Manchester United have dressed up Old Trafford with stunning banners and a mosaic ahead of Wednesday's clash with Sheffield United, while executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has also sent a message to Red Devils fans.
United were held to a 1-1 draw by Tottenham in their first game back after the restart on Friday, but will be looking to pick up all three points against Sheffield United - who currently sit just two points behind them coming into the midweek game.
Ahead of the game, United took to their official Twitter account to post a beautiful and striking video of Old Trafford, with banners and a mosaic in place. United note on their official website that more than 40,000 fans from over 190 countries have sent in digital images of themselves to help create a 'giant mosaic' of fan faces.
The Red Devils will also have banners baring powerful messages. ‘United for the Heroes’ will be displayed as they look to show support for the frontline workers who have risked their lives during the global pandemic. There are also messages of 'United Against Racism' and acknowledgements to the fans who, of course, cannot attend.
One of the banners in the Stretford End will read 'Football is nothing without fans' - a famous quote from Sir Matt Busby. Equally, another banner will have the words 'We can't wait to welcome you home to Old Trafford.'
Old Trafford is ready for its first game in 107 days pic.twitter.com/w0RrfTtNPM— The Man Utd Way (@TheManUtdWay) June 23, 2020
Executive vice-chairman Woodward has also shared his thoughts on the unique situation in United's official match programme (as quoted by United's official website). Woodward was keen to send out a message to all fans that the club 'can't wait' for the stadium to be filled with supporters when it is safe to do so.
"Emotions are mixed as we welcome Sheffield United to Old Trafford," Woodward wrote. "While everyone at Manchester United is excited to be getting back to playing football, we regret that our fans cannot be in the stadium, and recognise these are difficult times for many people around the world.
“As a club, we say ‘thank you’ tonight through the ‘United for the Heroes’ banner displayed in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, as well as the NHS logo on the players’ shirts. You will also see powerful anti-racism messages, on the players’ shirts and in the stands, and we are proud to be uniting with our players and the rest of the Premier League behind this crucial cause.
“Diversity, inclusion and the fight against racism are at the core of our values as a club whose support spans racial and cultural boundaries. This has been a long-standing commitment from the club as part of our All Red All Equal campaign and our support for groups such as Kick It Out.
“We hope the mosaic will provide inspiration to the team as a reminder of the hundreds of millions cheering them on from home. As a banner in the Stretford End tonight declares, quoting Sir Matt Busby, 'football is nothing without fans', and we can’t wait for you to return to Old Trafford as soon as it is safe to do so."
Woodward went on to state once again that the 'realities' of the coronavirus pandemic should not be ignored, but explained that the club can come through with 'strength intact'.
Source : 90min