Manchester United commemorated the 20th anniversary of them winning the unprecedented continental treble in 1999 by hosting a reunion match versus their Champions League opponents of that year Bayern Munich, in aid of the Manchester United Foundation last Sunday
Even in the off-season it was all eyes on Old Trafford once again, with BT Sport providing full coverage for those not lucky enough to be in the 60,000-plus attendance at the Theatre of Dreams. 60,000. That’s a greater possible attendance than all but two other Premier League teams at full capacity.
It seems that, despite an extremely disappointing season that has ended trophyless and at least a year without Champions League while fierce rivals stroll around the parapet of the very top of the Premier League, United are still box-office. The pulling power of the unparalleled 20-time English league champions is unmatched.
After a brief summer reprieve for the Red Devils, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes his team on a pre-season tour ahead of the 2019/20 campaign, beginning with a trip down to Australia.
United will first play A-League Premier side Perth Glory, recently defeated in the Grand Final by Sydney FC, on July 13 at Perth’s Optus Stadium home.
They then take on Leeds United four days later on July 17 at the same venue.
One of the fiercest historical rivalries in England, the last time the two sides met back in September 2011 in the third round of the League Cup with United running out 3-0 winners at Elland Road, courtesy of three first half goals in which Michael Owen provided a brace.
This year, Leeds reached the Championship play-off semi-finals under Marcelo Bielsa, with the Whites ultimately unable to join Man Utd in the top tier after being knocked out by Frank Lampard’s Derby County over the two legs of the play-off semi-final.
Following that meeting in western Australia, United travel up to Singapore to play Serie A outfit Inter Milan at the National Stadium in the first of two back-to-back International Champions Cup games. The fixture is due to take play on July 20. It is expected that United will be facing an old foe in the form of ex-Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. Conte is set to replace outgoing nerazzurri coach Luciano Spalletti who is looking likely to depart the San Siro after two seasons.
It’s not the last team from Milan United will face on their pre-season travels but before that there’s a visit to Shanghai to take on Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur on July 25. Spurs finished five points and two places above Man Utd in 18/19 with a manager reportedly long coveted by both the Red Devils’ hierarchy and a good portion of the fanbase, Mauricio Pochettino.
However, it’s back half-way round the world to seemingly honour the current gaffer’s heritage. On July 30 Utd will be playing against Ole’s hometown team of Kristiansund BK - currently hovering in the top half of the Eliteserien - in the Norwegian capital Oslo, at the Ullevaal Stadium. Similarly, the United women’s team will also be competing in Norway, facing Valerenga at the same venue a day later.
The glitz and glamour of Oz, the Far East, and Scandinavia continues as Manchester United finally arrive in… South Wales. AC Milan awaits in the final game of both the International Champions Cup to conclude United’s pre-season tour, at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, on August 3. Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan provided the opposition last summer, in a 1-1 ICC draw at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California that led to an excruciatingly long penalty shoot-out.
The new 2019/20 Premier League season will commence on and around August 10 2019 and the full list of Man Utd pre-season fixtures are below.
vs Perth Glory (Optus Stadium, Perth) - July 13
vs Leeds United (Optus Stadium, Perth) - July 17
vs Inter Milan (National Stadium, Singapore) - July 20
vs Tottenham Hotspur (Hongkou Stadium, Shanghai) - July 25
vs Kristiansund (Ullevaal Stadium, Oslo) - July 30
vs AC Milan (Principality Stadium, Cardiff) - August 3