How our players are spreading Christmas cheer

Wednesday 20 December 2023 16:00

A group of players from Manchester United Women have paid a special visit to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital ahead of Christmas.

Seven members of Marc Skinner’s squad - Hannah Blundell, Gabby George, Melvine Malard, Ella Toone, Phallon Tullis-Joyce, Emma Watson and Katie Zelem – spent time with the young patients to raise their spirits this festive season, playing games, signing autographs and handing out gifts. 

In one stand-out moment, Toone met an aspiring DJ called Alex and our popular no.7 promised to dedicate her next goal to him. Amazingly, just days later, she fulfilled that vow by performing a DJ celebration following her finish in United Women’s WSL match against Liverpool. 
Raising smiles at the children’s hospital Video

Raising smiles at the children’s hospital

Our women's players have paid a very special visit to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital ahead of Christmas...

Visiting the hospital at Christmas and meeting those in need is important to all of our players, but particularly to captain Katie Zelem because her mum used to work there. 

The homegrown no.10 explained why it means so much to her. “It’s amazing that we can put a smile on the children’s faces and hopefully bring them a little bit of joy around Christmas time.

“It’s so important while we’re in the privileged position we are, that we’re able to give something back.
How Tooney dedicated a goal to Alex Video

How Tooney dedicated a goal to Alex

Ella Toone met an aspiring DJ called Alex and promised to dedicate her next goal to him! Watch what happened next...

“You can see how happy the kids are when they get their shirts and gift packs. They’re so charismatic, they make us laugh – not only does it make their day, but it makes ours too.

“It’s so rewarding and inspiring for us to be able to see the kids.”

On her first visit since re-joining United in the summer, Gabby George added: “We’re here to meet some of the children who are in hospital.

“I think it puts into context how lucky we are and it’s nice to come here and put a smile on the girls and boys’ faces.”
Earlier this week, our men’s squad took time out to attend the Manchester United Disabled Supporters’ Association Christmas party, creating some special moments for all involved.

Chas Banks, MUDSA secretary, was delighted by the turnout. “We are here for the MUDSA Christmas party. MUDSA started at a party in 1989 and we were one of the first disabled supporters' organisations and we have been holding it every year since, apart from during Covid of course.

“It is a tradition that the players come down and it is very, very special. There are not many events when the whole team come down. And do you know what the main thing is, the players love it!”
Inside the MUDSA Christmas party Video

Inside the MUDSA Christmas party

There were heart-warming scenes as the Reds attended our Disabled Supporters’ Association’s Christmas party…

Raphael Varane was also proud to be involved and spend time with our MUDSA members. He told us: “It's always great to feel that support from the fans. 

“Obviously, it is nearly Christmas, so it is good to share that moment with them. We really enjoyed that kind of moment.

“I think it is good from the club to connect with the people from the local community as well. I think it is great for everyone.” 

Tom Heaton was also inspired by our disabled supporters and spoke on behalf of the squad.

“I think everyone knows what it means to the fans and I think it is important that players see that first-hand, going and having conversations with them. It is great to bring that connection together a little bit. You can see from the autographs on the shirts, the shirts are full today, it's a full turnout from the squad, which has been excellent.”

The men’s team were unable to make a hospital visit before Christmas due to the packed fixture schedule, but the players are planning a visit in January to give young patients a lift after the festive celebrations have subsided.