I suppose I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth as this was a freebie included as part of a work-related event I attended today, but part of the draw of said event was a ‘stadium tour’ of Old Trafford.

I have no allegiance to MUFC, but I have to give them their due as one of the best clubs in the country if not the world. I am not in fact a Magpies fan either be it Notts County or Newcastle. I am a Liverpool fan. So it was with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek and a cheeky ‘go for a hand shake then quickly put my thumb against my nose and waggle my fingers should I bump into Sir Alex’ in mind  that I signed up for the event. It was either go to Manchester or Chelsea’s ground and I really don’t like Chelsea.

So I go. I have a cup of tea and two biscuits for my breakfast. I listen to some interesting speakers and some not so interesting speakers. I learn some stuff. I ask some questions. I have a buffet lunch. I listen to more speakers. I learn some more stuff, including that someone has stolen my pen during the lunch break*, I eat another biscuit and then the ‘tour’ begins. We are taken up some stairs and out onto some of the seats.

10 mins of sitting getting cold and that was it. No tour of the changing rooms or the Munich corridor or having a look at the iconic Audi seats. No, the tour guide pointed out, this wasn’t a proper tour at all it was a ‘just poking your head out’ thing. I think that because it was raining and we hadn’t paid he simply could be arsed to put the full effort in and knew that we would be too polite to complain. He was right.

On the way outside to the North Stand, oh I mean the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, we passed the VIP lounges – all very swish. I noticed a ‘Roger Taylor and Associates’ sign on one of the doors next door to ‘Stobbart’. Is that the same Roger Taylor of Queen fame from my previous post I wonder? I bet it is; he looks the type.

Even with my allegiances and the fact that it was free, I felt a little peeved, especially since I had carried my Audi seat slashing Stanley knife through the whole day.** The ‘tour’ guide told us that they weren’t heated by the way – so there goes that urban myth.

We did get to have a look around the museum which was okay I guess – lots of shiny trophies and whatnot. They printed us each a certificate to say we’d been on the tour (which we hadn’t) so I left mine there in protest.

Up in the conference suite we were in was a proof copy of the Manchester United Opus an enormous book dedicated to the history of the club up to 2006 and worth lots of money. I resisted the urge to deface it, as it was an impressive tome with some brilliant photography in it, and a touching section on the Munich Air Disaster.

The highlight of the event for me was a previously unknown to me Uber-Geek called James Lyne from Sophos getting connected over his phone to a FAX number via a whistling/humming combo impersonating a V.90 Fax MODEM and also jeopordising his demo by overclocking the voltage on his wireless card and melting it minutes before he was due back on.

Here’s an example of the man in action from last year: http://youtu.be/Wd94gHKC9l0

Unfortunately Graham Cluley was not around to throw coconuts at.

* I found it. It was in my bag all along, and there’s me blaming thieving Manc’s.

** I jest.