Buying Premier League tickets is hard. Buying tickets for the big clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea, etc. is even harder.

So in this series of posts, I am trying to address these big clubs and their specific systems for selling tickets. This time around it’s Manchester United.

Where seemingly everybody wants to be.

Even though Old Trafford holds more than 70,000 people, Man U sells out every game. So how can a regular person, wanting to visit for the first time, get tickets? Basically, there are three routes:

  1. Buy from the club
  2. Buy hospitality from a legit broker
  3. Buy from the secondary market

Let’s do this in reverse order, because that list actually gets simpler as you go.

Buying from the secondary market, like StubHub, is technically illegal. This doesn’t mean you will get screwed (Related: Is StubHub Safe?), but if you do get screwed you won’t have any recourse other than StubHub. Basically, I have never dealt with this whole thing, so I have nothing to offer here.

Check out other posts in my Premier League Ticket series:

Liverpool
Arsenal
West Ham
Chelsea

Some of the 70,000-plus who got tickets.

Buying from a legit broker almost always means buying a “hospitality package,” which is basically a seat plus some kind of benefit like a hotel room, food, drinks, lounge access, stadium tour and so on. (Related: What is Hospitality?) The big player here, as regards Man U, is Thomas Cook Sport. (Here’s their Man U website) They offer seats plus hotel rooms, and it ain’t cheap.

You can also buy hospitality straight from the club on their website.

And you can buy them from me. I am an official reseller of  these packages, and I offer them as part of my consulting services. Basically, you tell me which game you want to see, I send you a quote, and we go forward from there. And if you buy from me, you get a helpful pregame document filled with tips about how to get there, where to eat and drink, etc.

Basically it’s a draft Man U chapter from my forthcoming book:

Pre-Order The Groundhopper’s Guide to Soccer in England

And finally, we have buying tickets straight from Manchester United. This is where it gets difficult and complicated. I will try to keep it simple.

It’s like he’s guarding the gates.

First, you are going to need a club membership; this is £32 for a full adult membership (£22 for under 16) and £20 (£18 for kids) for a “lite” membership. If all you want is the occasional ticket, a lite membership will do.

Note that for each ticket you want, you will need a membership. Family of four? You need four memberships.

Now, having a membership does not mean you will get tickets, much less four together, for example. That’s because tickets are allocated in a wacky system that starts with season ticket holders and then proceeds through various levels of membership and loyalty points. The details don’t matter so much as this: If Man U is playing anybody you’ve ever heard of, you won’t get tickets through this system. The people ahead of you in line will snap them all up. If the opponent is kind of a nobody, you might have a chance.

An example: Late in the 2017/18 season, Man U was playing West Bromwich Albion at home, and I was in Manchester doing research for my book. About a week before the game, I could have had a half-decent seat for £47 — plus £20 for the membership. (They were charging for the membership even though there were like four games left in the season.) So that’s £67, nearly $100, to watch what I assumed would be a boring, routine Man U win. As it turns out, West Brom won, which I really wish I could have seen, but that’s not the point.

Related:

Everything I Know About Buying English Soccer Tickets

The point, and the bottom line, is: If it’s any kind of big game, you’ll never get tickets straight from Man U, and your best bet is a hospitality package. If it’s a tiny opponent, or maybe a game in the FA Cup or League Cup, you’ll have better luck. Just remember that in those Cup games they will play a bunch of reserves that even your kid has never heard of.

I hope this helps — even if it’s discouraging. In the vast majority of cases, the one legit and legal way to get into Old Trafford to see Manchester United is a hospitality package from a broker … like me. And if you want more information on that, just get in touch.

Get all my tips for watching English soccer

You might also want to follow me on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to my newsletter, which among other things introduces you to a new club in each issue.