Monday, 17 March 2014

Manchester United Museum and Tour Review

We were recently asked if we'd like to visit the Manchester United Museum and also attend a stadium tour too.  Now, despite being a mother of three boys, we don't follow football religiously here, well, five of us don't at least.  DS2 and DH however were secretly delighted for us to have been asked to go and visit the Theatre of Dreams, so off we went early last Saturday.

When we arrived it took us a little while to find out where we were supposed to be.  Signage wasn't the best but I suspect that was largely down to the fact that none of us had visited the stadium for some time (it was actually my first time!).  Once we'd located the entrance (which was just round the corner from the Megastore) we were given our tickets on a lanyard - I found this quite handy as juggling two small people (not literally, just handholding and that kind of thing) and needing to keep tickets to hand is a bit of a pain and this was so much easier.

The Museum

Once inside we made our way around the museum.  Now if you like silverware and football shirts this might be your kind of thing.  The children were very interested in all the different types of trophies and there were lots to look at as you'd expect.  We also liked looking at the various shirts and having a particular soft spot for Eric Cantona, I of course had to go and find one of his (complete with iconic collar) to take a picture of.

Ooh ahh, Cantona!

DS2 and the twins pose with the trophies

The museum is divided into various rooms and displays, including one dedicated to the Busby Babes and there is plenty of memorabilia from various parts of the club's 104 year history to take a look at.  I do think that had we just had our eldest (and less excitable!) children in tow we may have been able to take a closer look at things as there were a lot of displays to read, which takes some time.  Bearing in mind we only had half an hour to view the museum (which opens at 9.30 am - we were booked on the 10.00 am tour) I think it was all that we needed, although after our tour was over we were told that we could go back into the museum to take another look if we wanted.

Sir Alex's Tracksuit and Torch from the Olympic Torch Relay in 2012

Q&A with Sir Alex Holgram


The Stadium Tour

Once we'd taken a look at the museum we ended up in a waiting area, ready for the tour to start.  Our tour time was announced and we were introduced to our tour guide, Mike, who explained that we would be making our way around the entire stadium starting with the newest part, the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand.  One thing to note is that throughout the tour there were a lot of steps which made me think that we certainly wouldn't have been able to do this visit a few years back and I was very glad that all my children were able to walk around it with ease (although the twins got fairly tired towards the end).  The tour took about an hour and a half.

My favourite bit was being in the stadium itself and I don't think you can beat that feeling you get when you first see the size of it - it is so impressive.  It was so quiet too - quite different to match day I suspect!  We first spent a bit of time in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand learning all about the stadium and its vast capacity (over 75,000) while sitting on the VIP seats (the difference of which is padding compared to the regular seats!), next we moved on to a section of the tour that focused on the Munich Air Disaster and were shown the memorial from that.  We then went into the press suite - a rather large room complete with many internet connections where the journalists file their reports while being fed soup, sandwiches and chips!  (I even checked the menu which had been left out ready for Sunday's game!).

My first sight of the pitch

We were shown the Directors suite (only three types of gin in the bar - tsk!) and the player's lounge and of course, the most exciting bit, the player's changing room!  Our tour guide gave us a little insight into what happens there on match day - what kit each player has and even who sits where (apparently Ryan Giggs always sits in the same spot, right in the corner).  DS2 was really excited to sit where Wayne Rooney sits - something to tell all his friends at school!

DS2 pretends to be Rooney

We were shown outside after that, to see where the directors and press sit on match day and were told all about how the TV cameras get put in the roof, back inside we were even shown the police station that they have in the stadium.  I feel that we got a really good explanation of how everything works there - something that you just don't get from watching a match on the telly!

Tour Guide Mike explains about TV cameras

The final section of the tour showed us the tunnels both old and new and we were able to walk down the original (and very steep!) tunnel out to the dugout, where we got to sit in the substitute's seats.  Being next to the pitch itself is somewhat impressive too.  I couldn't get over how neat it all looked  - I wonder if DH could get our lawn looking like that? ;).

The new tunnel

Future Moyes replacement?

Pitch side!

The subs don't seem to be dressed for the match!

At the end of the tour we watched a final video of Manchester United and then it was over!  We all applauded Mike the tour guide, he had done a fantastic job showing us around and was very patient with us all!  In fact, all the staff we met on the day were so welcoming and helpful - so thank you to them too!  The tour left us at the Manchester United Megastore and I have never seen so much football stuff in one place - it is huge!  We collected our free personalised tour certificates (one for each of the children except DS1 who being a typical teen, pretended to be completely underwhelmed by the whole experience!) which along with the ticket lanyard made a really nice memento of our day out, and then made our way home.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip the the Museum and Stadium Tour at Manchester United.  I think it makes a fantastic and very unique day out even if, like me, you aren't the world's biggest football fan.  I was very sad to see United were beaten by Liverpool the following day - better luck next time boys!

We were given free entry to the Manchester United Museum and Stadium Tour to inform this review. All opinions are our own.

The Manchester United Museum is currently free of charge to everyone throughout March 2014.

For more information visit www.manutd.com/freemuseum. Paid Stadium Tours can also be pre booked at www.manutd.com/freemuseum or by calling 0161 868 8000.

Under 5s go free for the Stadium Tour when accompanied by one paying adult. One child under 5 can also eat free in the Red Café with one paying adult.

Standard Museum opening hours apply 9.30am-5pm (9.30pm-4pm on selected matchdays)

Please note, on evening matchdays and on Tuesday 18th March a Museum entry fee will apply from 1pm-5pm. The Museum is also closed on 16th and 29th March due to matchday preparations. Stadium Tours not available on matchdays or after 12pm on Tuesday 18th March.

Season Ticket holders, Official Members and Executive Club Members will continue to receive 50% off Stadium Tour prices.

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