Manchester United stars reveal why they fell in love with Melbourne as they lead calls for English Premier League teams to stage more games in Australia’s sporting capital
- Manchester United played in front of 74,000 spectators at the MCG on Friday
- Almost 80,000 fans are expected to watch the game against Crystal Palace
- The United players are hoping to return to Melbourne soon after the great reception
- Leeds and Aston Villa are also on tour in Australia this winter
Around 74,000 fans watched United’s 4-1 win over Melbourne Victory at the MCG on Friday, with around 80,000 expected at the same venue when United meet crystal palace on Tuesday.
Over the years, Australia has been a relatively common pre-season destination First League Clubs and United players want to return as soon as possible.
United players have enjoyed their stay in Melbourne and have spoken enthusiastically about the welcome they have received so far in Australia’s sporting capital
For United, this tour is their second visit to Australia in four years – they played two games in Perth in 2019 – but a first in Melbourne since 1999.
Almost a quarter of a century elapsed between United’s last visit to Melbourne in 1999 and this tour – United’s last visit to Australia was three years ago when they played twice in Perth
This winter, the Premier League giants are in Australia for the first time in three years and in Melbourne for the first time since 1999.
The prospect of a game outside of England at any point during the season remains slim – at least until Cardiff or Swansea return to the top flight – but could Melbourne host a pre-season game every year?
United have held their away kit presentation in Melbourne and Scott McTominay (right) has backed the possibility of holding pre-season games in the city each year
Marcus Rashford seemed open to the idea.
“The facilities were good, the stadium was nice, the fans were supportive and there was an atmosphere everywhere we went,” said the England international The Herald Sun.
“Well, if it were possible, I would say yes. Bring some more games here.
United played Melbourne Victory in front of 74,000 fans at the MCG on Friday
Fans flocked to Melbourne from different parts of Australia to see United in action
This year is United’s first trip to Australia since 2019 when they played in Perth
United midfielder Scott McTominay struck a similar tone, saying the possibility of hosting an annual pre-season game in Melbourne is definitely one to explore.
“Yes, of course,” he said. “The fans are crazy, they are more than capable of hosting a few more games with the fan capacity in the stadiums. We are just so blessed and excited to have so many people supporting us and we are so grateful.
Like some of their Premier League peers, United travel to a different destination each year for pre-season. This winter alone, the Red Devils played Liverpool in Thailand before heading to Victoria.
Since then, the Reds have played Palace in Singapore before returning to Europe for two games in Germany. The Eagles have since moved on to Australia and have joined a trio of Premier League clubs including Aston Villa, Leeds and United.
United players have spoken about how welcoming the Australian crowd has been so far
Bruno Fernandes was among the United players and said he hopes to return to Melbourne for a pre-season game as soon as possible
Leeds United and Aston Villa faced off on the Gold Coast on Saturday
Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton and Arsenal, meanwhile, are all on duty in the United States.
However, Melbourne have made a huge impression on United.
“Obviously there are so many countries and places that want to see us and it’s good for us to go to different places,” said star midfielder Bruno Fernandes.
“But Melbourne was really nice for us, the stadium was amazing.”