Thousands of fans have descended on Gdansk for the Europa League final as Manchester United supporters enjoyed their first away day since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men take on Villarreal in the picturesque Polish seaport on Wednesday evening, when 9,500 spectators will be spread around the cavernous Stadion Gdansk.
The finalists received 2,000 tickets apiece but there were many more supporters from both sides in Gdansk, where a huge number of fans decked in bright yellow had travelled from Spain.
Those coming from England had more hoops to jump through as it is outside the Schengen zone, meaning numerous tests and a minimum five-day quarantine period upon returning to the UK.
United fan Shaun Logan was not even sure he would be able to make it to Poland after being thrown out of Old Trafford for flinging a scarf at Luke Shaw when taking a corner against Fulham last week.
Warned he is facing a three-year ban, the England left-back saw the supporter’s tweet about the incident and helped diffuse the situation in a social media response that went viral as he said he would do his best to “sort it out”.
“I take my hat off to him,” Logan told the PA news agency from the marina in Gdansk. “What a great season he’s had on the pitch and he didn’t have to do that.
“I think if he didn’t, I might not be here right now. A lot of thanks to Luke.
“The scarf will be staying around my neck tonight! I just hope the lads can get it done. Bring that silverware home.
“It’ll be massive. I love Ole. I think a trophy will give him what he deserves, really.”
Logan, like so many United fans, is doing the day trip to Gdansk, where quarantine restrictions for those arriving from the UK on matchday have been waived.
A group that arrived earlier were attacked in Gdansk on Tuesday night. United confirmed they are helping the victims, with three people reported to have suffered minor injuries.
This is the first time English supporters have been able to travel since the pandemic took control in March 2020 and points to a slow creep back towards normality.
United songs filled the air along Dlugi Targ – the main street in Gdansk – as old friends and new looked ahead to the match.
“It’s been massive,” Logan said. “We go with people that we live near but also we meet people from Manchester and we’ve not seen them in well over a year.
“We live and breathe Man United. Go to work to go to Man United and not being able to go has been hard at times. It’s good to be back.”