Manchester United match day tickets are NOT easy to come by, let me tell you. If you're not a member of the club and attempt to purchase a single game ticket, they make you WORK for it. They're all like "Oh hi! You're not a member of the club, don't have season tickets AND you're an international fan? Ok so this is how you'll be able to get some tickets. It's simple, really. See those hoops on fire? First, you'll have to jump through those, then walk across that bed of hot coal, wrestle a lion, and fight off a dragon before you reach the tower, where you'll find the ticket agent. You'll just have to answer her riddle and she'll hand you your tickets. Oh, but only after giving up your left arm and your first born child".
My husband has always told me that one day, he wants to visit England to watch his soccer team, Manchester United, play a game in their home stadium. Well, for his birthday this year, that one day came. It took everything in me not to spoil the surprise, since I had started planning it a few months in advance, but "everything in me" obviously wasn't enough to hold me back, because a month and a half before our departure date, it came out. We were going to the UK to watch a Man U game. What he didn't know, however, was the painstakingly difficult process I had to go through to actually get tickets for the game.
The Manchester United Football Club doesn't make it easy for non-members to purchase tickets. They put their members and season ticket holders first, with good reason. Did you know that 73% of the entire Old Trafford Stadium consists of season ticket holders? And for those who have held the same seats for 25 years or more, Man Utd has honoured them by drilling little mini metal plaques to the bottoms of their seats with their names. These are dedicated fans. It's a religion out there, and they take this stuff seriously. It's very easy to become a member of the club though (and I'm serious this time)- all you have to do is sign up for an official membership on their website for about $70 CAD annually. This comes with a handful of benefits, like discounts at their cafe and store. Once you become a member, you can then purchase match day tickets, but season ticket holders obviously get the first go at it, and Matchday VIP tickets come second.
A Matchday VIP ticket is the one and only option available for non-members to get access to single game tickets, unless you're looking to rent out an entire suite or private box (which were also all sold out at the time I was booking- the day the tickets were released). And I know these are the only options because, I spent days on end trying to figure out all my options, which led me to contacting the manager of hospitality at Old Trafford. You have the choice between a few different options that are mandatory with these tickets: the Lancashire Package, Museum, Red Cafe Pre-Match, Red Cafe Post-Match, and the Europa Suite. I decided to go with the Red Cafe Post-Match option, which includes your match day tickets, along with a match day program, a 2 course meal served after the game in their Red Cafe and a Q & A with a past Manchester United player. Since we weren't planning on visiting Manchester again any time soon after this match, I decided that for the same price as becoming an official member and buying match day tickets, it would be well worth it for us to get a meal out of this instead. And it was. They greet you at the entrance of the cafe as soon as the match is finished with a refreshing drink (cocktails, beer, juices, etc.), walk you to your table, that is shared with a few other fellow Manchester United fans, and seat you in these adorable red chairs decorated like the back of jerseys, decked out with players' names and numbers. The meal was delicious, the environment was friendly, and the little gifts they laid out at your seat were an extra bonus.
You can purchase Matchday VIP tickets online here: www.matchdayvip.manutd.com, or call 0161-826-8677. Just keep in mind that when booking online, the internet books your seats at the back of the block (you don't get to choose your seats), whereas if you book by phone, they are able to get you the best seats possible for what's available.
After all the headaches and heartache I had to go through to get the match day tickets, it was all worth it in the end. Just being present during the game, in the Theatre of Dreams alongside 75,000 other fans cheering our team on, and seeing the sheer awe and excitement in my husband's face the entire time we were there made it all worth it. And I would do it all over again for him in a heartbeat.