Football-mad students from John Willmott School were in soccer heaven recently – when they paid an inspirational visit to the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.
Manchester United got in touch with the school in Reddicap Heath Road to offer free tickets for their Europa League fixture against Kazakhstani club FC Astana at the end of September, and staff were quick to accept to arrange an ‘away day’ pupils would remember.
A coachload of 12 excited students and three staff headed for Old Trafford to watch the club’s first European tie of the season.
“It was a fantastic night,” said headteacher Tracey Peters, “the group started off with traditional fish and chips before the long drive up to Manchester, and the atmosphere was great.
“When they got there the students had fabulous seats and enjoyed watching the home team win and progress to the next round of the competition. The students arrived home late but exhausted after a night they won’t forget.”
The game proved inspirational for the students, many of whom are aspiring footballers, when 18-year-old United player Mason Greenwood scored the winner – and his first professional goal – for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
“When they got there the students had fabulous seats and enjoyed watching the home team win and progress to the next round of the competition. The students arrived home late but exhausted after a night they won’t forget,”
– headteacher Tracey Peters
“Several of our students who went play for successful local teams,” Mrs Peters said, “and some of them are part of the youth programmes for the big West Midlands clubs – so it was wonderful for them to watch an 18-year-old score and win the match for Manchester United, who fielded a very youthful team in the game.
“I think it was a night they’ll remember for a very long time, and we are very grateful to the club for their generosity.”
John Willmott School is part of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP) a multi-academy trust of 14 schools and one teaching school in Birmingham, North Warwickshire and Staffordshire.