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Friday, May 27, 2011

Robert Winton remembers United's 5 European Cup Finals that he's been to

by Robert Winton, questions by Red News

RN: How did you travel down to the '68 Final, what are your memories of the
build up?

I had applied for tickets in the quarter final stages when we were playing Gornik Zabrze & was successful in the ballot. I remember listening to the radio commentary when we were playing Real Madrid in the 2nd leg of the semi finals & it looked like we weren't going to make it to the final when Bill Foulkes popped up & headed in the goal that took us to Wembley.

RN: Did you think we'd win, how did your younger self take it in and now
remember the game?

If I remember correctly, Benfica were the favourites to win, with the likes of Eusebio, Torres & Coluna, but one thing I've learnt over the years is that you never discount United.

RN: Do you remember anything about the atmosphere and United crowd?

The atmosphere was electric. The best I have ever been to. In those days there was standing at Wembley & people got to the ground a lot earlier than today's games.

It wasn't just United fans who wanted them to win. It was most of the country as it was the first time an English club had reached the finals & less than 2 years after England had won the World Cup.

RN: And what were the celebrations like, in the ground and after?

Everyone went wild after the game. It was a huge relief especially for the survivors of the Munich air disaster. I remember the crowd singing Happy Birthday to Brian Kidd. I remember Matt Busby coming on the pitch & hugging all of the players & I remember Bobby Charlton lifting up the trophy.

RN: How does it feel being lucky enough to attend them all, which memories
most stand out?

I guess there's not that many people who have gone to all 5 finals. The amazing thing is having waited 31 years after 1968 to get to the next one, I would now have been to 3 more in the last 4 years.

RN: What has been your best Final?

All the finals have got special memories for me. Wembley in '68 as a 17 year old. Also the most incredible turn around in Barcelona in '99. The best for me was in Moscow, not just because we thought we had lost the match as JT went to take the penalty, but because it was the first final I had been to with my son Oli. He had never forgiven me for not letting him go to the '99 final as he had to sit an A level the following morning. The sense of relief for both of us was immense.

The most difficult final to get to was Moscow. The time difference, whether we would need visa's or not, the horrendous accommodation a few hours out of the city, getting the tickets. But all that forgotten after the John Terry slip.

RN: How you feel about this Final this time around?

Barcelona are the favourites this year, but it's one game & if United play to their full potential, I can see us winning it.

RN: If you could pick out 1 moment from all the Finals, which would it be
and why?

So many memories, so difficult. Probably Moscow, celebrating with my son.

RN: How nice was it to get a note from Bobby Charlton about all your Final

Getting a personal letter from Bobby Charlton presented to me by my son Oli for my 60th was absolutely brilliant & totally unexpected. I must have read 50 times & it sits proudly on my desk.


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