MOTHERWELL will play Manchester United at Fir Park next month to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Sir Matt Busby's birth.
Busby, the former United manager, was born in Bellshill in May 1909, and yesterday North and South Lanarkshire Councils launched the Sir Matt Busby Shield. The match will take place on Sunday 6 September, the day after Scotland take on Macedonia in a World Cup qualifying match at Hampden.
Many Old Trafford players will be otherwise engaged on an international weekend, but the English Premier League champions have promised to send north as strong a reserve team as possible. "As the match will be played on a Fifa designated international weekend, none of Manchester United's international players will be available but the club is committed to bringing its strongest reserve squad to Motherwell for the special challenge match and looks forward to a competitive game to mark such an important occasion," said a United spokesman. "The squad for the game will be announced by the club during the week of the match itself."
The Sir Matt Busby Scholarship programme was also announced yesterday – a scheme that will provide free coaching education for adults and youths in the Lanarkshire community. All profits generated from the Sir Matt Busby Shield will be invested into the scholarship.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: "Manchester United is delighted that Lanarkshire, the area where Sir Matt Busby was born 100 years ago, has decided to honour him by the introduction of a scholarship scheme in his memory.
"Manchester United's status in world football is rooted in the achievements of Sir Matt in bringing domestic and European glory to the club and doing so in the face of one of the greatest tragedies experienced by any club in the history of the game. Sir Matt Busby will always be revered by this club and his memory will always be cherished by those millions who support Manchester United across the globe. It is fitting therefore that the club should participate in the forthcoming friendly fixture with Motherwell which has, as its singular purpose, the raising of funds to support the work of Lanarkshire in establishing the Sir Matt Busby Scholarship Fund."
Tickets for the Motherwell-United match are on sale now and can be purchased via the event website www.visitlanarkshire.com. Tickets for the game will be priced at 12 for adults, 6 for juveniles and 20 for a family ticket (1 x adult and 2 x children).
"Motherwell is delighted to be involved in this hugely exciting Matt Busby scholarship initiative," added Fir Park chairman John Boyle. "The club is at the heart of Lanarkshire's footballing heritage and is known for and committed to nurturing young talent. We look forward to an exciting match with Manchester United to launch this programme which will benefit Lanarkshire in so many ways."