Chaos continues ahead of Manchester United v Man City friendly

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Football News

When Manchester United's pre-season friendly with Manchester City finally gets underway in Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium, it will bring an end to possibly the most farcical week in either Jose Mourinho's or Pep Guardiola's career. 

So desperate are both clubs to grab some of the new football fans in the People's Republic of China, club executives masterminded the first Manchester derby in history to take place outside of England.

But the tour has been marred with problems. In fact, even as we write now, 18 hours from kick-off, we are still unsure whether the game will be played or not.

Indeed, be it unrelenting heat or equally intense rain, the game's organisers have been pushed all the way to the brink and have not yet got themselves over the line. 

Needless to say, there are a lot of powerful people who want this game to happen, Ed Woodward being one of them and China's top football official, Ma Chengquan, another. But, as we have found out this week, no man is more powerful than mother nature. 


You may have heard that the pitch is pretty much unplayable at this moment in time. Incredible levels of torrential rain – the worst to hit Beijing in 60 years – have tested the groundsmen at the Bird's Nest Stadium to their absolute limits.

Neither team were allowed to train on the pitch on Saturday through fear of it cutting up. The forecast for tomorrow is better but more rain on Sunday left the pitch further drenched.

Hot off the press

Both teams were then moved to the nearby Olympic Sports Centre as a result of the unplayable pitch, where facilities were clearly not up to scratch. Sunday's pre-match press conference had to be moved outside because temperatures in the press room were reaching 40C.

And the severe heat is proving a worry for the club's medical staff. Temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-30s when the game kicks off on Monday evening, local time.

Diverted Flights

As a result of the severe weather, a flight carrying half of Manchester United's squad into Beijing had to be redirected to another airport which lies 75 minutes away from the capital. They didn't arrive at their team hotel until the early hours of the morning yet still had to be up to train the next day. Quite why the other plane landed safely, we simply don't know.

Smoking rooms

Manchester City players have had their own problems to deal with after a number of players complained that their hotel rooms smelled heavily of smoke. Those are some valuable lungs inside the players and the issue was taken seriously.

No one cares

Finally, it appears that the city of Beijing doesn't actually care that the Manchester derby is coming to town, quite possibly for the last time ever. Ticket sales have been very poor with only half of the 80,000-seater stadium set to be filled.

This was supposed to be the next big advert for Premier League football, stretching its reach to the biggest emerging market on the planet. However, it seems this event may have come at just the wrong time.

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Wayne Rooney
Premier League
Manchester City
Manchester United
Jose Mourinho

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