As the Manchester United Foundation published its Impact Report for the past 12 months, documenting how the club is helping to change lives in the local community, chief executive David Gill spent a day attending some of the key projects.
The trip started with a visit to Stretford High School to witness an Enterprise Academy classroom section and check out the impressive new facilities currently being built on site. After donning a hard-hat, David was then asked to shoot a few baskets at Trinity High School as part of the Premier League 4 Sport initiative, where Danny Welbeck was a pupil five years ago. The project also helps teach kids badminton, table-tennis and volleyball and was launched in advance of the Olympic Games later this year.
The Salford Cohesion project was next on the agenda as a trip to Ordsall enabled David to show off his football skills in five-a-side matches with local youngsters from the nearby estate, scoring a self-made volley reminiscent of Eric Cantona’s famous strike at Wimbledon! Finally, the evening was spent at Salford Sports Village watching the Disability Greater Manchester Ability Counts League.
United fielded a deaf team and two PAN-disability sides (physical and neurological) against the likes of Manchester City, Everton and Wigan, with David impressed by the high standard on show in the competitive seven-a-side matches.
“We've seen a whole cross-section of projects this afternoon,” said Gill. “You can read about them, talk about them in board meetings and get to hear about them in an Impact Report but to actually come out and meet the people doing them is fantastic. It's brilliant to speak to the coaches and young people.
"It's interesting to hear the coaches when you speak to them about how they just love putting on the shirt and representing the club. When you see the standard of football, I think it's great and they put a lot of effort into it. It's important to them. I'm really, really impressed with what's going on.
"It's all extremely important. I know people say we're not in Manchester but we are. We've seen that today. Manchester City are as well, let's be honest, and there's no reason why they shouldn't be. It should be the case and I think we can all cater lot of people, with the disability section,