Former Manchester United full-back Denis Irwin reflects on Galatasaray trip

Denis Irwin playing for Manchester United
© PA Photos
Former Manchester United defender Denis Irwin looks back on when he played in Istanbul against Galatasaray.

Denis Irwin has admitted that Manchester United did not receive the "nicest welcome" when they visited Galatasaray back in November 1993.

The current United squad fly out to Istanbul today for a Champions League encounter with Gala tomorrow evening.

Looking ahead to that fixture, former full-back Irwin has warned the players that they are likely to be in for a hostile reception.

"At Old Trafford a fortnight earlier we'd drawn 3-3 in the first leg after leading 2-0. That result gave everybody connected with Galatasaray the belief that they could finish the job in Turkey and I remember their manager, Reiner Hollmann, warned us that their fans would be 'waiting for you' at the airport," Irwin told the club's official website.

"He wasn't wrong! When we landed there were hundreds of fans at the airport, singing and chanting, some of them right in our faces. There was a sign that said 'Welcome to Hell'. Others said 'This is the end' and 'You shall die.' It wasn't the nicest welcome we'd ever had.

"It seemed like the whole of Istanbul knew Manchester United was coming. On the way from the airport to the hotel cars were beeping their horns, fans were leaning out of windows, gesturing to us. There were even supporters hanging off the back of mopeds, waving flags and singing songs."

The Red Devils have already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition.

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