TOUR NEWS & FEATURES

13/07/2013 16:49, Report by Gemma Thompson
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Reds visit excites Oz

Mark O'Connor, chairman of the New South Wales Supporters' branch, looks ahead to United's arrival in Oz...

How excited are fans in Australia, particularly Sydney, for United's visit?
The excitement is high and has been building as every day goes by. More and more people are talking about the Reds, even non-United fans.

It's obviously a new era at United with David Moyes now in charge - has that generated even more interest in the team's visit?
Most definitely and there is a very good feeling about David with everyone believing he is the best person for the job.

Tickets for the game against the All-Stars sold out in a matter of hours - is that proof of how popular the Reds are in Oz?
United could have put three games on in Sydney and all of them would have been a sell-out - everyone here wants to see the team in action. Of course, a lot of people here follow different sports but everyone is excited to watch United.

It's obviously going to be a huge week for sport in Sydney with the State of Origin decider also happening...
Absolutely. We have just had the Lions Tour, we have the big decider for the State of Origin and United are in town so things will be a little bit hectic in Sydney. I think everyone will need a week to recover after all this!

What kind of a test with the A-League All Stars provide?
I’m expecting a good game and hopefully it will be an entertaining one. There are some good players in the A-League, some of whom have experience of playing in England and against United. The Reds won't be up to full fitness yet but I think this match will be a good test for the players.

How big is football in Australia and has it grown since United's last visit in 1999?
It’s definitely changed since 1999. Football is evolving in Australia although not as quickly as I would like to see it grow, the grass-roots level is not quite there yet. It remains a very popular sport though.

How many of your supporters' club members will be coming along to the game and have you got any special events planned around the team's visit?
I was able to get over 200 match

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