Behind the scenes at MUYSC's first get-together

Wednesday 27 March 2024 11:00

In the heart of M16, beneath the watchful eyes of the legendary Old Trafford, Manchester United’s Youth Supporters’ Club hosted a highly anticipated five-a-side tournament earlier this month – the group's first-ever social event.

This exciting occasion brought together 35 enthusiastic supporters, local talent, and football aficionados aged 16-25 for a day of friendly competition and fellowship, with the goal of not only demonstrating the club's dedication to grassroots football, but also instilling a sense of community and unity among supporters. 
The tournament, which featured players from various neighbourhoods, schools, and fan clubs, embodied the inclusive spirit of the beautiful game.

One fan even travelled from Scotland to play!
Members of our Youth Supporters' Club – formed in 2023 – gear up for a day of fun, friendship and football.
Despite the mundane weather of the north, spirits remained high as Team 2 and Team 4 kicked off what would be a day to remember. 
The laughs and cheers crafted by the crowd were near identical to the famous atmosphere we hear on a matchday; so much so that closed eyes would barely be able to tell the difference.
A well-oiled performance from Team 4 saw them rise to top of the table after a 4-2 victory, leaving a look of desolation on the faces of Team 2. 
The two teams left the pitch, making way for the youthful Team 3 and Team 1 and the second fixture of the day. Sadly for Team 1, who wore the red of United on their shirts, they proved to be no match for Team 3, as acute passes and a brace from the voted Player of the Tournament, Cole Brown, helped the latter secure a comfortable 6-2 victory, putting them on par at the top of the table with Team 4.
After this entertaining display of skill, goals and iconic moments from both teams, it was time to bid farewell to the group-stage matches and keep the door open for the 'Europa League' and 'Champions League' finals. 
After picking up just a point in the group stage, Team 2 welcomed their opponents Team 1 to the pitch to kick off the Europa League final. In the previous meeting between the two teams, Team 1 took all three points thanks to a narrow 3-2 win, with little to separate the two sides. 
These subtle differences became even more apparent when the goals were evenly split at the final whistle, meaning a penalty shoot-out would have to decide who would be crowned champions of Europe’s second division. 
Visitors to Old Trafford were treated to an unexpected display of highly competitive football.
The fans gathered behind the goal and the tension was also recognised by passing tourists, who obviously wanted to be part of the exciting atmosphere that the fans created. 
The duration of the penalty shootout made many think back painfully to May 26, 2021, when Manchester United lost to Spanish side Villarreal in the Europa League final, with all 22 players taking a penalty.
But it was an optimistic Panenka from Pete Stone that ensured his side (Team 1) were eliminated from the tournament and gave Team 2, the underdogs in the final, the title of Europa League winners. It seemed visually difficult to distinguish a winning and a losing team though, with smiles all around. That's the joy of football, where players have a common goal: to play, to have fun and to belong.
The dreaded shootout reaches a dramatic conclusion!
The focus of the tournament then quickly shifted to the high-calibre Champions League, in which Team 3 and Team 4 competed against each other for the last time. The last time these two heavyweights met, the points were shared after an intense 4-4 draw, so the fans and tourists gathered around the pitch were guaranteed an eventful game. 
Hearing the Champions League anthem while playing for your team in a cup final, a dream every fan has dreamed of, had become a reality for some. This is what memories are made of. 
As the whistle blew for the first half, a rush of adrenaline shot through all the players. Friendships were forgotten and replaced by the rivalry of who wanted it more.
Player of the Tournament Cole received a signed Harry Maguire shirt after showcasing his quality skills.
Cole Brown, the top scorer, got Team 3 off to a blistering start in the first half. But that was not all. The momentum that Team 3 exuded was almost too much for Team 4 to handle, as within the blink of an eye it was 3-0 to Team 3. The casual comment of "men against boys" uttered by the fans was justified as Team 3 crowned themselves winners of the MUYSC five-a-side tournament with an outstanding performance.
However, as the day concluded, it was no longer about the goals scored or trophies won, but about the memories made and connections formed on the pitch.
"Aside from getting absolutely soaked – typical Manchester! –  it was an amazing time meeting everyone and getting to play the sport we love together," reflected group chair Luca Black.

"It was the perfect first event for MUYSC and we look forward to hosting more five-a-side in the future for those who missed out and for those who enjoyed to come back again."

For both competitors and viewers alike, the MUYSC five-a-side tournament had demonstrated football's eternal capacity to connect, inspire, and uplift.

To join the Manchester United Youth Supporters' Club, click here and complete the sign-up form.