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Sheasy at Street Reds!

Foundation participants welcomed the United legend to their local project recently.

| by Nathan Thomas

It’s not every day that someone who: nutmegged Luis Figo, scored the winner in front of Liverpool's Kop and made 393 appearances for Manchester United turns up at your football session, but that’s exactly what happened earlier this month when John O’Shea took part in the Foundation’s Ashton-under-Lyne Street Reds project.


Ahead of his return to Old Trafford to play in the Legends of the North match against Liverpool on 21st May, the United fan favourite was keen to get involved with the Foundation’s community work and loved joining in with the new Street Reds session at Foundation partner school Great Academy Ashton.

“It’s been great to take part in some of the training that the coaches were putting on for the kids,” John said. “To see the enthusiasm from both boys and girls - and particularly the girls who were loving it and very competitive – was really nice.

“It’s good to see the numbers of girls taking part in sessions like this increasing. I think that’s really important.”

Also present were representatives from Greater Manchester Police, with the local force recently committing to providing funding for the project in Ashton as part of an initiative to provide more opportunities for young people in the community. They were joined by Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party and MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, who even volunteered to go in goal for a penalty shoot-out with John and the participants!


Anthony Savery, community projects coordinator for Manchester United Foundation, spoke about the importance of this link-up: “The police being here certainly helps break down barriers in terms of relationships with young people.

“It breaks down the stereotypes that the police might have of young people and young people have of the police. Having them as a positive presence down here can only be good a good thing.

“It was also great to see Angela Rayner here, supporting our local community and getting involved with the kids and the session. It’s important for the kids to see these community figures in person to show that they are here to help and look after them – it creates a positive message going forward.”

The Foundation works actively across Greater Manchester, to engage and inspire young people; the aforementioned Legends of the North match between a team of United and Liverpool greats will raise funds to support these kind of projects, and John was keen to stress the importance of this.

“To be associated with Manchester United Foundation is amazing for me – the work that they do is fantastic,” he said. “The opportunities it gives kids to improve their fitness and health, but also just a chance to create a bond with Manchester United can be crucial to their development. I’ve enjoyed helping to spread that message in the community, stressing the importance of keeping physically and mentally active.

“For me, I wanted to see first-hand where the funds from the legends game will go, so to see these projects, to see that it actually affects families and communities is brilliant and really brings it home.


“And because of events like the legends game I’m sure there will be more amazing projects coming to the Greater Manchester area very soon.”

Be sure to head to to get your tickets to see John and the team on 21st May.