One hundred fans fulfil dream of playing at Old Trafford

Friday 07 June 2024 15:15

Last week, 100 lucky United supporters had the opportunity to fulfil a childhood dream by playing at Old Trafford, as part of a special new initiative.

Our first-ever dedicated fan pitch day saw members from across the club’s fan base invited to take part in one of two unique matches on M16’s hallowed turf, to round off a bank-holiday weekend that had earlier featured FA Cup final success for Erik ten Hag’s team at Wembley Stadium.

So, it was very much from one high to another for all involved, with season-ticket holders, fanzine writers and away-travel organisers among those to lace up their boots and enjoy a day to remember at our iconic home ground.
Our fan pitch day - in 30 seconds! Video

Our fan pitch day - in 30 seconds!

Score at the Stretford End, meet Lou Macari and make memories for life: these supporters did it all in M16 recently...

Supported by the club’s official hydration partner, WOW HYDRATE, the day featured a 90-minute fixture in both the morning and the afternoon, with the four sides involved each aptly named after an esteemed Old Trafford figure.

After Team Busby and Team Ferguson had done battle in the morning, Team Keane and Team Robson went head-to-head in the afternoon, with all players cheered on from the dugout by much-loved Reds legend Lou Macari.

Pitchside speakers booming out classic Manchester tunes and commentary from 'The Voice of Old Trafford', Alan Keegan, ensured a vibrant atmosphere throughout both games, which involved plenty of goals to keep those watching entertained, and our reporter Scott Marnoch busy writing!

Each encounter concluded with a special presentation, in which Macari gifted the Player of the Match with a signed shirt, before refreshments were served for all in the Trafford Suite.
Andy Slater, a long-time season-ticket holder and editor of the Barmy Article women’s fanzine, was among the contingent to play in the afternoon’s epic 6-6 draw – which was decided by penalty kicks at the Stretford End – and had a beaming smile on his face when reflecting on the experience afterwards.

“It was incredible. I stalled myself stepping on the pitch so I could savour it, that first step,” he said, speaking to club media.

“When you’re on there, you see the size of the stadium from a different angle to what you’ve had before.

“I did all right playing, as well, it’s about the experience, but I think I did well enough to enjoy it. You don’t want to get skinned every time! 

“The whole feeling was just magic. I know now that I’ve been on the same pitch so many of my heroes have been on.”

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United’s director of fan engagement Rick McGagh was also in attendance, and underlined the importance of the initiative, which the club now hopes to make a tradition for many years to come.

“It's a bit of a cliche but the fans are what make this football club so special and the dedication, loyalty, time, money, effort that they put in following the club, whether it's writing about the club, putting on coaches, going to home, away, European games, et cetera, is absolutely incredible,” he began.

“It's only right that we can repay and reward that loyalty wherever we can. And we've got an absolute ambition to deepen the links between the fan base and the club, and we've done a lot of work this year on that. 

“From a staff point of view, it was one of the absolute highlights of the of the season. Everybody who worked that day saw what it meant to the participants, to the fans playing on the pitch... we all really enjoyed it. 

“From everyone playing, there was an incredible team spirit on the day. A lot of them didn't know each other, some did know each other, but everyone just got involved. And it was a really good example of what the United family and culture is all about.”