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Celtic v Man Utd

Seattle USA - July 22, 2003

by JBH

OK Its not chess - but we had a chess reporter live at the match in the shape of Scotsman columnist and CS web photo contributor John Henderson.

Seattle resident JBH reports: "Yes, at the game - I only wish that Celtic had also been there! It was so one-sided I thought Celtic were lucky to get nil!" John is pictured at the Seahawks Exhibition Centre beside the stadium.

The American hosts are still grappling with the finer points of the game.

Although the Seattle Seahawks stadium sold out its 72,000 capacity within a matter of hours, the game is being billed by local journalists as a chance to see "Hooliganism". Rangers fans might also take exception to the fact that the "friendly" is being hyped as a battle between the English league champions and the Scottish league champions.

"Tuesday Hooliganism; Man U vs. Celtic," proclaimed the Seattle Weekly. "Even if you don't have tickets to the sold-out international 'friendly' between English Premier League legend Manchester United and the current Scottish Premier League champion Glasgow Celtic, there are plenty of other ways to get in the spirit of the biggest soccer event in Seattle history:

"Just show up at any pub in town. The organizers of a pre-game party at the Stadium Exhibition Center are promising the 'BIGGEST BEER GARDEN IN SEATTLE' with live music by the Haggis Brothers, among others. And there's nothing these Brits like better than a little rough-and-tumble rivalry."

Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised by this in the land where gridiron and baseball are king. Celtic supporters are also not likely to be amused by the fact the stadium is located at 2nd and Orange. And I can safely say the Haggis Brothers are awful ...

Nae mince pies or Bovril - what's the world coming to, I ask myself? It's just not the same ambience with hotdogs, coke and popcorn. They even have vendors in every section of the crowd with large thermos flasks attached to their backs selling Starbucks lattes - only in Seattle.

Pre-match TV interview in the afternoon with Sir Alex was fantastic - vintage Fergie. Interviewer: "Why come all the way to Seattle to play a friendly?" Fergie: "Ma team disnae play friendlies - same goes for Celtic! Next question..."

Match attendance near 67,000. Making our way to the match, there was this sea of green and white for Celtic and red for Man Utd - and one brave poor misguided sole wearing a Rangers top and a Union Jack painted on his face! Funny, we never saw him again during the evening...

4-0 to Man U. SuperRuudVanNistelroyCelticwereuttercrap - so bad I thought they were lucky to get nil! The only real danger the Man Utd goalie had to deal with came in the 80th minute when a suspected streaker managed to avoid the heavy security to get on to the pitch beside the goalie. Blootered out of his mind, he had the tee-shirt off and was half way down with the shorts when he was pounced on by about 10 of Seattle's finest near the penalty spot. There's no truth in the rumour that they thought he might be a terrorist attempting to sabotage the game with WMDs - Weapons of Match Destruction!

(Pics by JBH and Kirsten O'Malley-Keyes pictured)



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