Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Suite Dreams - facilities for disabled fans at Old Trafford

Special commemorative publication celebrates unique facilities

Manchester United players have helped Manchester United Disabled Supporters Association (MUDSA) launch a special commemorative publication that celebrates the tenth anniversary opening of the Ability Suite match day lounge at Old Trafford in 2003.

Phil Jones, Wayne Rooney, Phil Downs MBE (MUDSA), Shinji Kagawa and Ashley Young 

This unique facility has an adapted kiosk with a low level counter, accessible toilets and large TV screens. Warm and comfortable is the only way to describe the environment that it provides for pre, mid and post-match relaxation and analysis. The Suite is sited directly behind the main disabled supporters viewing area in the south-east quadrant of the Theatre of Dreams.

The foundation of the Ability Suite is in the formation of MUDSA in December 1989. The association is supported both financially, and spiritually by the football club, and is the first of its kind in the world. Since 1989, the partnership has meant that facilities for wheelchair users, visually impaired fans and ambulant supporters have improved beyond recognition. 

10 Years of the Ability Suite is 36 pages in length and is full-colour throughout with some great photographs. MUDSA members, of all ages, speak fondly of the facility and of an organisation that means so much to them, and their families, in helping them to be more independent and self-confident, whilst also aiding the development of new, lasting friendships.

The comments of away fans are also included with many wishing their own clubs could develop similar facilities. An interview with United director David Gill reveals the warmth the club feel for their disabled supporters and SUITE DREAMS is peppered throughout with comments from players, past and present, on their relationship with MUDSA.

United forward Ashley Young said, “It is great to see the commemorative booklet and to realise that the facilities for disabled people at Old Trafford are so impressive. Let’s hope we can see them get even better in the future”.

A copy of 10 Years of the Ability Suite, the contents for which was co-ordinated by football author Mark Metcalf, can be downloaded from:-

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