The Heartbeat of United: Hayley Bushell

Thursday 11 April 2024 10:00

According to the official records, Hayley Bushell, Manchester United Foundation’s head of fundraising and charity services, joined the club back in 2012.

But in reality, her work started much, much earlier – thanks to her family’s long links to MUFC.
“I’ve always been involved in football because of my dad, Dave Bushell, who is the Academy’s player liaison officer,” she tells us. 
“He started back at the club in September 1992 as the Under-16 manager, and I used to help him with the kit and make tea and coffee on Sundays at Littleton Road.”
Hayley (right) has had a long association with United, which started through her dad, Dave (left).
Despite his long association with the club, Dave has never made any secret of his own support for Bolton Wanderers. But due to these early experiences in and around the youth set-up, and the influence of one young player in particular, Hayley quickly became a Red. 
“I first became a fan watching Ryan Giggs play for my dad’s England Under-15 schoolboys team and started watching the Youth Cup games, as well as the Reserves.

“I got my first ‘league match ticket book’ and stood in the Stretford End during the 1990/91 season to watch Ryan make his debut, and I moved to the Scoreboard End when the Stretford End was rebuilt. I now sit with my family in the South [Sir Bobby Charlton] Stand, and we attend all home games together.”
When she joined the club as an employee, many years after Giggs’s debut, as an events coordinator, it was with the dream brief of working alongside many of Ryan’s team-mates. 
“I originally came in to project-lead the very first Legends game at Old Trafford in June 2013,” she reminisces. “It was an opportunity not to be missed, as I’d grown up watching some of the legends involved in the game on that day – Bryan Robson, Denis Irwin, Andrew Cole and Paul Scholes, to name a few.”
The peak of the Legends events was arguably 2019’s Treble Reunion match in M16, which raised over £1.5million for the Foundation’s work in the local community, thanks largely to a massive crowd of 61,000 at Old Trafford. 
“I was lucky enough to be at the Nou Camp in 1999,” notes Bushell, “so for me that [Treble Reunion] is up there with my most memorable moments.”
Extended highlights: Treble Reunion legends match Video

Extended highlights: Treble Reunion legends match

Treble Reunion | Watch the extended highlights of our last Legends match at Old Trafford, against Bayern in 2019...

The Legends games are merely the most high-profile events Hayley has driven. 
Other fundraising initiatives she has been involved with include the annual sleepout at Old Trafford, gala dinners, winter campaigns, overseas treks, Santa runs, supporters’ club events, the matchday lottery and more. Not to mention Dream Days, Christmas hospital visits, plus supporting fans wherever possible with their own fundraising campaigns, via signed items.
While she is highly proud of her family’s strong links to United, and still loves following the team, the daily job is about looking after the wider Manchester United family. About ensuring the club can be a force for positive change.
Hayley with her parents and Sir Alex, after the latter presented Dave with the Eamonn Dolan award in 2023.
“In our line of work, we have supported some incredibly vulnerable and poorly fans,” she admits. 
“We do everything we can to give them an unforgettable Manchester United experience, and we also see first-hand how our fundraising improves the lives of young people in our partner schools and projects – it inspires us and motivates us to do more.
“I love working in the fundraising and charity services department,” Hayley concludes.

“We are a small team but we look out for one another and support each other in our everyday tasks and will always do our best to fulfil the many requests we receive. Of course, the Foundation could not achieve our targets and successfully deliver our events without the football club and our fans – and United’s support has always remained constant and steadfast.”