Following the disappointment two days earlier inside a packed Wembley Stadium, Monday 30th was a cause for celebration back home on the streets of Manchester. Despite the typical Manchester rain, Manchester United fans braved the elements in their thousands to witness the first Manchester United open bus tour since the illustrious treble winning season in 1999.
I was fortunate to have a great vantage point of the parade thanks to andy_thomo, who offered his second floor balcony in Warwickgate House just down the road from Old Trafford. I therefore jumped at the chance for a great opportunity to get more Manchester United photographs!
I arrived shortly after 10 o’clock and was welcomed with a bacon butty and bottle of beer as the crowd started to build outside. I was grateful for the shelter as most fans had to contend with umbrellas and waterproof clothing to shelter from the weather. However the rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the red army as they blew
annoying air horns, waved their flags jubilantly and sang their hearts out as they went through the vast repertoire of the Manchester United supporters playlist. Young and old, all generations were out in full force!
This day was not just about enjoying the 2011 Premiership Title, it was about celebrating everything our great club has won over the years, recognising the fact that we are now firmly at the top of the tree as the greatest English football club ever. It also gave us a great opportunity to say a farewell to Edwin van der Sar as he retired from the game after a fantastic 20 year career, culminating with a decorated six years with our illustrious club.
Little did our supporters know that only 24 hours later, they would be waking up to the news that another great, Paul Scholes would also announce his retirement. This epitomizes the character of one of the worlds most amazing midfielders, he enjoyed the celebrations and waited until the celebrations were over, before quietly, without fuss, he slipped away from his playing career at the club where he was so worshipped. Had he announced his retirement before the parade, attention would have been on wishing him a farewell rather than on the actual reason for the victory parade. Thankfully for us, Paul Scholes will take up a coaching role, so hopefully he can pass on even an ounce of his skills to our already promising academy set up.
As the “Number 19” United bus came into view from behind the trees, we were greeted by a puzzled, if not slightly scary stare from Nani before the squad spotted the flags and banners hanging from the flats and broke into song whilst Rio appeared to take a photograph of us!
Along with a wave from Sir Alex Ferguson and Edwin van der Sar “presenting” the trophy to us, I’ll never forget the smile on Maurice Watkins’ face as the bus drove by.