chaos surrounding the cancellation of Monday’s Manchester derby in
Beijing will not deter either club from touring the Far East in future,
according to United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and his City
counterpart Ferran Soriano.
The game was called off less than five hours before kick-off due to the
awful state of the pitch at the Bird’s Nest Stadium following overnight
It highlighted the problem of playing pre-season games during the rainy
season here after United and City both experienced severe problems with
the pitch on their visit to Hong Kong three years ago.
However, the huge commercial spin-offs in China make it more than
worthwhile. United have an estimated 110million fans here, while City’s
decision to sell a 13 percent stake in their parent company to a group
of Chinese investors for ￡265m in December underlined their bold plans
in the Far East.
‘I am sure we will return to the Bird’s Nest in the future to give them
the chance to see the team in action.’
While United flew home from China on Monday, City will carry on to
Shenzhen, where they meet Borussia Dortmund on Thursday.
Soriano, City’s chief executive, said: ‘We know how much everyone was
looking forward to the game, but we understand that this bad weather is
beyond anyone’s control, and that the rain has made it totally unsafe to
play on this pitch.
City supporter Sun Zhenbo, who had travelled 700 miles from Suihua,
added: ‘We have come to Beijing especially for this. I don’t know how
this has happened. We cannot accept it. It took us eight hours by train
to get here and then we walked for two hours from Tiananmen Square to
get to the stadium.’
The bad weather also forced United’s team flight to divert to Tianjin on
Saturday night, while Jose Mourinho’s pre-match press conference was
initially scrapped and then moved outside because of the intense