Aviva: the new Lansdowne Rd

Manchester United opened the new Aviva Stadium in style tonight, beating an Airtricity League selection 7-1. It was great to be there and see the stadium fill up, but the game itself wasn’t more than a training run for Utd. They barely had to break a sweat, although Vidic looked like he could do with more training, judging by his sluggish reactions towards the end. Rooney had a bad game. Valencia played well. O’Shea didn’t score.

The atmosphere was pretty subdued, given that 95% of the 49,000 crowd we cheering U-NI-TED. It was surreal to be in Ireland, yet the Irish team didn’t merit a cheer, but the boys from across the pond got plenty of cheers (although Nani got booed for the penalty). Things only got good when the Mexican wave started and then there was an OLE OLE OLE when Ireland scored.

We had Premium level seats behind the goal which were great. You’re so close to the pitch, I felt Rooney could nearly hear the abuse I gave him (pity there’s no Ronaldo in the team anymore – no real hate figure to target. Last time in Old Trafford at an Arsenal game, I was promptly told to shut up). Nani has potential to fill Ronaldo’s boots though…

Bill O’Herlihy must be happy. He has a premium level seat and can watch the match LIVE now, by swivelling his swivelly seat around and looking down. Looked like he was enjoying the coffees too. I wonder what Eamo would have had to said about Utd – surely he would have slated them for something. Or maybe the FAI for organising a shambles of a game like that. Better than the IRFU’s opener anyway: 68-0.

The premium seats have access to plenty of bars and food stalls. It’s all inside but with full views of the pitch, so I could imagine staying in the warmth of the bar while watching a match in freezing cold January.

There was a good Waterford representation. John  O’Shea captained Utd; Alan Kirby tried to torment O’Shea in the 2nd half on the wing; Alan Reynolds from Tramore was assistant manager to the Irish side and Johnny Matthews featured in the match program. On the Deise!


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