Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol in the United dressing room at Old Trafford

How the Reds surprised a Snow Patrol star

Thursday 27 December 2018 17:42

Playing stadiums and arenas all over the world is not something that fazes Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody, but it's fair to say he was in a state of shock when he visited Old Trafford recently.

Ahead of the start of Snow Patrol's UK and European tour, following the release of their new album Wildness, Gary dropped in at the Theatre of Dreams to talk all things United and music - but little did he realise that he would have a memorable surprise sprung on him by MUTV.

Back in July, Gary had watched the Reds train on tour in the United States and he also took part in a match involving Bryan Robson and Denis Irwin, as well as players from his own LA-based five-a-side team and staff from MUTV.

He'd mentioned then about Norman Whiteside being his United hero as a youngster and, when Gary was reunited with Denis for a tour of the stadium and an episode of MUTV's Table Football show, we thought it would be fun to get Norman along too!

Gary was gobsmacked when his idol Norman Whiteside unexpectedly appeared on set.

"I was sat in the studio talking to Denis about my favourite players growing up, one of which was Denis of course, but my hero was Norman and suddenly he appeared in the room!" Gary recalled when Inside United caught up with him afterwards. 

"I was absolutely flabbergasted. Two of the players I admired the most were sitting next to me and I was freaking out! [laughs] I'd kept it together all day with Denis during the stadium tour, but Norman appearing tipped it over the edge. It was amazing to be in their company."

Gary also told the incredible story of how, when he was at school, his mum and dad bid in an auction for him to play snooker with Norman. 

"They knew how big a fan I was and they ended up winning the auction," explained Gary. "I couldn't believe it. I came in my Sunday best with a tie and everything. I was so excited! I remember being ushered in to the snooker hall and meeting Norman, which was amazing. I broke and made a hash of it and he then made a break of something like 68 and the game was over!" 

You can watch the full episode of Table Football, including the big surprise and more great stories from Gary, Norman and Denis, online now via and the MUTV app.

Gary appeared in a special Table Football programme, now showing on

Snow Patrol's 2019 tour of the UK and Europe will include a concert at Manchester Arena on 30 January. Check out all the dates at

This article first appeared in the January 2019 edition of Inside United, the club's official monthly magazine. Single issues and subscriptions are available from

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Solskjaer will be at the charity event at Old Trafford on 22 January, and you can be too as tickets are still on sale.