Following an application process and interviews at their schools, the chosen ball boys will carry out duties at all home games at Old Trafford, plus Under 21 and Under 18 matches that take place at various venues.
Ahead of the first match against Chelsea, the boys were given an induction at the historic Cliff Training Ground, before being taken on a tour of Old Trafford and having their roles and responsibilities explained, including how to communicate with their colleagues and return the ball to the players correctly.
Despite being a Manchester City supporter, 14-year-old Kyle Tarrant from Wythenshawe says he is ‘grateful’ to have been chosen for the role and described the atmosphere at the first match as ‘electric’: “Walking out of the tunnel at the Chelsea match was amazing; knowing it was a big game, the atmosphere, getting to walk on the pitch and basically working with the players in some sense or another gave me a real buzz.”
Fellow ball boy Gary Massey, 14 from Hyde, added, “It took my breath away; I had goose pimples on my arms. I couldn’t believe I was so close to the pitch and the players during a game.” He continued, “I would advise anyone thinking about becoming a ball boy to go for it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the best thing I have ever done. It’s also really improved my confidence and ability to work with people.”
The pair attend Manchester Enterprise Academy in Wythenshawe and Astley Sports College in Dukinfield respectively; schools which are partnered with the Foundation through its Hub of the Community scheme, a programme that bases full time football coaches in the school to work with the students and feeder primary schools in order to build lasting relationships in the local community.
Coach Dave Chapman, who is based at Astley, commented, “Gary was put forward for the position because of his continual commitment to extra-curricular sports clubs at school. He is an example to other pupils of what good things can happen when you dedicate yourself to something.”
Good luck to all the ball boys for what promises to be a fantastic experience.
Find out more about the Hub of the Community programme here.