David De Gea signs autographs for Manchester United fans attending the squad's open training session at the WACA cricket ground

How United are making an impact in Australia

Thursday 11 July 2019 14:00

Over 10,000 Manchester United fans packed into Perth's WACA cricket ground on Thursday night, local time, to watch an open training session that raised vital funds for charity.

The Manchester United Foundation and Australian charity Telethon formed a partnership with Inclusion Solutions ahead of Tour 2019, to fund a programme that gives physically and intellectually disabled children the opportunity to integrate with able-bodied children by playing football.

Almost 12,000 tickets at a price of $5 were purchased by interstate and international fans from 26 different countries, which means a massive amount of money has been raised by the event.

It was the first of several events that have been organised by the MU Foundation on Tour 2019, with a gala dinner scheduled for Thursday evening and a charity golf day also happening on Friday. 

The huge crowd at training was mostly made up of families and they were all delighted to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad in the flesh, as preparations for the 2019/20 season continue Down Under. 

Several lucky youngsters were even invited onto the field to meet their heroes, including two who were picked at random to train with our four goalkeepers David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Lee Grant and Joel Pereira, while other awestruck children came on to take penalties with the players. 

Those who watched from the stands were not disappointed either: thousands of fans posed for selfies and had shirts signed when the squad took time to complete a lengthy lap of honour to finish.

The only players who could unfortunately not take part in the session were forwards Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial, who were both partaking in some alternative gym-based training instead. 


Manchester United Foundation chief executive John Shiels has travelled to Australia to oversee all of the fundraising events and he is proud of the unprecedented work being done during Tour 2019.

“This is the first time we have tried anything on this scale,” Shiels told us this week. “We are doing quite a lot of fundraising on the tour. The idea is to bring some of the funds back to Manchester to help the Foundation, but also to leave a legacy fund here in Perth and Western Australia.

De Gea takes time out to embrace his fans Video

De Gea takes time out to embrace his fans

The lads were determined to meet as many supporters as possible at training, including fans' favourite David De Gea...

"We are starting with open training and everything that is paid in goes towards the charity pot. We are working with a local charity called Inclusion Solutions, which is similar to what we do at home with Inclusive Reds. It is about how we can get young children of varied ability, able bodied or disabled, to play on the same pitch, giving everybody the qualities that football can sport gives you. I'm talking about team work, communication, co-operation, and socialisation. 

“Open training is followed by a gala dinner with over 500 people. Denis Irwin and Bryan Robson are attending, as well as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and a few members of staff. That is followed by a golf day at a local course which is ironically called Wembley. Then on Sunday we are going to do a high net-worth lunch, which is what it says - it is a bit more exclusive, for eight to 10 people who have all paid a lot of money to charity. They are going to have face to face talks with Bryan, Denis, Ole, Mike Phelan and Michael Carrick, as well as some of the players, which is fantastic.

"I am just ecstatic and elated that we can come here and do something that will leave such a fantastic legacy.”

All of United's six pre-season games - against Perth Glory, Leeds United, Inter Milan, Spurs, Kristiansund and AC Milan - will be shown live on MUTV.