Moses Kamara, an airport security officer from Sierra Leone who has supported the English football club for 25 years, came oh so close to experiencing that rite of passage.
He made it to a stadium he had only before seen on television -- but was turned away at the gates due to a bomb scare.
United's match against Bournemouth -- scheduled for the final day of the Premier League season -- was postponed due to a suspicious looking package
mistakenly left on the grounds after an evacuation practice drill. Fans already inside the 75,000-seater left in an orderly manner before the device was detonated.
"I was heartbroken," Kamara told CNN Monday. "I was sad and cried, but being a security officer I understand the safety of the people -- it comes No. 1. It's the right thing they did yesterday."
Kamara -- who says he spent $1,800 on his dream trip -- was working out how to explain his bad luck to his friends back home, but the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) came to the rescue.
It rearranged his flight and provided him with a ticket for the FA Cup final this weekend, when United plays Crystal Palace for its only chance of winning a trophy this season. The tickets are like gold dust for United fans -- the club was allocated 28,000 for the match and more than 30,000 of its 55,000 season ticket-holders applied.
"They've taken care of me -- they gave me accommodation, a place to sleep, food to eat, changed my ticket back home," Kamara said.
MUST's vice chairman Ian Sterling said the decision to rally around Moses was not difficult for the supporters.
"The poor lad was distraught, being so close to the ground and not being able to go in, not knowing when he might get this chance again," Stirling told the UK Press Association.
"We had a quick discussion between us and we've agreed to rearrange his flight, so he'll fly home next week instead of tomorrow, and sort him out with a ticket for the FA Cup Final.
"A couple of friends will put him up in Manchester as well."
United will be looking to hoist its 12th FA Cup, but its first since 2004.
Crystal Palace, meanwhile, is still in search of its first Cup victory. This will be its second final, the first occurring in 1990 -- when it lost to Manchester United 1-0, after drawing 3-3 in the first leg.