Manchester United are no strangers to Seattle.
The English giants will be making their third trip to the Emerald City this summer when they play the Sounders FC in a friendly on July 20 at Qwest Field.
Much of Sir Alex Ferguson’s staff and several current United players were there with the famed manager in 2003 when the Red Devils toppled Celtic 4-0 in front of a then-record crowd of 66,722 at Qwest Field (then called Seahawks Stadium).
Well before that friendly, though, the Seattle Sounders met Manchester United in an international competition that also featured the Vancouver Whitecaps and Hajduk Split from the former Yugoslavia (now Croatia). Alan Hinton coached the Sounders in the EuroPac Cup in a magical 1982 season that saw the Sounders through to the Soccer Bowl, where they fell to the New York Cosmos.
“Our team was really pumped to play them,” Hinton said. “I think … no, I know - I won’t forget it - we won 3-0 and that was very impressive. Our boys came out and did very, very well. They rose to the occasion against a very good Manchester United team.”
Mark Peterson scored a first-half brace sandwiched around a goal from midfielder Roy Greaves as the Sounders powered to a 3-0 lead at the half, then held on for the clean sheet victory at the Kingdome.
The thrill wasn’t limited to the players on the field though, as Hinton had a chance to measure himself as a tactician against top-flight European competition. And while Manchester United didn’t carry the same clout then as they do now, it was still quite the accomplishment for the Seattle club.
The feat wasn’t lost on Hinton, who played several times against Manchester United while at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Nottingham Forest and Derby County in England.
“I scored against them for Nottingham Forest many years ago. I scored for Derby against Manchester United,” said Hinton, who now serves as an analyst for the club. “I always played against the great Bobby Charlton, Denis Law, George Best. Great players.”
Those names will be replaced by Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Chicharito and Rio Ferdinand, among others as the Sounders FC looks to repeat that towering accomplishment this July.
“It’s going to be a wonderful happening here in Seattle,” Hinton said. “Alex Ferguson has got to be the greatest winner of all time. I’m looking forward to seeing him.”
While the names and colors may be familiar to Sounders fans, one thing that won’t likely be familiar for Manchester United is the colors in the stands. One of the most popular sports brands in the world – their jerseys outsold all 32 NFL teams combined in 2010 – Manchester United is not accustomed to seeing the opposition as the fan-favorites when they play friendlies in America.
“Manchester United won’t be used to the fact that the stadium will be full of Seattle Sounders fans. Historically when they go around the world, the stadiums are full of Manchester United fans because they are the No. 1 club in the world,” Hinton said. “There will never be anybody better than Manchester United in terms of history and quality of play.”
Sounders FC season ticket holders can use their Friendly Ticket for the match and the club has announced a Premier Ticket plan and the sale of individual tickets. For more information, click here.