thousands of fans in attendance at those as well. We’re very fortunate to have been successful off the pitch as well as on it and that enables us to put on a really fantastic show - not just on the pitch on tour, but with the other things that we do involving Manchester United Soccer Schools and our legends, and also engaging with local kids via our partners and the Manchester United Foundation.
As you said earlier, the tour is obviously a vital part of the team’s preparations for the new season, but how important is it for the club from a commercial perspective?
It’s a very important method of engagement for us, both with our fans and our partners. The main reasons for doing tours is to prepare the players for the season and to enable us to interact with our fans all around the world. And it’s fair to say that it is a successful part of the business that helps us compete to buy the best players in the world in order to have more success on the pitch.
You’ve travelled all over the world with the team but are you still amazed at the welcome we receive wherever we go?
It really is quite incredible. The warmth of the welcome and the enthusiasm the supporters have for the club is something you never get tired of experiencing. We talked to fans on this tour who had been waiting at the airport for hours to catch a glimpse of the team, while others had spent days sat outside the hotel to try to do the same. Everyone at the club, from the players to the staff, are always very grateful for the great support we receive.
Our last stop on the first leg of the tour was Hong Kong, a city where we now have an office. What’s the thinking behind that and how are things going with it?
Asia is obviously an important part of the world for us. More than 300 million of our fans are in Asia – they’re a big part of the United family as are the increasing number of partners we have in the Far East. It was therefore a natural progression for us to have a hub over there so we’re in timezone