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The Arsenal Magical Mystery Tour: Old Trafford

Come take a visual tour of one of the most famous grounds in the world, Old Trafford

Stanley Chou

Old Trafford. The Theater of Dreams. Sirs Matt Busby, Alex Ferguson and Bobby Charlton. George Best. The Stretford End.

There is little disputing that Old Trafford, located in the western Manchester borough of Trafford and home to Manchester United, is the most famous and historical ground in the United Kingdom, and possibly the world over. Opened in 1910, Old Trafford has been home to 19 First Division/EPL titles (and, shhhhh, don't say it too loud around United supporters, but two Second Division titles - the last coming in 1974-1975), and has been home to some of the sport's greatest legends and memories. Quite simply, any visit to Old Trafford - whether as a supporter, player or manager - is a visit to a living museum.



History: I'll pick up the history of the grounds at the start of World War II. Much like other sporting public assets, the military requisitioned the stadium as a depot of goods and supplies. Thanks to its duty of storing things, and thus being a crucial asset to the military's efforts in the theater of war, the Germans bombed Old Trafford twice, once in 1940 and again in 1941. While the stadium was able to open back up a few months later after the first bombing, the Germans virtually destroyed much of the stadium in the 1941 bombing.

After the 1941 bombing, the club moved their home matches to Manchester City's Maine Road. Thanks to United's debt that racked up after losing out on full gate receipts (City was kind enough to give them a percentage of gate receipts for matches at Maine Road) and having to pay a fee to play each match there, it took nearly 10 years for another match to be played at a newly-repaired Old Trafford. Needless to say, what we see today looks vastly different than what once stood.

The Stands (and what they looked like before the massive upgrades over the past two decades):

North Stand





South Stand



(The South Stand hasn't changed too drastically since the stadium was redeveloped, other than the players come out from a tunnel in the southwest corner of the stadium these days, as seen above, rather than the tunnel from the South Stand that currently divides the two dugouts)

East Stand





West Stand





Statues and Memorials: This is where I'd normally cover how to get to the specific ground (and if you really want to know, Old Trafford has an extremely ample amount of parking spots), but I'd rather focus my time and energy on what I believe the club has done the best at Old Trafford, and that's honoring its past. Here are the statues and memorials that grace the ground that help tell the visitor a little bit more about the club's history and how it continues to serve as a foundation for its future:

The United Trinity (honoring club legends Denis Law, George Best and Sir Bobby Charlton), located across the street from the East Stand



Sir Matt Busby, Manager of Manchester United from 1945-1969, located in front of the North Stand:



Munich Memorial Plaque, which honors the United players and coaches who lost their lives in the Munich Air Disaster, located on the south wall of the East Stand:



The Munich Clock, which is frozen to the time in which the airplane crashed, located on the southeast exterior wall, and in clear sight of the Munich Memorial Plaque: