Remembering the day Manchester United soccer aces came to Doncaster

Ellie Kuchnir,ten and Jason Kearsley,ten get to parade the Premier League trophy around the Keepmoat Stadium before Rovers' game with Manchester United. (Picture: CHRIS BULL D5366CB)
Ellie Kuchnir,ten and Jason Kearsley,ten get to parade the Premier League trophy around the Keepmoat Stadium before Rovers' game with Manchester United. (Picture: CHRIS BULL D5366CB)
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When the players and supporters of all-conquering football giants Manchester United rolled into Doncaster one August evening eight years ago, they were there for a very special reason.

And that was to officially unveil the town’s Keepmoat Stadium with a special fixture against Doncaster Rovers - although by the time Sir Alex Ferguson and his Red Devils arrived on August 3, 2007 the stadium had already been hosting matches for eight months.

Autograph hunters are left disapointed as thge Manchester United players file quickly pass them on arrival at the Keepmoat Stadium.(Picture: CHRIS BULL D5363CB)

Autograph hunters are left disapointed as thge Manchester United players file quickly pass them on arrival at the Keepmoat Stadium.(Picture: CHRIS BULL D5363CB)

The ground officially opened on New Year’s Day, Rovers romping to a 3-0 victory over Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town with Doncaster striker Mark McCammon holding the distinction of being the first ever player to find the net in the 15,231 capacity ground.

However, it was Rovers’ more glamourous opponents from across the Pennines who were given the job of officially christening the stadium which replaced Rovers’ old Belle Vue ground, currently undergoing redevelopment as a new housing estate.

The Red Devils’ new Brazilian signing Anderson helped United to a 2-0 win - although familiar star faces from Old Trafford were absent from the line-up, with many younger players and reserves taking to the field in front of 13,080 supporters.

Darron Gibson opened the scoring with a superb 20-yard drive twenty minutes from time with Sean Evans wrapping up proceedings a minute from time with an equally impressive left-foot effort.

Manchester United's Anderson (centre) gets between Doncaster's Richie Wellens (left) and Mark Wilson during a Pre Season Friendly at Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 3, 2007. Photo credit should read: Gareth Copley/PA Wire.''THIS PICTURE CAN ONLY BE USED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AN EDITORIAL FEATURE. NO WEBSITE/INTERNET USE UNLESS SITE IS REGISTERED WITH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PREMIER LEAGUE.

Manchester United's Anderson (centre) gets between Doncaster's Richie Wellens (left) and Mark Wilson during a Pre Season Friendly at Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 3, 2007. Photo credit should read: Gareth Copley/PA Wire.''THIS PICTURE CAN ONLY BE USED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AN EDITORIAL FEATURE. NO WEBSITE/INTERNET USE UNLESS SITE IS REGISTERED WITH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PREMIER LEAGUE.

The United starting line-up included Gerard Pique, Jonny Evans, Phil Bardsley, Mikael Silvestre and Darren Fletcher while Rovers fielded a full strength team which included Richie Wellens, Neil Sullivan, Lewis Guy and James Hayter,

The likes of Wayne Rooney were noticeably absent - and supporters sporting their Manchester United shirts were left disappointed when their idols breezed inside without stopping to sign autographs.