United my story
Grown up nearby Hohe Warte, the home of First Vienna FC 1894, the oldest club in Austria, it’s no wonder, football became the focus of my life. At the age of about 13 years I got in contact with the fans of SK Rapid Vienna. Today a Italian Ultra style fan base, but not so in the 80’s, when English football and fans were the ultimate ideal. This were the ingredients to become a United fan.
On behalf of my glorious marks at school, especially English, my parents decided to sent me over to England on a pupils exchange or something like that. I wasn’t really excited about that idea, but there arose other opportunities. My friend Bernhard (meanwhile a season ticket holder at OT) had other problems. He wasn’t allowed to travel to England on his own, as they were frightened about the idea his poor son from the countryside alone in big cities. „United we are strong“, we decided to stick together, and yes it worked. We were allowed to go, even more, as Bernhard’s pen friend organized us a stay at his friend’s house. Ten minutes walk from Old Trafford. The rest is history, it changed our life, the friendship to Matt, this big United fan who gave us generously accommodation was meant to hold for decades to come.
It was in 1986, a year of history for United as Sir Alex Ferguson joined the club, the first 3 games, we attended United lost. A 1-0 defeat at Highbury was followed by home defeats to West Ham (2:3) and even newly promoted Charlton (0:1). Nevertheless the journey (interrail that time) was a success for us, the Red Devil inside me was awake. And yes, my English improved a lot, probably not that style, my parents expected, my new teacher at school summarized it nicely: „your English is awful, but it’s English, where have you been?“
It took 3 more games until I could celebrate a win. It was in 1987 when United beat Watford at Old Trafford. Before that I travelled to Southampton, I was lucky enough to get in at the home end, the away section was overcrowded even before all the fans travelled on the football special from Manchester arrived. No wonder, there were hundreds of United lads in the home end who celebrated 2 goals from Norman Whiteside, only to drew 2-2.
My best memories with United, oh dear there are so many. So here are some, in time order, each one a special moment.
19. Aug 1989, United 4 Arsenal 1: Arsenal were the new champions, Michael Knighton presented himself as new big man at the Club. United trashed the champions, unbelievable atmosphere.
31. Aug 1991, United 1 Leeds 1: Not a game to remember really, but it was the first time I experienced the fierce rivalry with Leeds (we all hate Leeds Scum!)
20. May 1995, Everton 1 United 0: Look at the date, yes it was a Cup Final at Wembley. Defeats are part of the game, nevertheless an unforgettable experience.
11. May 1996, United 1 Liverpool 0: Wembley again! This time it was perfect, thanks to Eric Cantona. It was a big difference to year before, after winning the League, the atmosphere was far more positive on that day. No more words needed!
30. Sept 1998: FC Bayern 2 Untied 2: The game, well no idea, have been at the Oktoberfest with hundreds of Reds, you know….
26. May 1999, No sadly I wasn’t able to travel, I even managed a ticket, but a new job so no chance. Anyway a remarkable evening, when Ole scored I destroyed the door of the pub, where I watched the game. The landlord was not amused, but it was ok, he had a good insurance….
14. March 2010, United 3 Fulham 0: Not a special game, after more than 10 years absence for private reasons it was an emotional return to what I call now my second home.
February 2018: The 60th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster. Unbelievable days with loads of United Supporters from all over the world.
There are many more experiences and stories still lively in my memories, difficult to bring those partly very emotional memories in to words. Would be nice to tell you at one of our events to come.
We will never die! GGMU