Away Days: Talking planes, trains and automobiles with M.U.S.T

We caught up with Ian Stirling from the Manchester United Supporters' Trust to chat about a typical day following the Reds on the road - if there is such a thing.
Matthew Crist  |  11th July 2019

They say there’s no place like home but for most football supporters there is nothing quite like an away trip.

The thought of watching your side in  far-flung places with a bunch of friends using pretty much any mode of transport available is what being a fan is all about after all – isn’t it?.

So we spoke to Ian Stirling, Vice-Chair of the Manchester United Supporter’s Trust (MUST), to find out what the perfect away day entails and the lengths they will go to when it comes to following the Reds over land and sea.

It’s a full time job following United so how do you normally get to away games?

It depends on where they are really. The train is the usual mode of transport but we sometimes hire a minibus and a driver. Obviously, we fly for European matches.

That must be pretty costly?

Absolutely! There’s usually a mad dash to get the  best price for flights to European matches and with matches being moved for Premier League games it’s a bit of an issue booking too far ahead.

M.U.S.T

So there must be a lot of planning when it comes to organising away trips?

A lot of last minute planning! Success in the ballot is a factor. With European travel it obviously takes a bit more organising but everyone has their area of speciality- flights, accommodation, getting about the city, bars, restaurants., we’ve got someone for each.

What sort of numbers do you normally take in your group?

Usually between 6-10 mostly consisting of a group of friends who’ve known each other for a while. And have been watching United home and away.

There must have been some pretty epic trips in all your years following the Reds?

Bursaspor in Turkey was the most epic. We flew to Bulgaria then got the train to Istanbul from Sofia, before jumping on the ferry across the Bosphorus and finally getting a minibus to Bursa for the game

… and no doubt a few funny stories, too?

On the trip to Bursa we had to cross the Bosphorus on a ferry. It’d been a long trip involving an overnight on a trainand two of the lads fell asleep on the ferry. They woke up just as the ferry was turning round to make the return journey. One lad decided to see if he could jump to shore and landed in the sea. He had to be rescued by bemused Turks with us all laughing at him!

About Manchester United Supporters’ Trust

Founded in response to Rupert Murdoch’s proposed takeover of United, MUST has been fighting to improve the lives of Reds ever since. Working with other fan groups, MUST has helped make away day ticket caps a reality as well as helping to move safe standing ever closer to happening.

A volunteer based organisation MUST has grown to become a prominent voice with the United fan community and helped improve the match day experience of thousands of Reds, an ideal that fits in perfectly with RedArmyBet’s ethos.

MUST and RedArmyBet is a partnership designed to help United fans everywhere from discussions with the club to making life easier for supporters’ when it comes to attending matches.

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