Crerand expecting 'vast' FA Youth Cup crowd

Thursday 05 May 2022 16:00

European Cup-winning midfielder Paddy Crerand is expecting a “vast crowd” at Manchester United Under-18s’ FA Youth Cup final on Wednesday 11 May.

The young Reds face Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford next week, and over 50,000 tickets have been sold already, with fans eager to see the possible next generation of Academy talents.

Legendary Scot Crerand was a key part of Sir Matt Busby’s multiple title-winning side that was built upon homegrown players who themselves had won the Youth Cup. Sir Bobby Charlton, three-time winner of the competition in 1954, 1956 and 1957, featured in midfield alongside Crerand, who was a great friend of George Best, a 1964-winner. Best’s 1964 team-mates David Sadler and John Aston Jr were also key players under Busby.

Fans can still join the record Youth Cup crowd


Academy head Nick Cox thanks fans as ticket sales for next Wednesday's Old Trafford final soar above the 50,000-mark.

Paddy, then, is all too aware of the importance of the Youth Cup in developing young talents and is excited at the opportunity to see this side compete for the title.

“I’m sure there’ll be a vast crowd at that game, a big crowd,” said Crerand, who still pens a regular column in United Review, the club’s matchday programme.

“I don’t get as much of an opportunity to watch the kids anymore, but I’ll be down at that game.

“It’s always been a big attraction for United fans, to watch the youth team play, and when they get to a cup final as well, it’s a great feat in itself. I’m looking forward to that one.

“United fans know their history and have always looked at the youth teams to see if there’s anybody coming through the ranks.

“The Youth Cup final is always high-quality. It’s a great competition and has always been a priority in United’s history, going back 70 years. That was something United had long before anybody else: players coming through the ranks. I think that started properly during the Matt Busby-Jimmy Murphy era, kids coming through the ranks. And some of those boys have an association with the club that lasts for the rest of their life.

“It’ll be a terrific game to watch. I’m told they’ve sold 50,000 tickets already. Hopefully we can add some more on top of that and everyone who’s got their ticket shows up to support the young lads.

“When you’re a kid, to win that trophy is the biggest thing you can do at that level," Crerand added.

"To get to the final is a great feat, and of course to win it would be too. These players can look down through the history of Manchester United and see the number of players that have come through the ranks and made it into the first team and became stars.

“It’s a platform. Somebody can do something crazy on the night and put themselves in the limelight.”