Robbo: Playing at Old Trafford is a privilege

Friday 14 June 2024 10:32

We caught up with Manchester United icon, former club captain and all-round fan-favourite Bryan Robson as he prepares to manage a team of Reds Legends against Celtic in September.

Robbo will take on managerial duties for the clash with the Scottish giants on Sunday 7 September, with all funds raised from the match going back into the work of Manchester United Foundation.

Keep reading for the full interview with the former skipper as we look ahead to what's sure to be a fantastic occasion later in the year...

Bryan, it's exciting news that United Legends will be taking on Celtic in September, how does it feel to be returning once again as manager?

"I love being involved in these games and it’s always a joy to get the lads back together – when we do, it’s like we’ve never been away. We’re going to have some top players on show who’ve done brilliantly for this football club. They might have retired, but on every occasion I have managed these matches, the commitment has been nothing short of 100 per cent - you never lose that edge. It’s an opportunity for the fans to come down, enjoy these players once again, have a great day with their family and support the Foundation."

Robson has been a long-term supporter of Manchester United Foundation.

United and Celtic have only played each other four times in competitive games, despite being two huge clubs…

"It’s really surprising, but hopefully that adds an extra element of excitement for this game. The two clubs have a close shared history, having been the first Scottish and English teams to win the European Cup in 1967 and 1968 respectively, and we’ve also seen some big names represent both sides such as Paddy Crerand, Lou Macari and Roy Keane, which gives the clubs a bit of a history and shared respect between us.

"I certainly felt that at my testimonial game back in 1990, when 22,000 Celtic fans came down to Old Trafford. It made for a fantastic night, and a great atmosphere, though I’m not going to tell you what the score was! Quite a few of the other boys [Brian McClair, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane] also had their testimonial matches against Celtic, and I think they liked how there was a rivalry, but a good friendship and sportsmanship between the two clubs. Their fans always travel in numbers."

Legends games at Old Trafford: The story so far


Ex-United players have teamed up for five home matches in aid of our Foundation since 2013 - look back at them all here.

Do you think we’ll see a similar kind of turnout and atmosphere on the seventh?

"Absolutely! I have no doubt. There will be plenty of green and white in Manchester on that day and I’m sure they will make a corner of town an honorary part of Glasgow for the day! Just like our fans, they are so passionate about their club and I’m looking forward to seeing both sets of supporters mingle, chatting football and enjoying a good game.

The match will help to raise funds to support the community work of the Foundation, that you have supported for many years. What makes you passionate about what we do and keeps you coming back?

"Everyone knows about the history of this club and how we have always given opportunities to young lads coming through. What the Foundation does brilliantly is give this opportunity - in different ways, such as education and work opportunities - to ordinary kids in Greater Manchester, and now further afield.

"I think it’s really important for us as ex-players to help promote and support this, giving something back to the club that gave us a platform to do well. A lot of people benefit from the work the Foundation does and we have to remember this as it’s a really important part of this football club."

Robson has managed many a Legends game - including the most recent at Old Trafford, against Liverpool back in 2022.

Do you see it as a bit of an obligation, as a former club captain, to pull these teams together and get a younger generation of players to get involved?

"United is a special club and we should see it as a privilege that we can come back and play, but also help a lot of people by doing so. As a former United player, why would you not want to get involved? Throughout the years, we’ve had fantastic support from so many players: David Beckham, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Edwin van der Sar, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to name but a few, and last time - against Liverpool - we had some new faces in Patrice Evra, Dimitar Berbatov and Antonio Valencia.

"It’s great to see the support we get from the lads and, if I can play a part in helping to make it happen, it’s a small thing for me to do."

What do you find is the most enjoyable element of returning to Old Trafford for these matches?

"You know, I’d have to say that you can’t beat being in a competitive game again. Whether you’re standing behind the white line, like me, or back on the pitch, it’s always special to be back. When you retire, you miss that buzz, you miss the dressing room camaraderie and, of course, you miss the support of the fans in the stands. So yes, the game is for charity and to raise money for an important cause but, as I’ve touched on, we all want to win and send the fans home happy."

United Legends to return


A team of ex-Reds are heading to Old Trafford in September to face their Celtic counterparts.

Speaking of the fans, what can they expect from the day?

"I like to think that these games give the chance for fans who might not ordinarily come to Old Trafford to experience a matchday. It’s a family day, and we encourage everyone to come along, but I also like to think that we can still provide the same kind of excitement and passion that people get from watching the likes of Bruno [Fernandes] and Marcus [Rashford] on a Saturday.

"It's a really good day for youngsters, with plenty of activities taking place around the stadium on the day; it’s one for everybody to enjoy and I’m sure it’s going to be another special day." 


United Legends will welcome their Celtic counterparts to the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday 7 September, in a 14:00 BST kick-off.

Tickets are now on general sale to all supporters, so click here to get yours!