Frustration, disappointment and dissatisfaction were supporters’ overriding emotions after Manchester United and Manchester City’s historic meeting in Beijing was cancelled.
In excess of 50,000 fans were expected at the imposing Bird’s Nest yesterday to witness the first Manchester derby on foreign soil.
Instead, less than five hours before kick-off it was announced the match would not be going ahead due to an unplayable surface, brought about by heavy rain and storms over the past week.
The news was hard to swallow for the fans already at the stadium, with temperatures in the early thirties making the news particularly difficult to comprehend.
Jonathan Dixon, a Manchester United fan who lives in Beijing, was among those left frustrated at the ground.
“I think they could have played,” he told Press Association Sport.
“I heard they had to stop in Tianjin on the way (from Shanghai) with the rain and everything, but I think the pitch would have dried out.
“They’ve had a lot of people working on the pitch. I think they could have played.
“They are letting down a lot of supporters who have bought tickets.”
Dixon, wearing a United shirt, left the ground with friend Nick Rockey – a Beijing-based Totten-ham Hotspur fan who just as bemused.
“I am disappointed not to see the game,” he said.
“We paid 1,500RMB for them, which is about £150 each.
“It is just a bit frustrating because the pitch could not have been in any worse a condition than it was yesterday.
“There’s plenty of people who would have travelled from other places, assuming it would be going ahead.
“So to call it off five hours ahead of time when it barely rained last night is frustrating. It has been fine for a while.”
Hundreds of supporters were milling around the ground seemingly unaware of the cancellation, with people selling shirts on the streets as security staff took cover in the hot and humid conditions.
Bingtzen Lee had just heard the news via social media as he stood leaning on a railing with his friends outside the stadium.
They had made the substantial trip from Zhengzhou and Lee, donning a ‘Jose: United’s Special One’ scarf, was understandably unhappy.
“I am really disappointed,” he said. “We travelled a long way from the middle part of China, about two and a half hours on the train.
“We came here for two days just to watch this game. We feel really bad. I think the organisers didn’t do their job well.
“We don’t know anything be-cause we didn’t even receive an announcement from the organiser.
“This was the first time we would see Manchester United. We were very excited.”