Category Archives: football

And the dream came true for me

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I love the UK. There, I said it. After a year of living in a place where I couldn’t understand the language, stepping into another where suddenly everything makes sense really makes you feel you don’t want to leave. Ever. My journey began by arriving at the Birmingham airport. I flew with Ryanair, the UK equivalent of AirAsia. We landed, literally, with a thud. I seriously thought the wheels were going to break through the plane. But apart from that, this budget airline was on time, so no complaints in that department.

14-Nov: I was greeted by friends whom I met back in Kajang (they were students then). It was great to see the trio after all these while.

From left: Maya, Peter and Derek (my hosts for the trip)

First stop was the city of Birmingham, the 2nd largest city in England after London. There, we went to a Malaysian restaurant (where else) and I must say:

a. They serve wicked teh tarik (I had two)

b. Their roasted duck, pork belly and char siew rice was awesome

c. Their char kuey teow was approved by my Penang friend. Maya, btw, is a Japanese girl who lives in Penang and speaks perfect Hokkien. I think she is more Malaysian than Japanese.

The food was so good I forgot to take pictures. Oh well… After stuffing ourselves silly, we head over to Oldham. There we stayed at the Travel Lodge, something like your Tunes hotels, with a bit more extras offered. The room we had came with a double bed and a sofa bed. You can sleep 4 persons in there.

The room; Peter trying to look cool honestly

Outside the hotel

The place itself is nothing glam; to be expected from the price you pay for the rooms. You step into a very immaculate lobby, simply designed as it is, check yourself in and off you go to the room. That was day 1.

15-Nov: Big day for Peter, Derek and myself, as finally we will be going to dream land of every Manchester United fan, OLD TRAFFORD. But first, we head to Manchester China Town.

The Grand Arch of Entrance

First stop was to have dim sum at the Pacific Restaurant. I found out breakfast in UK doesn’t start until 11am, which made me kinda suffer cos’ the moment I awaken from slumber, the first thing my tummy would do is growl. And having breakfast which is really brunch kicked up a really good appetite. It was a very cosy restaurant, and we were the first customers to arrive. Talk about being hungry. By 12pm, the place was packed to the brim. The waitress that served us, we found out, was from Penang who have been living there for 7 years. And as usual, the food was gone before any one of us could snap any pix.

Beneath the smile hides a rumbling stomach

After lunch, we head to the THEATER OF DREAMS. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

After 10 years of supporting them, I have reached Manchester United Football Stadium

The United Trinity (United legends)

Below: Sua Pa Kau Trinity

We went first to the Mega Store and I purchased a few paraphernalia, in the hope of converting my wife and kids to being Manchester United fans as well. Time will tell ;P. We also purchase the tour tickets at 12.50pounds a piece.

The pilgrimage begins...

The tour starts

Inside Old Trafford. Sometimes, you can see the tour guide on the telly (he works as a steward on match days)

Rabid fans

Stretford End

The Munich Tunnel, a memorial for the players and journalists whose lives were lost in the 1958 air crash...

Before the tragedy at Munich the club belonged to Manchester. But afterwards, Manchester United captured the imagination of the entire world.

It was an emotional trudge through the tunnel, remembering the lives lost, shattered dreams, the mammoth efforts to rebuild the club…

Players changing room

The tactics board, and the place where Fergie unleashes the famous 'hair-dryer' treatment

The tunnel to the grounds

Some of you may recognize this, the pre and post match interview board

Totally excited, as you can see 😉

At the dugout

Home side

After the tour that took about an hour, we continued with a visit to the museum…

Players' kits

The trophy cabinet... it's not even half of what they have


Even the memorabilia from match with the Malaysian team recently in 2009 was on display

The Champion's League Cup

The FA Cup

And the hooligans

These are memories that will be forever etched in my heart…

After the highly satisfying trip, we headed over to Trafford Place, a massive shopping mall in Manchester for dinner before heading over to Nottingham, the place where Derek is staying.

To be continued (mainly because I feel that after the Man U trip, talking about anything else seems insignificant)

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Memories

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Champion's League 2007/2008 Final

Champion's League 2007/2008 Final

On 21-05-08, I took a day off to watch Man U play in the finals of Champions League against Chelsea. Due to time difference, the game was played 3am in Malaysia. I nearly missed the game, even though I took my alarm clock downstairs where the TV was to make sure I was up for it. Today, I was watching the review again. When it came to the finals, my hands started sweating cold sweats. Then slowly, I remembered…

The joy when Ronaldo scored the first goal.

The shock when Peter Cech made the unbelievable double save.

The disappointment when Lampard scored the equalizer.

The sinking feeling when Ronaldo missed the penalty kick.

The stir of hope when Terry MISSED the penalty kick.

The madness and esctasy when Van der Sar saved the final ball from Anelka.

Champion's League 2007/08 winners

Champion's League 2007/08 winners

Manchester United always…. GLORY GLORY!!!!

A painful night, but nevertheless…

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27-May-2009 will always remain a painful memory for me; how Manchester United was outclassed by a superb Barcelona side. At the first ten minutes, the Red Devils looked like they are going to eat Barcelona up. After Samuel Eto’o scored the first goal, it was as if somebody turned on a switch and all the players in white died. It was a case of watching 10 headless chickens trying to overcome the Spanish players.

But looking back at our season, it was a season of champions, a great season which any team would love to trade theirs for. We are fortunate we are not Newcastle, whom after a bad case of management, are now languishing in the Championship. We are fortunate we are not Manchester City, whom after millions are spent on, are, at best, a team of mediocrity. We are fortunate we are not Liverpool, whom, after 19 years, are still singing the same song; “NEXT YEAR WILL BE OUR YEAR”.

And speaking of Liverpool, I was at a restaurant watching the game with a few friends from church. Amongst them was a Liverpool fan. Throughout the game, he was taunting / mocking Manchester United. I was keeping quiet, of course, channelling whatever support I could to our struggling team. At the end of the match, this guy was so happy that Manchester United lost, and went on his usual rant. I simply said to him “Well, at least Manchester United was in the finals, and not Liverpool”. Another friend added “Yeah, and we won the premiership. What did your team win?” The look on his face was priceless, and his reply was class… he had nothing to say. HAHAHAH.

CONGRATULATIONS TO BARCELONA. ON 27-MAY-2009, YOU WERE THE BETTER TEAM AND DESERVED TO BE CROWNED CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE 2009.