Ronnie walked up towards 26A, 2 hours before kick off. She had a habit of being extremely punctual on Match Day, and some thought it was superstition while others just related it to her excellent work as a nurse. “Ronnie shouldn’t have retired ye know, she still had a few years, that girl did”, her 92 year old aunt exclaimed during her farewell party. Yet Ronnie thought it was apt leaving her 2-hour-early rule up to speculation.

Old Trafford had a sense of stifled excitement among the blades of grass, and a surge of excitement was inevitable among the early bird spectators so the stadium in its entirety; it’s brick walls were a testament of the battles fought with fervor.

“Is this seat taken, ma'am?”, asked the man behind Ronnie. “Oh yes, it is.”, Ronnie curtly replied. A little baffled with the old lady’s reaction, the man whispered something to his friends and everyone laughed, while looking at her. Ronnie had gotten used to things like these. She was “the batty ol' nut who didn’t understand football” or “the living ghost of Old Trafford”. She was also blamed sometimes for Manchester United’s misfortunes, but it didn’t bother her. She calmly watched the proceedings, occasionally shouting “Come on, ya laddies!”, getting ugly stares in the process.

The match was a bleak draw, and Ronnie was again the target of the whole audience, who chanted “Out with the Living ghost!” and “Batty needs a push to the other side!” with a passion the club’s performance had severely needed. Ronnie, finally letting her emotions get the better of her, quickly hobbled down the stairs and walked briskly till the sounds died out. Amidst muffled sobs, she finally called out to the taxi, and desperately wished this miserable day would end.

The churchyard was empty, a rarity since there was a lot of bustle on the weekend. Ronnie carefully replaced the sheath of flowers with a fresh bunch, trying hard not to break down.

“It’s been two years, Nicky, and I finally will let go. Today, I will go on to my tomorrow. I miss you Nicky, you’re my United legend, my 26B.”

“Where’s Batty?”
“Became a real ghost, she did.”

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