The team, including David de Gea, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford, gave the guests a Christmas to remember, at Manchester United Foundation’s bi-annual Dream Day for fans who live with serious and life-limiting illnesses.
The heart-warming event takes place twice a season with supporters travelling from across the UK to meet their footballing heroes and watch first team training from the Jimmy Murphy Visitors’ Centre. At today’s event everyone got into the Christmas spirit with the players donning Santa hats and giving out gifts, signing autographs and posing for photos with the guests.
Ashley Young, who has supported the Foundation and attended many Dream Days over his eight seasons with the club, said, “It’s massively important for us players to see the fans today and to give something back. It’s close to Christmas so it’s nice to give them an early present and to see the kids smiling at what is a tough time for them, and if we can do anything to cheer them up then that’s what we want to do.”
Amongst the group of 14 guests at the training ground today was nine-year-old Hugh, who received an extra special gift when David de Gea gave him his very own signed goalkeeper gloves. “I’m speechless,” Hugh said. “My brothers are going to be very jealous; I’m never going to take these gloves off!”
Steven, 14, from Northampton was also delighted to meet the team, especially his favourite player Juan Mata: “It’s been amazing, a dream come true. I’ve met all the players but my favourite has to be Mata,” Steven said. “Today has definitely boosted my Christmas spirit and has been very exciting – it’s a great way to end this year.”