Manchester United have offered the use of facilities at Old Trafford to the National Health Service during the coronavirus pandemic.
Old Trafford has been placed on the reserve list to be used as a temporary blood donation centre for the local community, while the Manchester United Foundation’s 16-vehicle fleet has been put on standby with volunteer drivers available to support the NHS in the city.
On Wednesday, vehicles from the Foundation delivered more than 3,500 gifts to NHS staff in the area. Earlier in the week 30,000 food items were also delivered.
The club have also announced that staff members with a reduced workload are being encouraged to volunteer in various roles for the NHS in their local communities. Those staff members who volunteer will still be paid by the club in full.
United have also donated medical equipment, including protective equipment, to Salford Royal.
The club announced the measures in a statement on Thursday morning which included comment from former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who has first-hand experience of the NHS after suffering a brain haemorrhage in 2018.
He said: “I’m delighted we are now recognising the importance of our NHS – as I experienced two years ago after they saved my life – the response to this pandemic has been magnificent and has made me proud of the way the club and the British people have rallied round to help. Well Done.”
Current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thanked the NHS staff and the volunteers fighting the virus for the “truly amazing job” they are doing – sentiments echoed by club captain Harry Maguire.
The defender co-ordinated the United player response to the Players Together initiative announced on Wednesday and said: “On behalf of all the players, our thoughts are with all those that have been affected by this terrible virus.
“It has been heart-warming to see the nation come together to show their appreciation to the NHS and other critical workers.
“By working together we will get through this and let’s hope we are stronger for it.”