South Africa

United for sale: On tour with the champions’ circus, July 2008

With eye-watering debts, the Premier League goliaths are wearily peddling their star names to crack new markets…only to find children in South African townships wearing fake kit, with no cash for match-tickets – and wooed by rivals they can see on TV for free. The Mail on Sunday went on the road with Manchester United’s travelling circus in South Africa.

  • In an African township, Roto Seleke, 11, kicks a ball around in the dirt.. Kate Holt.
  • Wayne Rooney, from Manchester United, signs autographs for young fans after a pre match practise. Kate Holt.
  • A face painter paints Manchester United logos onto fans faces before the opening game. Kate Holt.
  • Manchester United supporters arrive at the opening game of the Vodacom Challenge series in Cape Town. Kate Holt.
  • Manchester United supporters arrive at the opening game of the Vodacom Challenge series in Cape Town. Kate Holt.
  • Manchester United supporters arrive at the opening game of the Vodacom Challenge series in Cape Town. Kate Holt.
  • Manchester United supporters arrive at the opening game of the Vodacom Challenge series in Cape Town. Kate Holt.
  • Fans cheer as Manchester United score their only goal, during the opening game. Kate Holt.
  • Fans cheer, with Table Mountain in the background, as Manchester United score. Kate Holt.
  • Gary Neville, the captain of Manchester United, talks to a young fan. Kate Holt.
  • Danny Simpson, defender for Manchester United, signs autographs the day after the opening game. Kate Holt.
  • A young Manchester United fan watches through the barricade at a training practise of the team. Kate Holt.
  • Fraizer Campbell, from Manchester United signs autographs after a training session. Kate Holt.
  • The Cape Sun newspaper advertises the arrival of Manchester United to Cape Town. Kate Holt.
  • Fans in Cape Town were offered the chance to win a signed Manchester United T shirt. Kate Holt.
  • Manchester United supporters arrive at the opening game of the Vodacom Challenge series in Cape Town. Kate Holt.
  • Michael Carrick and Ben Foster of Manchester United, the defending champions. Kate Holt.
  • Carlos Tevez from Manchester United during the opening game of the Vodacom Challenge series. Kate Holt.
  • Carlos Tevez from Manchester United, signs the shirt of a young fan. Kate Holt.
  • Michael Carrick signs Manchester United items for fans in a sports shop in a shopping centre in Cape Town. Kate Holt.
  • Young boys practise football in a public football ground wearing fake Manchester United merchandise. Kate Holt.
  • Young boys practise football in a public football ground wearing fake Manchester United merchandise. Kate Holt.
  • Ryan Giggs, Manchester United's longest serving player, autographs T Shirts. Kate Holt.
  • Ryan Giggs, Manchester United's longest serving player, autographs T Shirts for fans. Kate Holt.
  • Tomasz Kuszczak, Goalkeeper for Manchester United, signs T Shirts for fans outside Vodaworld. Kate Holt.
  • Ryan Giggs from Manchester United signs autographs for fans outside Vodaworld, in Johannesburg. Kate Holt.
  • Ryan Giggs from Manchester United, talks to Richard, a blind boy. Kate Holt.