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How to maximize your soccer trip to Manchester

They may call Manchester United’s ground “The Theatre of Dreams”, but over the other side of town their biggest rivals City have been turning those dreams into nightmares in recent years. Visitors to this football-mad city are going to be winners either way though.

 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: ShutterstockYou don’t have to spend too much time on Manchester’s vibrant city streets to see that the locals are obsessed with soccer. Everywhere you look you’ll see people decked out in the red of United or the sky blue of city, while and the success of both has made a trip to see football here a must-do for sports fans. 

Manchester and football have always been a big draw for Norwegian soccer fans and now more so than ever, with local legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who played for the club and now at the helm managing it. Of the two giants, United may still hold sway when it comes to history, and despite the enormous wealth of their rivals, it was only recently they were displaced as the richest soccer club in the world by Real Madrid. However the balance of power has shifted in City’s direction more recently, not least last season, when they won an unprecedented treble, becoming the first team ever to win all three domestic trophies.

When Solskjaer first took over the team could hardly put a foot wrong, although a disappointing finale means there is a lot at stake for the likeable Norwegian. Especially bearing mind that across the way, City seem to go from strength to strength under the careful guidance of Pep Guardiola and the very deep pockets of City’s owners. Redressing that balance is going to be quite a challenge for Solskjaer who is well aware that his previous standing among Reds fans will count for little if his team don’t close the gap on city this season.

If you're planning on visiting this football-mad city. Here's how to make the most of your stay: 

Photo: Shutterstock

Old Trafford Stadium Tour

A match at Old Trafford is on the bucket list of many a soccer fan regardless of their favorite team. But you don’t have to go to an actual match to appreciate this city and how much the game means to the locals, as there are plenty other footie-inspired alternatives, not least the tours of both magnificent stadia. The Stadium Tour takes you behind the scenes at the legendary stadium and museum. Only on non-match days.

Old Trafford

Old Trafford, Sir Matt Busby Way, Manchester

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Photo: Shutterstock

Etihad Stadium

Take the guided tour of City’s modern stadium. See the dressing room and walk down to the field.

Etihad Stadium

Etihad Stadium, Station Etihad Campus

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Photo: Hotell Football

Hotel Football

For those intending to visit Manchester and of a red persuasion across the divide, you could make your trip extra special by staying in a dedicated recently opened soccer hotel, appropriately called Hotel Football. Whether you’re a United fan or simply a fan of good football everywhere, a visit is a must. Hang out in the bar on the lower level or eat lunch with a view of Old Trafford.

Hotel Football

99 Sir Matt Busby Way, Manchester

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Photo: Shutterstock

National Football Museum

Take a trip down memory lane and relive football’s greatest moments. More than 2,500 objects are on display at any given time, but there are also temporary exhibitions and interactive displays. Brazil’s legendary Pelé called the museum “a jewel.” The museum’s president is Sir Bobby Charlton.

National Football Museum

Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Corporation St, Manchester

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And if you’re not a soccer fan?

No worries, Manchester has everything else a vibrant big city on offer, whether you’re a lover of museums, technology, music (it is after all where the likes of Oasis, Stone Roses and Happy Mondays all come from) or simply shopping.

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