Why we can't wait for Tour 2022
It's a little over three weeks until Manchester United fly out on our pre-season tour ahead of the 2022/23 season.
Games against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa await in Bangkok, Melbourne and Perth and all of the pre-season matches - including the friendlies against Atletico Madrid in Oslo and Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford - will be shown live on MUTV.
Not only will our fans in Thailand, Australia and beyond be hotly anticipating the prospect of watching Erik ten Hag's Reds play, the same goes for United employees too, and we've picked the brains of three reporters who'll be on the flight out of Manchester Airport, along with the team.
Here's why they're looking forward to the tour...
“The pre-season tour is probably the most important part of the season for MUTV. We get the chance to show first-team games live and as a presenter on the channel my main role is to host the pre- and post-match shows. Aside from that there are always lots of interviews to be conducted and commercial partner events to help out at, so it’s a busy time!
“My first-ever United tour was to South Africa in 2006. It was a wonderful experience, but the clear highlight was meeting Nelson Mandela: that’s an example of the doors that Manchester United can open, so it’s an honour and a privilege to be a tiny part of it – we also got to see where he was famously incarcerated, on Robben Island.
“More recently and before the pandemic, I’ve been to the United States in 2018 plus Australia, Singapore and China the following year. Again, these were fantastic experiences which allowed me to meet amazing fans from across the world.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Australia this year, a country synonymous with sport and one where we have a brilliant fan base. I can’t wait to go back to Thailand too. I’ve been twice with United before, but not as part of a tour. The Thai people are so welcoming and the food is incredible. You can’t beat Los Angeles for a tour destination, though. The facilities for the team are second to none and with great weather and an abundance of choices to eat after finishing work, it’s just awesome.
“This year’s tour is particularly important with new manager Erik ten Hag working with his squad for the first time. It’s a time for people to get to know each other better and for any potential new signings to bed in with the group; for staff to meet, mingle and forge relationships.
“But equally important is the chance our fans across the world have to feel closer to the club they love. I’m blown away every single time by the passion our fans show whenever we visit their country: whether that’s a short trip across the channel to Ireland, a venture north of Europe to Norway, or a trek across the globe to Asia. Many of those fans will never get the chance to visit Old Trafford but they all support the club in their own way. It really is a pleasure to meet as many as we can, in what is a packed tour itinerary.
“I hope fans consume as much of our tour content as they can during the squad’s time away – we’ll have unrivalled access and exclusive interviews across our various channels and I promise we’ll work as hard as we can to deliver everything our fans deserve to see and hear.
“Last season was tough. I’ve been a United fan all my life and I can’t remember a more difficult season. But I’m really optimistic about Erik and, given time, I’m sure he can return us to winning ways. The upcoming tour will lay the foundations for that, which is why, for me, it’s the most important one to date…”
“Tour 2022 will be my first pre-season adventure abroad with Manchester United and I’m so looking forward to discovering just how fervent the support for the club in Thailand and Australia is.
“If you regularly listen to our excellent UTD Podcast, you’ll know that, more often than not, the moment when Reds past and present realise just how big an institution Manchester United is comes when they first step off the plane on a pre-season tour. Their descriptions bring to mind Beatlemania at its peak and, even after a difficult spell for the club, I’m sure we’ll see similar scenes in Bangkok, Melbourne and Perth this summer. Many of our fans have been waiting years to see their heroes up close and the seas of red throughout the various stadiums we’ll play at will be something to behold.
“I was in Surrey and St Andrews with the team last summer, when the pandemic made international travel impossible, so I saw first-hand the type of work that goes in during pre-season. It’s not a holiday camp and Erik ten Hag will be particularly keen to set a tempo during July which can carry his squad into the start of the new season and beyond.
“As part of the media team, I’m also excited to roll up my sleeves and get down to work. We’re in a privileged position doing what we do, and we have to make the most of it. Whether that’s reporting on what Erik and the lads are working on in training, talking to new signings and introducing them to the fanbase or showcasing the clips, images and fun features which help bring supporters closer to the team, I hope we can do it justice. Watch this space!”
“My role on the tour will be assistant producer and presenter, which means I’ll be doing some presenting and interviewing for MUTV and the social channels, as well as behind-the-camera roles with the media team that will help bring the fans all the best exclusive content from inside Tour 2022.
“I’m incredibly excited for tour! If you’d have told younger me that I’d be travelling across the world with United, I’d have laughed at you! It certainly makes a difference from what I was used to at Salford City, where we’d play the likes of Derby, Fleetwood and Atherton Collieries during the summer.
“It’s such a privilege to be part of the team on the ground over there and I’m excited for all four of our games – all for different reasons. The game against Liverpool in Bangkok is a mouthwatering fixture for any United fan and even if it’s just a friendly, pride is on the line. I was lucky enough to go to the Rajamangala Stadium, where it will be held, a few months back. It’s a really special place.
“We held the press conference announcing the game at a local shopping mall in Bangkok with Andy Cole and there were hundreds of people surrounding the stage, all buzzing for the fixture. We also got to meet the Thailand Supporters’ Club and they actually cried tears of joy to hear we were coming to Thailand, especially after Covid. Hopefully they can see us win!
“Manchester United is a name known worldwide and that’s down to our hugely dedicated fans. We’re all here through thick and thin and we have so many loyal supporters’ groups globally, who prove that no matter where you are in the world, your passion for the club will shine through. The supporters at these games are going to create one heck of an atmosphere: they don’t have the chance to see the team week in, week out, so expect lots of noise.
“After Thailand, we’re off to Australia – I’ve never been down under before so I can’t wait for the Melbourne and Perth legs.
“There will be a lot of interest in this tour as it’s the first chance to see Erik ten Hag at United. Having a new manager in charge naturally brings excitement. Pre-season is all about building the best foundations for the new season and we want to get things off with a bang. MUTV will have full coverage of the matches and training, so there’s no better place to experience the start of what we’re hoping will be a long and successful new era under the Dutchman. Bring it on!”