Reds in New York: Memories to last a lifetime

Sunday 23 July 2023 20:17

Manchester United headed to San Diego on Sunday after an action-packed stay in New York and New Jersey that left an impact on tens of thousands of fans who came into the contact with the club during the four-day visit.

The highlight was Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal in front of 82,262 fans at the MetLife Stadium – a record for an association football game at the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets.

But United’s presence stretched beyond the match to a range of activities with fan groups and Manchester United Foundation that created a lifetime of memories for those who took part.

Hundreds of members of Manchester United Supporters’ Clubs from across the US converged on New York for two packed-out social events in the days before the game, with club legend and two-time Champions League-winner Wes Brown on hand to share stories and meet fans.

A pop-up Manchester United Museum, in association with the Helsinki Red Room and Marriott Hotels, featuring exhibits including a shirt worn by Busby Babe Duncan Edwards, was visited by hundreds of fans in the Marquis Marriot Hotel in the heart of the city.

Thousands more fans took part in a traditional tailgate party outside the MetLife stadium before Saturday’s game, hosted by the club with entertainment, a legend appearance, competition prizes and gifts for those attending.

A party atmosphere quickly developed with fans from across the US, including official supporters’ clubs from 10 different states, and others who had travelled from the UK, sheltering from the sweltering sun in tents where fans mingled, barbecued food, drank cold drinks and sang United songs.

Meanwhile, Manchester United Foundation, whose usual focus is supporting young people in deprived areas of Greater Manchester, brought its mission across the Atlantic by teaming up with the club’s two official New York supporters’ clubs to support two youth-focused local charities, Street Soccer USA and America Scores. A $5,000 donation was made to each of the charities to kickstart this new relationship.

Wes Brown attended a street soccer facility in the Bronx to participate in a youth tournament for over 60 10-12 year olds. The following day he was joined by Collette Roche, Manchester United's chief operating officer, to ring the bell at the close of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, surrounded by young people put forward by the charities for the once-in-a-lifetime experience. The young visitors were given a tour of the famous building and heard from senior Wall Street officials.

Forty young people nominated by the charities attended Saturday’s game against Arsenal as guests of the club and 11 of them had the honour of accompanying the team on to the pitch as mascots.

Fans at the tailgate party outside the MetLife Stadium.

John Shiels, Chief Executive of Manchester United Foundation, said: “When Manchester United comes to town on Tour, we want to inspire and engage with local young people in the same way that we do through our Foundation back home.

“It’s been a privilege to work with local supporters’ clubs and charities in New York over the past few days to use the power of United to make a positive impact on the communities we are visiting.

“Parts of New York face similar social and economic challenges to those we address in Greater Manchester, so we wanted to leave a legacy in support of charities who share our goal to increase opportunities for young people from deprived areas.”

United legend Wes Brown with a participant at a Soccer Schools event.

Rick McGagh, head of fan engagement at Manchester United, added: “Our visit to New York and New Jersey has been a whirlwind of activity and great experiences, both for existing Manchester United fans and for the thousands of other people we have connected with for the first time.

“We’re grateful for the warm welcome we have received and for the enthusiasm shown by fans new and old during a fantastic few days, and, in particular, for the support shown by our New York fans for the new partnership between Manchester United Foundation and two outstanding local charities.

“We leave New York today with a wealth of memories and new friendships, and look forward to similar opportunities to engage with our fans in San Diego, Houston and Las Vegas during the remainder of the Tour.”