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 and only a short flight away from a number of our key partners. We have a very talented team of people in Hong Kong who have been very successful both in generating new partnerships and continuing to build the relationships with have with existing partners. We’ve also brought in staff who can speak many of the Asian languages and that has allowed us to operate much more smoothly. Overall, the results we’ve achieved so far have shown it was a very good move for us to open the office and we’re delighted with how things are going.
Finally, how excited are you for the season to start now?
I can’t wait. It’s been great to watch David train with the players and see the enthusiasm he has brought into the club and also the level of detail which he goes into when it comes to preparing the players. Manchester United has