted a memento of the event, but I don’t think I’d do it again. I left with about a half-hour left. The game was fine, but there was no atmosphere where I was sitting. It would’ve been a better experience at home.

  3. great story paula. i went to the match in chicago and it was a dream come true. Best time of my life singing with other United fans and enjoying the game. Glad you got to go

  4. Haha, I sat almost right behind you! I was in 405, row 28, seat 11. What an experience though! Even from up there, it was simply amazing. Finally got to see Manchester United play, and against Barcelona at that. And to top it off, a win! Simply amazing. Did you by any chance park in the “free” parking lot that you had to go through the shady trail in the woods?

    1. No shady trail for me. I used the metro and walked the mile to stadium across concrete and asphalt with the throng.

      1. Well…that is what Redskins fans put up with at least 8 times a year. When they built Ravens stadium in Baltimore, at least they had the sense enough to build it right next to the Metro. FedEx Filed has to be one of the most ill concieved in American stadium history.

  5. Just to add something positive, like others I had a player I wanted to see, in Ryan Giggs (even as a neutral). Wasn’t sure if I’d ever have another opportunity.

  6. Interesting to hear how people viewed this game. Many of course saw it on tv after seeing Man U in person earlier and it seemed just a bit of a different reaction. People I spoke to and some who took in the Fire v. Man U game where a bit disappointed with the B team from the Spanish side. May be we are becoming spoiled but is it time for US fans to see top European teams go against each other in something that means a lot? The time for it may be fast approaching.

    1. I don’t think it’s coming. Other than some kind of “Super Cup” played in the US, i don’t envision any significant games played in the US.

      With the logistics, time difference and other issues, I don’t see any reason why top European teams playing for something significant in the US.

      1. Same reason why the NFL has started playing games in London…trying to generate fan interest and once in awhile play a game that does affect the standings.

        1. If they can generate interests through pre-season games, I don’t think they’ll want to play for something significant. Plus, I think I can argue that the popularity of the Premiership in the US is higher than the popularity of NFL in the UK.

          And actually, pre-season games work best to attract fans. For example: fans can get closer to the team much easier than during the season. Do you know how many United’s trainings are open to public during the season ? ZERO ! The only open training session will be done in Old Trafford on August 6. There’s an extremely little chance of United conducting an open training for the premiership game held in the US.

          1. Open practice session is a rarity. United conduct their trainings at Carrington and it’s closed to public. The only open training session during the season (or should I say pre-season) in the UK is ~a week before the season begins.

            This is different for clubs, for example: PSV Eindhoven has open training sessions in their Herdgang complex and it works like that the entire season.

  7. I was on Nosebleed 410 section. While not as exciting a location I would have loved for it to be, it was quite a spectacle. I do not think the game would have been any different with xavi on, despite the crowd asking for him.
    One thing you could say after watching the game though is the visual witness one could make about the quality of the us teams now. Goals scored at the DC united games are quite on par with the United’s of the world. And this is coming from a lifelong Man U fan.

  8. Hahah…yeah EEEEevra!

    I gotta say this…for anyone that is attending any big sporting event, please get your tickets early. The nosebleeds in any American venue is just horrible. If you THINK that you want to go, buy the ticket and do it almost as soon as they post!! Sitting that far up is a joyless experience and I only had to experience one time to know.

  9. I was in DC for both the practice and match. Section 110, row 29 behind the goal. Lots of United fans in my section plus one scouser who kept his mouth shut, throughout the game. The 2 people next to us were utd fans from Paraguay. Earlier we met Utd dams from Columbia and from the UK. Not to mention 4 guys from my hometown Hendersonville, TN.
    Magnificient atmosphere, had a great town. It was also nice getting your new shirts engraved for free.

  10. alot left to be desired at that facility. I was in 316 and enjoyed the a/c, lounge and guinness. Too many people tryint to poach better seating and making a mess of the place with food. The barcfa fans bascily didnt know any songs uup where i was. A long back to the metro as well. Nice place to visit, once only.

    1. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed like none of the barca fans knew any songs. The only thing I heard them say like twice all night was “barca, barca” and “ole ole”…

      1. Ok, at this point I think that’s asking for a lot…that’s almost like if the Jets played in London and hoping Londoners say J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!!! Regardless of who came out, the bottom line is a LOT of fans came out as a matter of fact, more than I would have thought to come out for a sporting event that is not popular in this country, so give SOME credit to the people that did come out to have a great time and meet others who are fans of the sport and who knows, next time if and when the two teams come back, people will know. If it means that much, start up a supporters club and teach the traditions and when the team does come back go out there and make a difference.

  11. I was in 449 w/ the little lady. We had a blast with an end seat and not too crowded around me. Did anyone else walk across a creek through the woods to get to the game? Parking WAS free but had to walk/wait a good bit. (Worth it though!!) Game was exciting but as in all sporting events it is what you make of it. We had some teenage douche bags behind us dropping the f-bomb every other word and saying how “fn good Messi looked.” I hated to inform him that he wasnt “even fn here.” Nothing could spoil my overpriced professional football first. Not even $9.00 beer.

  12. I didn’t go to the Barca/United match but I was at the MLS All Star Game which was a blast. The only thing I wished was better was the atmosphere of the fans. It was too quiet and I felt like when they scored, there could have more of a reaction to the goal. Overall, I thought the atmosphere was good but a little too subdued for my liking. It’s such an opportunity to see Manchester United play before you here in America and I wish the fans were more active.

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