Part 2: Old Trafford and Lambeau Field
Manchester United is the most recognized soccer club on earth, and Old Trafford ? called the Theatre of Dreams by supporters ? has been its home since 1910. The magnificent stadium has been altered many times over the years (including a Luftwaffe renovation in 1941) and now holds 68,000 fans ? all of whom start singing even before the game begins.
The best place to begin your visit is at the Megastore ( Shop.Manutd.com), an enormous shop selling all things Red. “You can never go to Old Trafford without visiting the Megastore,” says lifelong supporter Coleman. “I will usually get there early on the day of the match so I can spend at least two hours in the store.” Leave time to walk along Sir Matt Busby Way, named for the team’s greatest manager, and take in the street vendors and fish and chip shops. You can book a tour of Old Trafford (except on game days), including a visit to the United Museum, at Manutd.com.
Home games run from August to May and tickets are extraordinarily difficult to come by. A small number are available to active members of the Manchester United Supporters Club Canada ( Muscc.com), or you can visit Magical Journeys ( MagicalJourneys.com), a Mississauga, Ont.-based travel portal, for info on Old Trafford packages. If you already have a ticket, Zoom Airlines has inexpensive direct flights to Manchester from major Canadian cities ( FlyZoom.com).
Green Bay, Wisconsin
There was a time when you could buy season tickets to see the Green Bay Packers ? unfortunately, that was during the Kennedy administration. These days there are more than 68,000 people on the waiting list for seats in recently renovated Lambeau Field.
Lambeau, the oldest NFL stadium still in use, opened in 1957, just before Vince Lombardi became head coach and led the team to a decade of glory. The Packers won the NFL championship five times in the 1960s, the last victory coming at Lambeau in the Ice Bowl of 1967, when the windchill hit -43°C.
You won’t have to worry about wind chill if you visit in the summer or fall. Sign up for one of the hour-long tours of Lambeau ($8 U.S., no tours on game days) and you can pay homage to a statue of Lombardi, walk through the stadium’s hallowed tunnels and stroll onto the field’s Kentucky bluegrass. Call 920-569-7513.
Packer Fan Tours, the official travel partner of the team, offers a range of packages including not only tickets and hotels, but also opportunities to rub shoulder pads with some of the players, tour the massive Packers Hall of Fame, join a tailgate party and whoop it up at Brett Favre’s Steakhouse. Trips range from about $89 (U.S.) for a preseason game ticket (but no lodging) to more than $700 (U.S.) per day for the MVP treatment. The Packers play nine home games between Sept. 18 and Jan. 1. For more info, visit PackerFanTours.com, or call 1-800-851-7225.
From the Summer 2005 issue.