Manchester United’s FA cup tie against Arsenal on 16th February was this year’s designated game for the National Association of Disabled Supporters’ (NADS) Level Playing Field campaign, in association with Manchester United Disabled Supporters’ Association (MUDSA) and Manchester United Foundation.
The game promoted general awareness of disabled supporters attending matches and participating in football. Ground staff and ball boys at the match wore specially commissioned Level Playing Field t-shirts. The half-time pitch activity involved a three-a-side game, displaying the skills of some of the Foundation’s visually impaired players.
The match day programme was produced in Braille and will be available in this format from hereon in as part continuing commitment to provide enhanced facilities for visually impaired fans.
The match day experience of disabled supporters at Old Trafford is second to none.
MUDSA already has a high profile within the club and throughout ‘the game’ as a whole. MUDSA is the foremost disabled supporters’ organisation and has been emulated throughout the country.
Phil Downs MBE, founder of MUDSA said: “We are extremely proud of the facilities for disabled supporters at Old Trafford. We now have the best football stadium facilities in the country. Days like today go a long way to raising awareness amongst fans nationwide and will help us to achieve the ultimate aim of making the match day experience for a disabled fan the same as that of any supporter.”
Manchester United Foundation has already made great strides in developing teams for disabled people across the range of disabilities. It is now possible for disabled people with learning difficulties, visual impairments and mobility impairments to sign up under the comprehensive programme. The focus is on inclusion for everybody, irrespective of age and ability.
Adam Temple, disability development officer, Manchester United Foundation said: “My job is to provide football for anyone who wants to play, giving people of all ages and experience the opportunity to play football. To see a child playing football six months after they have been told they won’t be able to, gives me as much pride as seeing our amputee team represent their country.”
Jamie Polk at NADS said: “Football plays a massive part in the everyday lives of disabled supporters. Time and again we receive testimonials on how following football has had a positive effect on the life of disabled fans offering a sense of belonging, pride, passion and belief.”
Braille copies of United Review will be available for purchase from Phil Downs in the ability suite on match days.