Academy Weekly: FA Youth Cup final approaches

Monday 09 May 2022 17:03

On Wednesday 11 May (19:30 BST), Manchester United’s Under-18s take on Nottingham Forest in the final of the FA Youth Cup, one of the world’s most prestigious football tournaments for young players.

Everyone at the club is immensely proud of the youngsters’ run to the final, and also of the staff - both front-facing and behind-the-scenes - who have helped their development to this point. It is a fantastic achievement.

This week’s occasion at Old Trafford will be a wonderful one that creates long-lasting memories in the lives of our young Reds and the talented teenagers of Forest, too. In the crowd will be thousands of committed United fans who, in the midst of disappointing form for the men’s team, have shown their unerring support in being a part of more than 60,000 people to order tickets.

Also in the stands will be senior club officials, Academy staff and parents and the Academy’s other sides - from the Under-23s to much younger teams from the Emerging Talent Programme.

How your presence will help our young Reds


If you can, make sure you're at Wednesday's FA Youth Cup final to play a part in United's future.

Travis Binnion, lead coach, told us this week that his message to fans attending the final would be this: “Enjoy watching the players, encourage them, believe in them because we like to think that some of these are going to be around for a long time.”

Here’s everything else you need to know from the last seven days...


FA Youth Cup build-up continues

Academy players and staff completed all media duties for the Youth Cup final a fortnight before the match itself. Supporters have since been able to hear from Binnion, head of player development Justin Cochrane, club legends Paddy Crerand and John O’Shea and from several players.

Before Wednesday’s kick-off, we’ll release a ‘coaches round-table’ - with Travis, Justin, Nick Cox and Mark Dempsey - as they discuss their Youth Cup memories and development philosophies. Fans will also be able to watch the players recall their first football memories and preview the final itself. Keep an eye on and the United App for all of that.

Travis Binnion's Youth Cup final preview Video

Travis Binnion's Youth Cup final preview

Under-18s lead coach Travis Binnion looks forward to a huge Old Trafford night for his side on Wednesday 11 May...

Youth Cup sales break records

More than 60,000 tickets have now been sold for the final, smashing the previous record of 38,137, set at the Emirates Stadium in 2008. Head of Academy Cox has thanked fans for their support:

“The opportunity for the team to play in front of more than 50,000 fans at Old Trafford is incredible. We are really grateful for the support, and it just shows how important the Academy is to everyone associated with Manchester United.

“The game has also given us a wonderful opportunity to raise funds for the Foundation. We’ve been able to educate the players on the privilege of playing for this football club, the city they represent and the importance of being role models.

“Old Trafford is an iconic stadium and we look forward to seeing everyone there for what will be a special night.”

Tickets cost £1 and all proceeds go to the Manchester United Foundation, which works with disadvantaged kids in Greater Manchester. Supporters who are keen to be a part of history and have yet to order their ticket can still do so now. Tickets will be on sale here until kick-off, but booking as early as possible is recommended to avoid disappointment.

Travis Binnion, U18s lead coach says

“Enjoy watching the players. Encourage them and believe in them because we like to think that some of these are going to be around for a long time.”

Friends of the Academy initiative begins

Zoe Flanagan (Emerging Talent coach), Jennifer Mildenhall (Emerging Talent programme manager) and Cox (head of Academy) hosted the first ‘Friends of the Academy’ event last week. More than 200 local youth football coaches have signed up for the initiative, which is designed to share the club’s resources and knowledge with coaches, schools, junior clubs and young players across the North West.

Many of those coaches virtually attended the scheme’s first webinar, in which Cox delivered a detailed introduction to the Academy and the programme that young players followed at Manchester United. Nick, Jen and Zoe answered questions on both how the Academy operates and tips for developing coaches. Further details on an inspiring first event, and what will come next, will follow.

Loan watch

James Garner’s Nottingham Forest had the chance to create dramatic final day action with a midweek Championship victory away at Bournemouth, but Ethan Laird’s Cherries prevailed 1-0 to secure their automatic promotion. Forest, meanwhile, will now compete in the play-offs against Sheffield United after finishing fourth. The first leg of that semi-final will be played at Bramall Lane on Saturday, 14 May. Good luck, James, and congratulations, Ethan!

Midfielder Dylan Levitt couldn’t continue his goalscoring form and was on the losing side for Dundee United against Rangers, for whom Amad netted the second of two goals.

Garnacho nominated for award

Alejandro Garnacho is on the short list for April's Premier League 2 Player-of-the-Month award. The other nominees are: Jack Bearne (Liverpool), Mika Biereth (Arsenal), Lewis Brunt (Leicester Cty), Liam Delap (Manchester City), Cole Palmer (Manchester City), Sony Perkins (West Ham United), Crysencio Summerville (Leeds United).

The shortlist was chosen by the Premier League Football Development Panel after PL2 club coaches picked the best performance by an opposing player in each of their league matches in April. The Panel will also select the winner.

Youth Cup ticket sales pass stunning landmark


With 63,000 fans expected at Old Trafford, sales now exceed the capacity of all other British club stadiums.


Double-header against Forest

As well as the FA Youth Cup final on Wednesday, United play Nottingham Forest at Carrington on Saturday morning in our final U18 Premier League fixture of this season. The 12:30 BST kick-off will be shown live on MUTV, where coverages begins 15 minutes before.

Nick Cox podcast

Our head of Academy is the latest guest on the much-loved UTD Podcast. You can listen to the episode in full on the United app from Monday evening, and on all good podcast providers from Tuesday evening.