The Malta Independent 19 October 2019, Saturday

60 years of loyal support coming to fruition

Sunday, 15 September 2019, 11:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

Joseph Tedesco

Manchester United versus Wolves at Old Trafford on 22 September 2018 was the match when our proud PVC streamer 'Malta - 60 Years of Loyal Support' was first displayed in front of over 75,000 people at the Theatre of Dreams.

Being the oldest Manchester United Supporters' Club in the world, founded on 4 February 1959, nearly one year to the day after the Munich disaster, this year MUSC Malta had a historical milestone to celebrate - our 60th anniversary. Before last season kicked off, we asked permission to hang a streamer in the stadium to commemorate this anniversary.

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I cannot express in words the pride and joy we all felt when the highest authorities at Manchester United gave us the go-ahead to hang the streamer at Old Trafford. The nine-metre streamer, with 'MALTA' in bold white capital letters with a red outline on a black background hanging in the east stand, just above the away fans stand, has now been on display for a year. It has been captured so many times during live matches seen by millions all over the world and has been seen by thousands of people attending matches at Old Trafford as well as thousands of people taking the stadium tour during the past 12 months.

We are all so proud that, thanks to our Supporters' Club, we have promoted our lovely island in such a famous venue frequented and followed by so many millions of fans.

During the last season, we organised numerous events to celebrate our 60th anniversary in style. In September we kicked off the celebrations with a team of ex-United players who, thanks to the support from Valletta 2018 Foundation, came over to Malta for a friendly match against a team of ex-players of Valletta. All the proceeds from the game were donated to charity.

In January we organised a big dinner in Manchester, attended by an array of ex-Manchester United football legends and staff. Malta's Minister for Tourism, Dr Konrad Mizzi MP, and the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) were present on the night. It was an event intended to celebrate the history of our Supporters' Club and at the same time promote the beauty of Malta.

In May, we brought over to Malta the UEFA Europa League trophy, which means that all the trophies won by Manchester United since 1990 have now made the trip to Malta. The celebrations came to an end with a grand dinner at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta in June, for which 91 people from 13 different countries made their way to Malta, along with hundreds of local attendees.

To top all these achievements in what has been a memorable season for our Supporters' Club, the MTA, with the Visit Malta brand, has now reached a three-year agreement with Manchester United to be on the esteemed list of Global Partners of this famous football club. The promotion of Malta on one of the top most effective worldwide platforms, famous for promotion and advertising, is now being taken to a different level. The reference to Malta on the PVC streamer at Old Trafford will now shift to the digital boards during games and to the digital platform followed by millions of fans all around the world. Manchester United is officially the most popular football club in the world and teaming with the best says something about the ambitions of the MTA. This agreement is part of a long-term vision aimed at promoting our country in new territories.

The link between Manchester United and MUSC Malta was the foundation for this very high-profile partnership from which the country should reap a great many benefits. We are very honoured to have played our part in this historical achievement for our country. A huge round of applause goes to the Minister for Tourism, Dr Konrad Mizzi MP, the MTA and all the people who have worked so hard to negotiate and achieve this highly successful and fruitful outcome for our tourism industry.

 

Joseph Tedesco is the President of the Manchester United Supporters' Club, Malta


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