The fans’ press conference: A closer look

Thursday 10 November 2022 11:08

Erik ten Hag briefed supporters in an exclusive fans’ press conference on Wednesday, ahead of United’s Carabao Cup clash against Aston Villa.

Fans were given an opportunity to get to know the United boss and also hear the latest news in advance of the upcoming fixture at Old Trafford.

Twelve different supporters’ groups, ranging from Scandinavia to Mumbai, were present at the event, with Manchester United Disabled Supporters' Association also represented.

But this was more than just a press conference.

Read on to find out all about the day, from the moment our fans arrived at Carrington…

Warm greetings and complimentary food and drink awaited attendees at the Jimmy Murphy Centre, with members of the different groups chatting to one another against the backdrop of the famous Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year Award honours board – currently adorned with the image of our most recent winner, Alejandro Garnacho.

From the moment Erik arrived, it was evident that this press conference was different to any other we have seen at the club.

While there were still the usual team news updates and questions focused on the upcoming match against Villa, this was also an opportunity for our fans gain a better understanding of the Dutchman.

Erik was open about his life outside of football, sharing his love of nature, golf and walking. He also shared a brief exchange with one of our Scandinavian supporters – in Dutch! – and appeared to appreciate the effort that had been taken to greet him in his native tongue.

Following the briefing, Erik’s love of the fans shone through. He ensured that every supporter who wanted a photograph with him got one. The United boss then posed with all of the attendees for a group photograph, again making sure no one was left out before it was taken.

And that wasn’t all, as United captain Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes also made an appearance, chatting to fans, signing shirts and posing for further photographs. 

One moment in particular stood out, which emphasised Bruno’s commitment to ensuring supporters didn’t go home disappointed. Despite being encouraged to go outside for the group photograph, the midfielder only did so after two eager fans had gotten the chance to speak to him, even taking the time to record a special message for a relative of one supporter.

Fans' pre-match press conference Video

Fans' pre-match press conference

In a special event, Erik ten Hag sat down with members of 12 Manchester United Supporters Clubs from around the world...

Following the press conference, Amogh Gokhale, of United’s Mumbai supporters’ club, said the opportunity was “special”.

“It gives us an opportunity to communicate with the club,” he said. “Talking directly to the manager and the opportunity to ask the manager questions directly, it's never been done before.

“We have grown up 10,000 miles out, watching the press conferences online, but to sit in that room and have an opportunity to connect with the club and connect with the manager, it was something special."

Maguire: The fans asked good questions! Video

Maguire: The fans asked good questions!

Club captain Harry Maguire reflects on the manager's fan press conference, that he and Bruno Fernandes attended...

Fans from a little closer to Manchester were also present at the conference, such as the High Peak supporters’ club’s Keith Udale.

“It's great to see people [travel here] midweek from Mumbai and places [like that]. It's incredible,” he said.

“I hope [fans' press conferences become more frequent]. I hope they can open it out [to even more groups].”