United fans save the day for supporter from Africa

Manchester United fans with Moses (right).
Manchester United fans with Moses (right).PHOTO: IAN STIRLING/ TWITTER

LONDON • A Manchester United fan from Sierra Leone, whose hopes of watching his first game at Old Trafford were dashed on Sunday, saw his despair turn to elation after other supporters clubbed together for him to attend the FA Cup final at Wembley.

For all the spectators at Old Trafford, which has a capacity of more than 76,000, it was a frustrating end to what should have been the final game of the season at United's world-famous ground.

But for one supporter, calling himself Moses, from Sierra Leone, it was all the more disappointing as this should have been his first time watching a match at the Theatre of Dreams.

"This is Moses. He came from Sierra Leone to watch his first match at Old Trafford," posted Ian Stirling of the Manchester United Supporters Trust (Must) in a tweet that accompanied a photograph of a dejected-looking Moses.

But the trust ensured Moses' long journey from Africa would be worthwhile by finding the money to re-arrange his flights, put him up for the week and get him a ticket to the FA Cup final, with United up against Crystal Palace at London's Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

"Sadly they postponed the match - I was so sad about that - but they organised so I can stay another week and I'm excited about that!," Moses told the BBC.

Stirling, a vice-chairman of Must, said: "We heard the game was abandoned, we had to tell Moses and the poor lad was distraught - being so close to the ground and not being able to go in, not knowing when he might get this chance again.

"We had a quick discussion between us and we've agreed to rearrange his flight - so he'll fly home next week instead of tomorrow - and sort him out with a ticket for the FA Cup final. A couple of friends will put him up in Manchester as well.

"He's still distraught at not getting into Old Trafford, that was his dream, but we're trying to do the right thing for a friend."

Moses could yet get his chance, however, after Premier League officials announced the game with Bournemouth had been rescheduled for today.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2016, with the headline 'United fans save the day for supporter from Africa'. Print Edition | Subscribe