As mentioned earlier, I visited Manchester, UK during my last squash season at Concord Academy. Thanks to Roshan Abraham, my aunt, I had great pleasure in doing a Manchester United Museum and Stadium Tour. Despite the Abraham family being ardent Liverpool Football Club supporters, they were kind to allow me to re-imagine childhood football fantasies at one of the most popular football clubs in the world.
Like many, as a young boy playing soccer in the United Arab Emirates during the 1980s and attending a British primary school, one could not help but be engrossed by the English Premier League. Ideally, it would have been great to watch a match live at Old Trafford, but the schedule did not allow it. Interestingly the World Rugby Championships were being held at the Stadium during that time.
Learning about the history, tradition and operations of Manchester United was fascinating. From a coaching perspective, it was exciting to set foot in the stadium of of its longest serving Manager – Sir Alex Ferguson who recently signed a long-term teaching contract at Harvard Business School. Though Manchester United has struggled since his departure, it was well worth the visit.
In addition, while in Manchester, I also visited United’s rival club Manchester City Football Club which also has an impressive stadium. I was unaware that Manchester City had a sponsorship connection to Abu Dhabi’s Eithad Airways. Overall, visiting all these sporting sites was like going to Mecca, in terms of scale but without the religious significance. Although some Manchester United and Manchester City fans may disagree.