Page last updated at 09:09 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 10:09 UK

Despondent United fans head home

Manchester United fans asleep at Rome airport
Weary Manchester United fans arrived back in the early hours

Disappointed Manchester United fans have been arriving home from Italy after their team's defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League final.

A steady stream of weary supporters arrived at Manchester Airport in the early hours of Thursday.

Many spoke of their disappointment at the 2-0 defeat, but insisted the trip to Italy had been worth the effort.

Thousands of fans also watched the game in pubs and bars in Manchester. Police said there had been 11 arrests.

Ten of the arrests were for public order issues and one person was arrested for assault, a spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

I'm devastated but you have to take the rough with the smooth
James Loney, Manchester United fan

Police in Rome said United and Barcelona fans had been "good-natured" in the run-up to the game, although some arrests were made over ticket touting.

A British man was stabbed on Tuesday night, taken to hospital and released after treatment.

Greater Manchester Police are helping in the investigation.

Italian police said the incident happened on the banks of the Tiber River, close to Vatican City.

About 30,000 Manchester United fans were in the city for the final, with a similar number of Barcelona fans.

League title

Among the fans arriving at the airport at 0330 BST was Steve, from Manchester, who had been up since 0445 BST on Tuesday.

But despite his fatigue - and the prospect of going to work on Thursday - he remained philosophical about his team's season.

He told the BBC: "I'm a bit down, but we stopped the Scousers winning the league and that was my main priority."

In Manchester, thousands of supporters had crammed into the city's pubs and bars to watch the game.

At Sam Platt's pub just a stone's throw from Old Trafford, the crowd's pain at the final whistle was palpable.

Fan at Manchester Airport
Fans arriving back on Thursday said they were disappointed

Lorry driver James Loney, who had travelled from Lurgan, County Armagh to watch the match, said he was devastated.

He said: "There's no point in pretending otherwise, but I've been a United fan all my life, 40 years.

"I'm devastated but you have to take the rough with the smooth."

Emma Parish, 34, from the Manchester United Supporters' Trust said: "I'm disappointed but we still won the League.

"It's been fantastic in here - as soon as the whistle went, within a few minutes everybody was singing again.

"You can't win them all."

Plans for a victory parade through Manchester's streets have been cancelled.

FC Barcelona, who also won their domestic league and cup, last won the top European prize in 2006.

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