Many fans have their own rituals on match days, be it having a drink or two in a particular pub or bar, pre match meal or meet up with fellow Reds to discuss the previous match and the game ahead. I too, have had my own rituals (some have changed over the years), and another change is about to happen thanks to my maiden visit to Hotel Football.
My first visit to the newly built establishment was on Saturday (4th April), accompanied by my eight year old daughter, where we were greeted by friendly and approachable staff at the front doors. I had booked in for the ‘Heaven’ experience and was eager to see first hand what it was all about.
What struck me instantly was the dress attire of the staff, fused with a smart but casual look, and in keeping with the trendsetting that is so often associated with Manchester.
I was greeted by a gentleman with a beaming smile who offered to show my daughter and I, a glimpse of what we could expect during the course of the day. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the gentleman who had taken out his valuable time on a busy match day was in fact the General Manager – Stewart Davies, who created a warm and friendly impression on us both.
The view from ‘Heaven’ (located at the top of Hotel Football) was spectacular, with the famous Manchester United sign lit up in red visible in all of its glory. Upon arriving in ‘Heaven’, we were met with drinks on reception. The green turf like feel under foot gave it a football pitch style touch, with white sofas and bar tables dotted around for a relaxed setting. There was even a small area for younger children to write and draw, with smaller furniture laid out for their comfort. As the day was nice and sunny, the retractable roof came to good use too, with one of the staff (Georgia) happy to mingle with adults and children alike making sure everything was just right.
The pre match food looked and tasted exquisite, I couldn’t help but notice a novelty popcorn cart too which my daughter visited on more than one occasion.
Gary and Phil Neville provided the answers to the questions we had an opportunity to write down for them pre match. The children were elated that they had a group photo with the two legends, an experience they will remember for some time.
Just before the game, we went downstairs and had meal at Cafe Football, with prices very reasonable, food excellent and the service great.
Post match, we went back and had the most wonderful experience of listening to Ryan Giggs, who spoke to a small intimate crowd about past, present and future football related questions. I mean where else could you find the assistant manager of a football club come to speak to fans, just an hour or so after the game, more so, a living legend of the club ? It’s the type of experience that is truly a must for any United fan.
I had the immense pleasure of chatting to Stuart Procter – Managing Director, who like Stewart Davies, had a really friendly approach and took time out to speak to my daughter and I ensuring we were happy and being looked after. It struck me that throughout the day, pre and post match, and the staff had great interaction with all that visited Hotel Football, and they had a great camaraderie with each other, happy to help their colleagues as well of course the customers.
The balance and ambience that has been created by Hotel Football is perfect for any United fan, and great for those who want to bring their children and families in an environment and setting that is safe, secure, friendly and where boredom wont creep in before or after a game. Much to my surprise, the price of food and drinks was very reasonable, when you consider how much you would pay for pie, burger or drinks in or around the ground.
It seems like my match day ritual will be changing, and much more regular visits to Hotel Football will be made. There is a bar for over 18’s, and is located within a stones throw away from Old Trafford, which ticks all the boxes for me, and I would highly recommend you check it out for yourselves as I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.