MUFC Away Days Special: First Hand Heartbreak From Inside Wembley Stadium

“You’ve got to learn to survive a defeat. That’s when you develop character.”

Upon reflecting on the 2010-11 season I don’t think any United fan could be disappointed.  Winning the league and with it becoming the most successful domestic side in England.  At the start of the season claiming that 19th title would undoubtedly been at the forefront of the minds of United fans and certainly topping their wish list for the season.  So coming into the Champions League final for the last game of this historic season had the feel of a bonus, albeit a massive, huge bonus!  Claiming a fourth Champions League would have been the perfect end to the season at the ground where Sir Matt made history in 1968.  Sadly it wasn’t to be.

We set out for Wembley early on the Saturday taking the train down to London then hopping on various tube routes to get to Wembley.  London was awash with both United and Barca fans.  The Catalan supporters providing a contrast in colours and noise.  Once we’d got down around Wembley the noise got greater as shouts of “Red Army” signalled the continuing arrival of the travelling reds into the tube station.  Barca fans were also around and in full voice with plenty of good hearted banter and songs being exchanged.  Rather than try and get into any of the bars around the area (as this was practically impossible!) we settled on the same embankment as we had occupied for the FA Cup Semi final.  The weather was certainly not as bright as that day but the intermittent bouts of rain did little to dampen the spirits of the MUFC Faithful nor the Barca contingent…probably used to seeing warmer days in May than what greeted them in London!

United were facing arguably the greatest club side in recent memory with a team that despite it’s accomplishments this season had been rubbished in the media more than a few times.  There was a strange feeling amongst our group.  Could we win this game?  It’s just ninety minutes after all.  The discussion went on, the positives and negatives, and potential line up’s discussed over a few drinks and some handily supplied chips.  We made our way up Wembley Way and into the ground once the confusion and chaos at the turnstiles was safely navigated.  I can’t say I’m a great fan or lover of Wembley Stadium and its set up, it’s a little too clinical for me and doesn’t have the feeling of many of the older club stadiums that echo with tradition.  Once we’re into the stands the nerves start to set in as the enormity of the game finally sets in….

The game kicks off and the section we’re occupying explodes with noise, something I’m disappointed to say wasn’t replicated in some of the other sections of the United fans.

The first fifteen minutes of the game passed in what seems like a lifetime and the United fans lend their voice to try and push the team on.  Even Barca taking the lead didn’t quell the noise.  A noise that almost lifted the ‘famous’ arch of it’s supports as Rooney levelled for United.  Cue an explosion of celebration!  Groups of fans bouncing and hugging and celebrating…and even falling over the row of seats in front (ahem).  Riding a wave of positive energy from the goal had The Faithful believeing that we could do this…… we could win.  Cue the half time whistle bringing to a close what felt like the longest 45 minutes of football I had witnessed all season!

“What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first step to something better.”

Sadly the second half didn’t go the way we had all hoped for.  Barca’s second and third goals killed the match and deflated the United Faithful.  Following the third goal I found myself sat with my head in my hands trying to contemplate what I had witnessed.  In my head I don’t think I’d truly believed that United could climb this final mountain and topple this exceptional Barca side, but neither had I prepared myself for United to lose.  I dragged myself out of my slump and continued to sing and try and get behind the team as did everyone around us.  Trying to show the players that even though this game wasn’t going our way we weren’t going to desert them now…..nor would we ever.

Tears were shed by people around me and the same dejected look was repeated on many faces.  I don’t wish to analyse performances, stats, etc etc.  I’d rather just look at the fact that we were beaten by the best team in the world and move on.  It’s in learning from this defeat that will prove valuable to us.  Well, that’s what I kept telling myself as I consoled dejected mates as we made the lonely walk down Wembley way and onto the tube to draw a close on a night that had disappointed following a season that had enthralled.  The last beer of the night let us reflect on what had happened and draw a little closure.  I even managed to speak to a few Barca fans, congratulating them on their success (no point being bitter, they were the better team) and to their credit the Catalonians were equally as respectful in their comments about the game and United.

Still, nineteen is alright isn’t it?

About Steve Ferguson 886 Articles
Steve Ferguson had taken over & re-branded The Faithful MUFC website back in the summer of 2014 and is now the owner and editor of the site. Steve, from Ashton-Under-Lyne in Greater Manchester, is a 35-year-old life long Manchester United fan, travelling over the globe to see the Reds play. Steve has been lucky enough to be at both the 1999 and 2008 Champions League finals, seeing Manchester United lift the biggest trophy in the World, none more exciting than that faithful night in Barcelona in 99. The website is a blog, but also hopes to deliver the latest Manchester United news from around the internet too, linked up with our growing twitter account which is @TheFaithfulMUFC, give it a follow as we will follow you back as soon as we can.


  1. Theres no reason for disappointment guys. After all you got 19. Thats 19 touches of the ball on saturday.

  2. You didnt mention that you got totally out played and were made to look like a pub team, why?

  3. Firstly, cheers for reading fellas. Always glad to get a bit of feedback. As for why I didn’t mention the performance etc its because these Awaydays articles aren’t a match review. Their aim is to give an insight to what it’s like as a United fan at an away game, after all, not everyone is fortunate to be in the position to get to these games.

    Oh and I think you’ll find you’re wrong about touching the ball 19 times…
    It was 21 to be exact haha!

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