‘Right to Reserve’ is a new feature on The Faithful from Darren Goodson. The idea came from Darren’s love of both photography and Manchester United and will therefore offer a unique insight from the lens and thoughts of a local-based Man Utd fan and amateur photographer following the Youth and Reserve teams.
Unusually, this week, the reserves played the game at Old Trafford having played the majority of their fixtures at Moss Lane, the home of Altrincham AFC.
In contrast with attending a first team game at Old Trafford you immediately notice the immense size of the stadium, displaying as many unoccupied seats as a crucial Eastlands fixture against Spurs.
Another difference to watching first team action is how close you feel to the action, not just physically close as you occupy the front few rows of the stadium, but also the way that you can hear the players and staff barking orders at each other, you hear every kick and head of the ball, every sliding tackle.
You often see senior players starting for the Reserves, those that are on the road to recovery or included to give some experience and direction to the rest of the team. This weeks game against Blackburn included Rafael de Silva and Darren Fletcher who’s waif appearance gave the fans a clear insight into just how bad a virus he has been suffering with of late. I would be surprised if Fletch makes a sufficient recovery to be seriously considered a starting place in the Champions League Final in just under 15 days time.
It’s weird how the same players we worship on a Saturday afternoon during the throes of a frenetic Premiership clash appear a lot less like untouchable superstars and much more like human beings whilst in the reserves.
The great thing about getting to a reserves fixture is to see what the next crop of players are like and there is a real buzz around the few hundred-strong crowd as they discuss who may make the step up into the first team.
Monday night saw a disappointing end to a great season for the Manchester United reserves as they were beaten 2-1 thanks to a fantastic strike against the run of play and second goal before half-time from former Barcelona striker Rubén Rochina. A penalty from Petrucci half way through the second half wasnt enough to prevent Manchester United suffering an exceptionally rare defeat at the most crucial point of the season.
The full set of photographs can be viewed here at Darren’s Flickr site.