Manchester United fans celebrate triumph after tragedy

A crowd of Manchester United fans were cheering outside a Stockholm stadium on Wednesday as their team won the Europa League, a relief for the supporters after the Manchester terror attack 48 hours earlier.

Wayne Rooney lifts the Europa League trophy on Wednesday.   -  Getty Images

 

A crowd of Manchester United fans were cheering outside a Stockholm stadium on Wednesday as their team won the Europa League, a relief for the supporters after the Manchester terror attack 48 hours earlier.

“It’s fantastic to see them winning. We were always confident that we would win,” said George Malloy, a 69-year-old from Dublin. “I think it will be a good lift for the people of Manchester,” he added.

Manchester fans were screaming and whistling in joy, while their Ajax counterparts were biting their nails as the English club won 2-0. Outside the entrance of the modernly decorated Friends Arena in the Stockholm suburb of Solna, fans were upbeat and cheerful under sunny summer skies, but nervous about both the outcome of the match and security issues.

Ahead of Wednesday’s match, players held a minute’s silence in honour of the victims of Monday’s suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena which left 22 people dead. For Mark, a 19-year-old Manchester fan living in Stockholm, this was no ordinary match. “It was very special because of the events that happened in Manchester and now they qualify for Champions League,” he said.

Vijay Patel, a 29-year-old Manchester fan from the UK, said the team came out even stronger in the aftermath of the attack. “It should motivate them... they’re not just winning for the team they’re winning for the city,” he said.

Team supporters were celebrating hours earlier at a fan zone in Stockholm’s leafy Kungstradgarden park where they played football and took photos. Shaun Payne, a 29-year-old United supporter, said Monday’s attack undoubtedly scarred the team, but he was optimistic that they would win. “They have nothing to lose tonight. They’ll go for it,” he told AFP.

  Dugout videos