Guinness brings soccer to the U.S. in style, breaking records along the way

When the folks at Guinness invited us to join them in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the weekend to drink some beer and watch Manchester United and Real Madrid battle it out at The Big House, we couldn’t decline. After all, how often do you get the opportunity to see two of the biggest soccer clubs in the world compete live, let alone on U.S. soil? For most people, it’s a once in a lifetime experience, and with United absent from this year’s UEFA Champions League, the chances that fans will ever see Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo share the stage again seems pretty unlikely.

So as the resident soccer fan on staff, I flew out to Detroit on Friday to meet up with fellow bloggers from sites like Made Man, Bleacher Report, Inside Hook and World Soccer Talk. After quickly checking into my room at the MGM Grand Hotel, I joined the rest of the group as we boarded a van headed for the home of the Michigan Wolverines to watch Manchester United and Real Madrid’s open training sessions. Both teams appeared to be relaxed but focused on the night leading up to the big game, engaging in the usual fitness drills and rounds of keep-away, while a few of the players even tried their hand at some football of the American variety by tossing the pigskin around with University of Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner.

Of course, it was all just a tease for the real festivities on Saturday, which began with miles of traffic on I-94 as tens of thousands of soccer fans flooded the college town of Ann Arbor for the big game. Thanks to some creative detouring by our driver, we arrived in plenty of time to enjoy a cold pint at the Guinness beer garden, who, as the main sponsors of the International Champions Cup, were allowed to serve alcohol inside the usually “dry” stadium, a rarity for the university and college sports in general.

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Sir Alex Ferguson bids farewell

Sir Alex Ferguson will end this Premier League season having managed Manchester United for the 1,500th time.

The retiring Old Trafford boss who has won 38 trophies now during his 26 year reign will be replaced by Everton manager David Moyes. Check out http://www.freebets.com to keep up to date with the odds on Manchester United to win the Premier League next season or for who will be the next Everton manager.

Last week Manchester United played Swansea which was Ferguson’s final home game in charge of the Red Devils. Ferguson received a huge ovation before thousands of people lined the streets for the Premier League champion’s parade on Monday.

“Sunday was amazing and the parade on Monday, it was incredible, even better than 1999.” Ferguson said.

“I thought the scenes after the treble in 1999 couldn’t be beaten but I think Monday probably did.”

“I went home that night and got 10 hours sleep, the first time in my life. It was marvellous, really good.”

Ferguson will stay on at Old Trafford as a director and an ambassador and has asked United fans to support Moyes when he takes over as manager this summer.

The 71-year-old prepared for his last game at the helm by holding his final pre-match press conference on Friday morning at United’s training ground. The media presented Ferguson with a cake before the news conference to honour the 26 years he has spent in charge of Manchester United.
Ferguson admits his final act will be to look to the future. “I’ll make some changes to the team and play some of the younger ones on Sunday,” he said. “Anders Lindegaard will be in goal and I want to play Phil Jones and Jonny Evans at centre half as they could be the future. ”Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic can sit on the bench with me.”

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Trophies

Premier League: 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 FA Cup: 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004

League Cup: 1992, 2006, 2009, 2010

Champions League: 1999, 2008

Cup Winners Cup: 1991

FIFA Club World Cup: 2008

UEFA Super Cup: 1992

Inter-Continental Cup: 1999

FA Charity/Community Shield: 1990 (shared), 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011

  

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