South African Manchester United fan realises his dream

Subramoney in his kitchen

South African Jayendran Subramoney shared a dream with millions of Manchester United fans from around the world: Watching his team play at their Old Trafford home.

But he no longer has to dream as he has now seen his favourite team in action after watching them draw against Arsenal on Sunday.

"I have goose-bumps, I still can't believe it's happening," he said, draped in a Manchester United scarf standing outside Old Trafford.

"I have been saving for this trip for a year so this was worth all the effort," he said battling tears of joy.

Image caption Jayendran Subramoney travelled with the Manchester United supporters club of South Africa

Mr Subramoney's journey to Manchester started in his small flat in the east of Johannesburg, South Africa's main city.

The flat is a shrine to Manchester United, and almost everything is red, from the crockery to the mugs to the key rings.

Image caption Almost everything in the flat is dedicated to Manchester United

But it is one of the walls in the house that really stood out, his "wall of fame", which is covered with framed pictures of some of the special moments in Manchester United's history.

There are a couple of photographs of former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson hoisting the Premier League trophy.

Mr Subramoney's most treasured image is that showing Wayne Rooney mid-bicycle kick scoring the winning goal against Manchester City in 2011.

"This wall is very special to me. I am glad my wife allowed me to use this part of the house to do what I want."

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Media captionInside Jayendran Subramoney's flat - a shrine to Manchester United

His passion began at 13 in 1994 when he saw Manchester United beat Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final.

"I loved the way the team played and with that, I started my love journey," he said.

He saw that match on the television, but on Sunday he saw his dream team in the flesh.

"I have been saving for a year [from my salary as a warehouse manager] to make this trip happen," he said.

As for the cost of the trip, he admitted that the flights, the accommodation in London and Manchester, the stadium tour and the match set him back 24,000 rand ($2,000; £1,300).

But he said he cannot "quantify [the value], it's priceless. For me that's money well spent," he said showing off his brand-new Manchester United kit.

"The only regret I have is that we didn't score a second goal to see off Arsenal today, it would have been nice to have a win but it's all fine."

Zimbabwean Manchester United fans

Sharon Bwanya works as a lawyer and Tawanda Bwanya works as a telecommunications company engineer in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare

They spent a year planning the trip to see Manchester United play Arsenal.

"We both love Manchester United. It's quite an important element to our entertainment," said Mrs Bwanya outside Old Trafford.

"The fortunate thing is that we were both Manchester United fans when we got married, so there was no indoctrination, it was just a match made in Old Trafford," Mr Bwanya said.

The trip was expensive but they felt it was worth the money, and they would do it again.

For many fans of the English Premier League in Africa, getting a UK visa is one of the obstacles that stands between them and getting to Old Trafford.

But Mr Subramoney had no such hassle.

"I belong to the official Manchester United supporters club in South Africa and they organised everything - I just had to pay my money and here I am in Manchester," he said.

Image caption Shivanie Subramoney has learnt to love Manchester United
Image caption Mr Subramoney is proud of his collection of replica shirts

Back at his home in Johannesburg, I asked his wife, Shivanie Subramoney, if she was not worried that the love for Manchester United might take over their marital bliss.

She simply said: "I have since learnt how to love the team as well."

Image caption Mr Subramoney wants to add to the "wall of fame" now that he has been to Manchester

She knows though that she is not allowed to wash her husband's Manchester United kits as most of them have been signed by Manchester United greats such as Paul Scholes, Brian Robson and Louis Saha.

"My football kits are the most prized possessions in this house, everything else you can have but just don't touch my kits," he said.

Apart from football, his other love is car racing.

He drives a sports car which I expected would be red with Manchester United symbols, but I was wrong.

"I am afraid Arsenal and Liverpool fans might scratch my car," he explained.

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