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Villarreal 0 United 0

European aways are as much about the trip as the result, especially in the group stages where we all kind of know at the back of our minds that we will qualify anyway. Whereas trips to Barcelona or Milan in the semi finals cause sleepness nights and incredible worry about the results, group stage aways such as Villarreal are far less pressured and more effort goes into the trip than the match. Reds flocked to the small town via Barcelona, Alicante and Benidorm as an away in Spain was as good an excuse as any to spend some time in the sun. Many of them booked not knowing that whilst it would be sunny it would also br freezing cold.

We flew out the day of the game, not leaving too much time as we did not land in Valencia until after 3pm. Teddy Sheringham was on our flight and turned his nose up at Reds who wanted a chat, not the nicest ex-Red around. We made a quick exit from the airport, sorted the hire car, set the sat nav and drove straight off to Villarreal. No one had been clear on whether there would be a football special back to Valencia after the game, so the car seemed the best option. We were parked up an hour later literally at the side of the ground, and it was dead quiet in the side streets of the stadium. We walked back into the town centre to see what was around and discovered the reason why the day trips were dropped in Valencia- Villarreal has nothing to offer! After seeing the main sights- a swing and slide, a statue of a train carriage and a building site- we settled down in a quiet bar with welcoming owners who had highlights of the Villa game on (not really a reason to stay!)  and good food to offer.

Around ninety minutes before kick off we headed back to the stadium, went through the minimal amounts of security and headed up the neverending stairs into the top of the stands. At the top we found a terrible view- where no seat in the away could see both goals at once due to the steel poles holding up the netting that surrounded us. It is absolutely shocking that seats were £58 for this appauling section of the ground, and we could not figure out where the £50 restricted view seats were as they all seemed to be! We made our way down to the front which meant watching the game through perspex rather than netting- not really much better but the best we could get. It gradually filled up and news came in of the team that surprised a few people.

The game itself was fairly disappointing. It seemed the players were fairly happy with a point and had their minds on Sunday, but in a way it was job done and we left topping the group with the easiest game left. Ronaldo’s shot was the highlights, but Nani’s woeful performance and Tevez only getting five minutes were the low points. The final whistle went and we clapped the lads off, slightly disappointed to see another 0-0 against ten men but also relieved that we out in a fairly decent performance and came away unscathed against a very good team.

After being held in for only around fifteen minutes it was back to the car and straight back to Valencia. Checked into the hotel at midnight, watched the highlights of the game and got some kip. All in all Villarreal treated us well apart from the seating arrangements- the locals were good and the police stayed away from the away section. United responded well in turn.

The next day we spent the morning in Valencia seeing the sights- and were really impressed- and then headed back to the airport to drop off the hire car and fly home.  At the airport the United team were being mobbed by locals and a few Reds as they passed through security next to us. Some of the boys got Rooney, Ronaldo and co to sign their Moscow visas which I wish I had though of! Then it was back home to London via Ryanair to start worrying about the Derby!

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