Manchester United and England defender Chris Smalling was announced as an FBB patron in February and since then he’s already made a huge impact on the lives of many young people on our FBB Schools programme in the North West. Over the last few months, Chris has provided tickets to watch Manchester United at Old Trafford for FBB participants, many of whom had never been to the stadium before. On Saturday 30th March, it was the turn of six young people from Ladybridge High in Bolton.
On a sunny day in Manchester, the six FBB participants were delighted to be given the chance to watch Manchester United’s 2-1 victory against Watford. Before the game, FBB participant and Manchester United fan Felix was particularly excited, as Saturday’s game would be the first time he had seen his beloved United at Old Trafford. Taking over FBB’s Instagram story, 13 year old Felix said: “Thanks so much to our patron Chris Smalling. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be here. I remember meeting him just a couple of months ago (at the FBB North West Launch), standing next to him and talking to him about Man United vs PSG. Now here I am, at Old Trafford for the first time in my life because of him!”
For many people, watching live football may be a normal experience, but for Felix it was a day he will never forget. FBB Project Lead Nuh Hakim-Okomi explains: “The visit to Old Trafford was actually life changing for some. Their obsession for football is real but they have never really had that tangible experience. With most of them actually being migrants in Bolton, an experience in a magnificent stadium like Old Trafford shows them that life is bigger than Bolton. I’ve never seen a bunch of kids go from 0 to 100 just from the sight of a stadium and to then maintain that same excitement and energy through the whole day. It was a great experience and I’m sure they’ll remember it for the rest of their lives – and that’s why FBB do what we do.”
With Smalling expertly marshalling the United defence, the result never looked in doubt despite United conceding a late goal. After the game, Felix was ecstatic: “Today was the best day of my life, and FBB made it happen.”
Watch the video below to see Felix celebrating one of United’s goals:
— FBB (@FBeyondBorders) March 30, 2019