Sir Bobby Charlton Visits MCMA
Sir Bobby Charlton visited Manchester Creative and Media Academy in Blackley recently to launch an official partnership with Manchester United Foundation as part of the club charity’s Partner Schools programme.
The Academy, part of the Co-operative Academies Trust, is the 13th school to join the programme, which bases a full-time coach there to work with pupils and within the local community to build lasting relationships and reputations.
Joining Sir Bobby at the launch of the partnership was his wife, Lady Norma and the couple met with excited staff and students before taking a seat in the school’s auditorium. There they watched performances from the school choir, a Year 7 boys’ dance group, as well as an individual lyrical dance, before being invited to celebrate the partnership with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque. Foundation coach Chris Dearden, who is based full-time at the Academy, took the opportunity to introduce the couple to a group of promising students who have recently completed a Junior Football Leaders award. Sir Bobby presented certificates to the young leaders, who on a three-day course had been taught the communication and organisation skills requisite to a career in coaching sport.
The United legend also met youngsters who had recently attended a Show Racism the Red Card workshop, led by first-teamer Luke Shaw at the Aon Training Complex. And Sir Bobby was extremely pleased to hear about the exploits of the Year 8 boys’ football team, who had recently won the Manchester schools trophy.
Ali, a 16-year-old MCMA pupil, was among those to meet United’s record goalscorer and explained what the visit meant to him and his classmates. “Meeting Sir Bobby was an amazing feeling as I’m a United fan, and I just never thought I’d get to meet such a legend. I’ve been really lucky,” he said.
Headteacher Rebecca Smith described having Sir Bobby visit the school as an “absolutely unique and quite unbelievable” experience. She added: “To have such a legend in our school, and to see him being so relaxed and talking to the children, really epitomises all we’re trying to build in young people today. “To be working with an organisation such as the Foundation is really important; the idea that when we talk about excellence, when we talk about high aspiration, happiness and success, all those things are what the Foundation stands for. We’ve also been able to give our pupils unique opportunities; not many people can say they have met Sir Bobby, so this is a really big occasion for us.”