Woke up 40 minutes early this morning because I slept so well last night. Our beds at this hotel are comfy!!! Too bad we only have two nights here. I got up refreshed and ready to go to ManU, but first we ate a delicious little breakfast in the lobby of our hotel. Since we didn’t get lunch today, I wish I would have stuffed food in my pockets. #hindsight
Manchester United was just 3 minutes from our hotel. We had a tour and then got to talk with an employee about their social media afterward. The tour was self-guided throughout several rooms of trophies (SO many trophies), memorabilia, jerseys and photos of old players. I didn’t know what any of it meant, but I could appreciate that it is very important to the millions of ManU fans. I’m a diehard Sooner fan, so I could at least understand the passion behind the fans walking the museum. There was a little boy and his dad walking around wearing matching jerseys and the little boy was calling out names of players remembered on the walls and rattling off statistics and numbers. He reminded me of Trey talking about OU.
ManU just won the FA Cup the weekend we were in Paris, they hired a new manager this last week and Old Trafford (the stadium) had a bomb threat, that ended up being false, a few weeks ago. This was the perfect time to talk with their social media team. Before we got to that, we had a tour of the stadium by two lovely gentlemen. We went in the press conference room, the VIP lounge, the locker room, the tunnel the players walk out in (we lined up like the teams and they played the music the players walk out too) and the original players’ tunnel. We were all over Old Trafford and I was eating it up. When I found out we were getting a tour, I told Trey because he knows a thing or two about football/soccer. I think he was a little jealous, so I made sure to take tons of video on my camera as well as Snapchat him through the entire thing. It was like he was there! I hope. Old Trafford’s pitch (field) was gorgeous and looked smaller in person than on TV. Watching football on TV makes the pitch look SO huge, but it’s just like an American football field.
We went into this classroom to talk with one of the three employees on the social media team. She was very cool and a diehard ManU fan. I didn’t know this, but ManU has the largest fanbase in football because of the Asian market. When they had David Beckham on the team, they used his image to launch campaigns in Asian markets and it exploded. Half of their fanbase is from Asia and only 90 million fans are from the UK. The way she talked about the brand stuck out to me because it was different from the American mentality. In football, they are so concerned about what a player will tweet or say online because it will tarnish the brand if it is not a tasteful or appropriate comment. I think in America there isn’t as much concern about how a player represents a team. I think when someone messes up, we associate it with their character, not the entire team’s. In football, that is very different from what I could tell.
Like I said at the beginning, we had to skip lunch and the gift shop (for now) to get to BBC North in time. Manchester is known as Media City because there are many media companies here along the river. ITV has an office here and I think it’s where they film Britain’s longest running and most popular soap opera, Coronation Street. We got a tour of BBC’s radio 5 and sports offices. I always love seeing the sports area and part of me wishes that I would’ve done sports journalism. Sports PR is always an option and the journalism field is so integrated that I could always find a job doing something in sports journalism. We also saw the station for CBeebies (eee!), which is the BBC’s young children’s program. I LOVE the name CBeebies. There is nothing cuter than that on this earth. We met one of the show hosts and the puppeteer. There is a dog that is the co-presenter, but he’s a puppet, so we met the puppeteer. The sets were so cool and so tiny! They were colorful and, apparently, very iconic. The guide said that people will write the station when they changed a little part of the set or if something is out of place. People are crazy about the sets staying the same.
After the BBC, we had a late lunch at a little café, went back to Manchester United’s gift shop and then went back to the hotel to load all of our pictures onto our laptops and relax for a bit. One of our teachers decided that we would go to downtown for dinner, even though none of us were really very hungry. It was nice to see a little more of Manchester before we leave. We found this shop called Oklahoma!!! We asked the employee why it was called that and she said it used to be called OK Home and they changed it to Oklahoma. We were like, “We’re from the real Oklahoma!!!” It was so funny and the employee may have been slightly scared at our enthusiasm. When you haven’t been in your home state for two weeks, you tend to be a little over enthusiastic when talking about it to strangers. Oklahoma was super cute and I actually really loved it, so we spent a good amount of time there before wandering off to find some food. A few girls and I found this cute tea room to have tea and scones for dinner. It was way yummier (and cheaper!) than Harrod’s. I got a great Instagram post out of it, which is kind of why we chose it in the first place… After we ate, we found our way back to the bus without getting lost, which is a really great accomplishment, and made our way back to the hotel. All we did on the bus was laugh…which is not abnormal for us. I love this group.
We made it back to the room ready for bed. We need to get to bed early anyway since we have to be on the bus at 7 (!!!) a.m. tomorrow morning. So, I’ll end it here because I need to pack and get ready to sleep in my heavenly bed again.
Manchester United was unreal