Man U's SA tour 'important': Robson
13 July 2012
The world's most popular football club, Manchester United, is headed for South Africa to play two pre-season matches. Former club and England captain Bryan Robson says it's an important tour for the Red Devils.
Robson, who is a club ambassador, spoke to East Coast Radio on Tuesday about the forthcoming tour that includes matches against Amazulu on 18 July at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban and against Ajax Cape Town at the Cape Town Stadium on 21 July.
Questioned about the decision to play matches in the coastal cities of Cape Town and Durban, he said: "It's a case of playing against different teams and seeing different fans throughout South Africa, so for this time [we're visiting] Cape Town and Durban.
"All the players are really looking forward to meeting the fans and meeting our sponsors in these areas, rather than it being in Johannesburg all the time."
He explained that United has a three-pronged approach to the tour. "South Africa has always been a great place to go for the competition that the teams give you because the preparation for the players for the start of the season is very important; you want to get off to a good start when you go into the new season," he said.
"The preparation's really good, the training grounds are really good, the competition against the teams is good.
"Then, it's also important for us that we always mix well with the fans, we do some PR events around the areas, because the fans don't see us very often, so it's very important that we integrate that.
"And then, with Manchester United now, we've got sponsors all over the world and it's important that we give them something back as well."
Sir Alex Ferguson
The Red Devils' legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been with the team since 1986. In that time he has become the most successful manager in the club's history and in the history of the English Premier League.
Under him, United have won 12 Premier League titles, the FA Cup five times, and the League Cup four times.
They also won the Uefa Champions League in 1998/99 - the year of the club's legendary treble when they also won the Premier League and FA Cup titles - and 2007/08.
Ferguson, though, wants to achieve even more success. "He definitely is [hungry as ever]," Robson said.
"You would never have seen any more disappointed person than Sir Alex on that last day of the season [when Manchester City scored two late goals against Queens Park Rangers to win the title over United on goal difference]. All the players were really all downbeat as well.
"But the one thing that Manchester United has always been good at is bouncing back, especially under Sir Alex, and the players know it's really important to bounce back, and especially with it being our city rivals that won the championship...that we bounce back this season and try and get that championship back.
Robson played under Ferguson. He was at Old Trafford from 1981 to 1994 and said his said his greatest memory with United was winning the league title in 1992.
He derived the most pleasure, said Robson, from seeing "Sir Matt Busby's face when we won the title in '92. After 26 years of not winning the title, to get that back, and just seeing the enjoyment on everybody's face, especially myself as well. That was a great moment of my time at the club."
Robson, who won 90 caps for England, is happy to once again be involved with the club that meant so much to him.
"I have my ambassadorial role with Manchester United, so I'm working a lot around the club on match days, and also work a lot throughout the world with major sponsors of the club, so I am quite enjoying my role," he said.
"I do miss certain parts of management, especially after having been Thailand manager for a couple of years - that was very enjoyable and a great experience - but I am enjoying my role at Manchester United at the moment."
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