Old Trafford had yet another night to remember when a capacity 75,000 fans revelled in past glories for the 50th Anniversary of United in Europe, and 50 years of the Treaty of Rome that started the European Union, as they played a EUROPE XI coached by Italian World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi
The first half was all action with 2 goals from Wayne Rooney and a Ronaldo dipping 35 yard free kick to add to one by Wes Brown-4 first half goals, all past Sevilla goalie Santiago Canizares to 1 goal for Europe from Florent Malouda of Lyon. The second half brought on many substitutes including a trio from Liverpool FC - Jamie Garragher, Stephen Gerrard and Robbie Fowler who were booed by the United fans. The pace slackened and the fans did 14 continouis WAVES- a record for me. They started drifting out with 15 minutes to go, despite my shouts to all that we were going to get free ice cream if we stayed!! Bolton's El-Hadji Diouf scored twice in the second half for a final score of 4-3. Henrik Larsson made his final bow at Old Trafford as he captained the Europe XI before returning to Halsingborgs.
The biggest applause on the night was for an appearance by David Beckham at half time to give a passionate speech and to say thank you and farewell, as he had left in a huff 4 years ago. He was supposed to play but an injury with Real Madrid kept him out of uniform. The charity match had reduced prices starting at £10 which included a free £5 souvenir programme, and lots of youngsters showed up and over £1.5 million was raised for the Manchester United Charity. The European Cup started in 1955 and I remember watching on a black and white TV, Real Madrid vs Reims in Paris at the first final. Chelsea, the English champions, were pursuaded not to enter by the English football authorities, and Hibernian of Edinburgh were the first British team that entered. Matt Busby would not be put off when his club became champions of England, and started Manchester United's glorious European adventures by playing at Maine Road, Manchester City's stadium, because Old Trafford didn't yet have floodlights for this midweek evening matches. I remember they won 3-1 in Brussels over Anderlecht and thumped them 10-0 in Manchester.