Old Trafford had some excitement this week as a “suspicious package” was found in a toilet before the match against Bournemouth on Sunday, May 15. The package was a practice bomb used for a training exercise. The match was postponed until Tuesday so officials could make sure the stadium was safe for fans.
The great stadium of Manchester United has been through the war and back. Not even kidding.
During World War II, Old Trafford’s location near the Manchester ports put it at risk for German bombing. The first bombing raid in 1940 damaged the stadium enough to move the Christmas day match against Stockport County to the away team’s home ground.
The Luftwaffe came around a second time in March, destroying most of the stadium. With the field on fire, the main stand and dressing rooms destroyed, and the office gone, Old Trafford became the most damaged stadium in the league.
Crosstown rivals Manchester City offered their former stadium to the Red Devils until they could fix their home. They played at Maine Road for eight years, winning the 1948 FA Cup title in this time. In 1944, the War Damage Commission evaluated the stadium and deemed it salvageable. However, it was a long road until the stadium was ready for play.
Rebuilding houses were the first priority of the city. After a while, Manchester City began to feel that United was overstaying their visit. The Blues gave the Reds notice to leave. But United had nowhere to go as the city still had not made time to build the stadium. It took until 1949 for Manchester United to return to Old Trafford after pleading with the city to rebuild their home.
On Wednesday, August 24, 1949, Manchester United went home to Old Trafford, securing a win against the Bolton Wanderers, 3-0.
Sir Matt Busby took charge shortly before in 1945 and soon created the Busby Babes. But that’s another story for another Throwback Thursday.
For now, I’ll leave you with highlights from the 1948 FA Cup triumph over Blackpool.