Red Devil’s Advocate

When it seemed like all was lost and our FA Cup Quest was doomed, out of nowhere (well Twitter actually) came an olive branch. It goes a little something like this…

West Ham’s defeat of ‘our’ team Blackburn in round 5, means that our allegiance now lies with the very Happy Hammers. But who should they get in the quarter finals? Manchester United, one of, if not the best supported clubs in the world. Getting a ticket the usual way (online, phone, ticket office [old school]) proved impossible. West Ham quickly sold out their 8,000-strong allocation before it even got to ‘general sale’ stage, so I appealed to the home side. “Any tickets left for the West Ham game?”, I asked the nice man in Manchester, tentatively. “There are sir, what’s your membership number?”. “Argh. Right”. And from that moment, as I replied with my answer that obviously I didn’t have one, his voice turned from sincere to one of disbelief. I could almost hear him thinking ‘We’re Man U, the biggest club in the world, does this idiot think he can just ring up and get a ticket’. In the words of Alan Partridge, I felt like a ruddy idiot.

So with my tail between my legs, confidence in our Quest shattered, I turned to Twitter for my plea for help. And alas, by the power of hashtags, a reply came from someone who was flogging his ticket. Get in. However, only one ticket. Problem. What about Mark? My companion, my music-supplying football fwend who has been to Brackley with me more times than he’s been to his dentist. Well, he’s missing out. It’s a cruel blow I know, but he’s willing to let me go and continue our Quest a man down. It’s on telly anyway; he’ll be alright.

So, I’m off to Old Trafford for the third time in my life, the second time supporting a team other than my own (I witnessed a FA Cup semi-final there between Blackburn and Chelsea in 2007).

Officially, we’re following The Hammers. But I’ll be sat amongst the Red Devils in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand.

With any luck Mark will see me sat in the stand as he perches on his bar stool watching the game on a big screen, sulking, naturally. I might make a banner for him. But that might just be rubbing it in.

Old Trafford Stadium, inside