New South Wales Australia
The Manchester United Supporters Club of NSW Australia was the brainchild of FRED (the Red) POLLITT and his wife ANN. Fred and Ann had a dream, and that dream became a reality through lots of hard work and dedication. These two people treated the Club like it was their life, and in a lot of ways it was. Working a day job was something they had to do to keep themselves fed, but when work finished they got down to the real business of their life which was making their Supporters Club the biggest and best it could be.
Fred and Ann knew there were a large number of other Manchester United supporters in Australia, and there were even Supporters Clubs in South Australia and Western Australia, but there wasn't one in New South Wales. So in early February of 1993 Fred and Ann contacted a few other United supporters and together they started THE MANCHESTER UNITED SUPPORTERS CLUB OF NSW AUSTRALIA. Once the supporters club was established, Fred and Ann lobbied very hard to get the club affiliated with Manchester United Football Club. We succeeded in attaining official supporters club status a year later in February 1994 and this has enabled the Club to greatly benefit from the close tie we have with Old Trafford.
2014 was the clubs 20th anniversary year and the supporters club is still going strong today. At present the Club has over 200 members, our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pages/The-Official-Manchester-United-Supporters-Club-of-NSW-Australia) has over 4,700 likes and 4,600 followers and the supporters club Twitter account (www.twitter.com/ManUtdNSW) has over 3,000 likes and 2,600 followers. In 2018 we established our Instagram page (www.instagram.com/@manutdnsw/). The majority of our members live in NSW but we do have some members in most states around Australia. We have links with fellow United supporters, and supporters clubs, from many different countries all around the world and our network continues to grow.
To assist in continuing Fred and Ann’s dream, we have had many people involved in running the club over the years. Before I took on the role of Chairperson about 12 years ago, Graham Shakespeare and Steve Griffith had both held the position. The club has always been, and continues to be, run by volunteers. The club has kept going thanks to some dedicated and hard working people who come together to share their passion for Manchester United. Some of these volunteers have taken on committee member roles but other just turn up at events, roll up their sleeves and help make the day a success. If you would like to get involved, we would love to hear from you as “many hands make light work”.
Our supporters club has regular meetings which are held on the second Monday of most months with many held at Club on East, 7 Railway Parade, Sutherland, NSW 2232. It kicks off at 7.30pm and runs until about 9.30pm. We normally have somewhere between 20 and 100 members attending these meetings but for some special events we can get even more!
The meetings usually kick off with an update from our Chairperson. We then discuss the recent Manchester United games, watch some football footage and arrange upcoming events in NSW. We usually have some Manchester United trivia and sometimes have games too. During the evening we have a lucky door prize and a raffle where some great Manchester United memorabilia is up for grabs! Children are more than welcome to attend these meetings and we hope that the evenings make for a great family get together. All United supporters are welcome so if you are considering becoming a member, or you are a member who hasn’t made it to a meeting yet, do try and make it along. It’s always great to meet fellow United fans and match a name with a face.
Members of our club receive a membership pack when they join and a quarterly magazine. We also send out email newsletters at least once a month, often more frequently and run online EPL tipping and fantasy team competitions. If any of our members travel over to the UK and want to see a game at Old Trafford we can use our contacts to secure tickets for them to the game. We have had many members go to watch a live game over the years, and that's got to be the greatest thrill for any United supporter.
In September 2013 we held a charity 5-a-side football tournament at 5 Sports, Caringbah (www.5sports.com.au). This was the second year the tournament was held and, just like 2012, the day was very successful in raising much needed funds for two important charities, Billee Wynen (www.beautifulbillee.com.au) and the George Best Foundation (www.georgebest.com). In December 2017 we held our latest charity football match - an 11-a-side match against the Crystal Palace Supporters Club and are intending to make this a regular event.
While live Manchester United games are often on during the early hours of the morning due to the time difference between Australia and Europe, we do try to meet up to watch some games together every season. If we make it through to an FA Cup or Champions League Final these nights/mornings are always special but obviously better when we win! We email our members details of these get together and also put the arrangements on our Facebook page so that anyone can join us to support our boys.
In July 2013 we felt truly spoilt when the Manchester United team spent a week in Sydney as part of their preseason tour. Some of our members went out to the airport to meet the team when they arrived on the Sunday. As Manchester United were staying at a hotel in The Rocks most days some of our members were hanging around outside the hotel. It was great. We managed to get photos with many of the players when they went for a walk around the harbour.
I, along with our Vice Chairperson, Matt Mifsud, were able to meet most of the players at the team hotel and present Robin van Persie with our supporters club annual player of the year trophy in person.
Matt Mifsud, Alex O’Connor and Mark O’Connor presenting Robin van Persie with the 2012/2013
Official Manchester United Supporters Club of NSW Australia player of the year trophy
On the Wednesday, Rio Ferdinand had a book signing in central Sydney that many of our members attended.
The Thursday was a busy day. Forty boys and girls aged 8 -14 attended a Manchester United Soccer School run by Manchester United coaches. I went along with some members to the lunch with David Moyes and special guests at the Westin hotel. The highlight of the day was an event that the NSW supporters club hosted that members from the Brisbane and Victorian supporters clubs also attended.
We had over 300 Australian Manchester United supporters at a private function at The Star with some Manchester United legends. Francis Burns, Paddy Crerand, Bryan Robson, Denis Irwin, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole answered questions from the fans. We then had the opportunity to get their autographs and our photos taken with the Premier League trophy. To make it even more special, the evening was comperedby Alan Keegan who is “the voice of Old Trafford”. Another former United player, Mark Bosnich, also put in an appearance.
Many of our members attended the open training session on the Friday. Our supporters club had a really good spot right near the half way line so we were able to get some great photos.
Before the game on the Saturday I got on a London bus, supplied by our sponsor britstop, which was filled with supporters club members. We travelled around Sydney in style in the build up to the match. We arranged a stop off at the Opera House to meet up with some other members and get a “sea of red” on the Opera House steps. There must have been over 2,000 Manchester United fans there. It was amazing. We then headed to Homebush for the game.
There's some information about our supporters club. If you have any comments, questions or wish for any more information please e-mail me at [email protected]