Old Trafford, also nicknamed the "theatre of dreams", has been Manchester United’s stadium since 1910. It is located in the borough of Trafford, belonging to Greater Manchester, a metropolitan county in Northwest England.
In the 1940s Manchester United shared the pitch with Manchester City, their local rival, playing out their encounters at Maine Road. After the various expansions and renovations that have taken place, Old Trafford now has a capacity of 76.312 seats. It is the second largest football stadium in the UK and the ninth in Europe.
The seating plan at Old Trafford is as follows: the North Stand, with 25,500 seats; the South Stand with 11,500 seats; the West Stand holding 12,000 spectators; and 11,500 seats in the East Stand.
In total there are 328 rows of seats with 102, 48, 89 and 89 rows, respectively. The newest parts of the stadium are located in the corners and are known as quadrants. Each stand is divided into layers or tiers. The North side with a lower section and an upper section (both within the first tier), as well as a second tier and third tier. The East and West sides have a lower and upper tiered section as well as a second tier. The South side is two-tiered with a lower and upper section. As with many stadiums, the official names of the stands are not always the names used by the fans. The North Stand is known as the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and the South Stand, as the Bobby Charlton Stand.
The Manchester United Stadium has 165 boxes which can hold five, six, eight or ten people. The majority are in the North Stand. In addition, there is a disabled seating platform allowing for 104 places, with some seats nearby which are set aside for companions. Incidentally, it is interesting to know that Manchester United is one of the few clubs that does not charge their disabled fans who are members of MUDSA, an association created by the team for this group.
There are several ways to get to the Old Trafford Stadium:
Metrolink is a light rail system from the city centre (including Piccadilly Station and Victoria Station) to Old Trafford (taking the Altrincham line) and Exchange Quay (Eccles line). Both stations are just 5 minutes walk from the stadium.
The GMPTE (Transport for Greater Manchester) offers a regular, direct service to Old Trafford every day, with extra services on match days. Their website offers an internal search engine that allows you to select your starting point and destination and find all the buses covering that route, the stops where you can get on and off the bus and the timetables and frequency of each service.
Northern Rail has a direct service to Old Trafford which they put on especially for match days from the major stations in the city centre. The destination station is located next to the South Stand. It is advisable to consult the train schedules in order to avoid the crowds before and after the match.
There are various routes depending on which part of the city you are coming from. It is important to bear in mind that an hour and a half before the start of the match, the police cut off vehicle access to the stadium via Chester Road. If you are driving in from the north, you will have to exit the M60 at junction 12 M602 (towards Salford/Manchester). At junction 3, at the end of the M602, you have to follow the signs for Salford Quays and Trafford Park. When you come to the roundabout you have to come off on the right taking the Trafford Road (A5063) exit. On the bridge, you will need to stay in the right-hand lane, to turn to right again and continue until you get to Trafford Wharf Road. There you have to turn left onto Waters Reach and continue through the traffic lights until you reach Sir Matt Busby Way.
If, on the other hand you are coming from the south of Manchester, you should take junction 16 exit on the M6 to take the A556 in the direction of the airport. You will need to continue on the M56 to Manchester, passing the airport and continuing towards M60 Leeds/Liverpool. Take exit 7 (A56 Chester Road) and follow the signs to Sir Matt Busby Way.
Your entrance ticket to the Manchester United stadium contains the following information:
STAND: Old Trafford has four stands, each one having at least two tiers. The section and the tier of your seat are marked on your entrance ticket. For example, East Stand -Tier 2. The away section for the visiting team’s fans tends to be in the South and East Stand areas.
ENTRANCE: The pitch has several entrances around the stadium; they are the access points from the street. Both the entrance and the façade of the stadium are marked with a letter and a number. For example, Entrance E4. This is where you show your entrance ticket and submit to the routine security controls.
BLOCK: Blocks at Old Trafford are the different parts of the tiers. Each block has several rows of seats. Blocks are marked with letters and numbers, for example: Block NE3426.
ROW: each block contains various rows of seats. These are indicated by numbers. For example, Row 28.
SEAT: once you have found your row, locating your seat will be the easiest part of this whole process which has taken you from outside the stadium to your seat. Each seat has a number, for example: 41.
The following points summarize the safety regulations that Manchester United Club apply to access sports events that are held in the Old Trafford Stadium:
It is forbidden to take in any electronic devices (tablets, laptops etc.) larger than 15x10 centimetres in size. Cameras are accepted as long as they do not exceed this size.
Flags or banners with pennants or rods, and those which have been purchased from unauthorized sellers located outside the stadium are not allowed. In addition, to be accepted they must be equal to or less than 2x1 metres in size and cannot display offensive content or language.
You are not allowed to bring food or drink into the stadium. This rule includes alcohol, drinks in cans, cartons, cups, glass bottles, plastic bottles and with dark coloured drinks, flasks etc. Transparent bottles of water, less than 500 millilitres and without their cap are permitted.
Smoking is prohibited in all zones in the Old Trafford stadium, including car parks and lobbies. Electronic cigarettes are also forbidden.
Access with prams, pushchairs or luggage is not permitted. Backpacks and small bags are allowed.
For security reasons, it is forbidden to bring objects such as air-horns, medium or large umbrellas, darts, pyrotechnic articles (rockets, flares, etc.), smoke canisters, laser devices and tools such as hammers or screwdrivers.
Any fan displaying threatening, inappropriate or dangerous behaviour affecting the security of other spectators will be subject to ejection from the field.
Anyone supporting the visiting team found within the area of local supporters will be removed from the stadium.