The pupils from the Manchester United Foundation partner school travelled to London where they presented to a judging panel consisting of football analyst and former England defender Graeme Le Saux, and Sport Relief ambassador Theo Paphitis.
The young entrepreneurs were confident from the start with their Transfer Foods idea, which ties together catering opportunities at Old Trafford with the identities of Manchester United’s summer signings. Prior to the final their idea had received backing from Manchester United group managing director Richard Arnold and had been endorsed by Reds stars Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
This year 29 Premier League and Football League clubs have taken part in the national competition, which tasked pupils with developing ideas to encourage fans to spend more time at stadiums on a match day.
The final took place at the London’s prestigious Altitude 360 venue and saw pupils compete against schools representing Swansea City, Everton, Middlesborough, Norwich City and West Ham United.
Manchester United Foundation enterprise coordinator, Rob Martin, was beaming with pride as United were crowned winners of the competition for the very first time. “The development of the group during the process has been fantastic,” he said. “They have worked on the idea each day in their forms and often stayed in at lunch time and after school.”
Rob added, “Now that they have won the competition it will give them so much self-belief and this coupled with the skills they have developed will mean they are able to maximise the opportunities that present themselves in the future.”
Lucy, one of the Swinton students involved in the project, explained how it had helped her development. “The experience has really boosted my confidence and I'm starting to think about jobs I could do in the future,” she said. “It’s overwhelming; we are all so proud of each other. We are so friendly; we have practically become family through it and to have the backing of so many people and Manchester United has just been brilliant.”
Fellow classmate David was overwhelmed by the results. He said, “We’ve had a really great experience, and the fact that it doesn’t stop here and we can get to come back and meet Richard Scudamore is unbelievable. It is amazing who we have met and it’s great to hear people as big as Bastian Schweinsteiger have recognised it.”
Guest judge and Sport Relief ambassador Theo Paphitis was also impressed by the idea the pupils had developed. “They really have something special and unique,” he said. “The world’s moved on from pie and chips; what they’ve managed to develop is something they’ve proved concept of, that can be transferred across other clubs and will work for all the clubs, and furthermore it'll always be a fresh idea as clubs are always signing new players."