On Friday 31st January, 92 Year 8 students were taken across the Pennines to the Theatre of Dreams – Old Trafford. The second memorable experience was organised and run by the PE department and gave students the experience of a look at life at a world class sporting venue. The students had an early start as we left the academy to make the journey along the M62 and they arrived full of excitement for the day to come. During the day students attended an educational session on the demands of the game which gave them a valuable insight into the nutrition, dedication, behaviour and training of a professional athlete. Students were also taught about the importance of education to academy and youth team players and how their actions in school and college can impact on their place in the team. Everything covered in the education session had a direct link to topics covered in school from the requirements of a balanced diet to the fitness components needed to be a top level athlete. As well as the education session students were taken on a guided tour of the stadium. This was the first chance many of the students have had to see a top class sports arena and the students were blown away by experience. They visited the stands and saw the TV crews from Sky Sports setting up their equipment ready for the live match the following day. Students also got the opportunity to sit on the subs bench in the very seats occupied by the greatest footballers in the world. After seeing the stand the students were taken behind the scenes to the home team dressing room and the player’s tunnel. The tour culminated with a visit to the executive boxes and the media room to see where the post-match press conferences would take place. The tour opened a lot of eyes about the inner workings of a football club and supported the work done earlier in the year around the vast number of careers available in the sporting world other than becoming a professional athlete, with some saying that they liked the idea of a career in sports media.
The day continued with a look around the Manchester United museum which packs in over 140 years of history over three floors. From the history of the club kits and the vast number of trophies to the treble winning season and the tragic Munich air disaster of 1958, the museum had something for everyone with even the non-football fans finding articles and exhibits to get excited about. Students were also allowed some time to visit the club megastore and pick up a memento of the visit. If that wasn’t enough students were then taken the short journey to Trafford Fives Soccer Centre to compete in a World Cup 6 aside competition so they could emulate the achievements from the players they had been finding out about earlier in the day. The experience was a huge success and everyone took a great deal away from the day; whether the students fancied themselves as the next Ronaldo or if they wanted to go into the media, design, coaching or educational aspects that make up such a huge part of worldwide success of a professional sports club. Year 8 were a huge credit to the academy and MUFC staff were all very complimentary about the behaviour they displayed throughout the day.