23 July 2013

Home and away: children with disabilities go to a Man Utd match

This article was first published in the Bangkok Post on 23 July 2013.

Pichit and other children respond to a near miss by Man Utd
© UNICEF Thailand/2013/Jingjai N.
Among the 60,000 football fans packing out Rajamangala National Stadium for a Manchester United football match last weekend were 36 children with intellectual disabilities. The atmosphere was buzzing. Many fans arrived in the club’s trademark shirts, waving balloons, scarves and banners.  The children, who were invited to the game by the Manchester United Foundation and UNICEF, had only seen the football stars on TV, and were among the most enthusiastic in the audience.

“It’s fun to be here,” Pichit Panachai, 17, said at half time. “This is my first time to be really here. It’s more exciting than watching on TV. I want to see number 18 [Ashley Young] score!”