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Manchester United take a squad of 80 on tour of the United States

Manchester United have taken a touring party of 80 on their tour of the United States.

The party, 25 of which are playing staff, includes members of the Manchester United management and coaching staff, club officials and ambassadors, kit men, medical staff, PR personnel, a chef, website personnel, club photographers and even the Old Trafford matchday announcer!

Alan Keegan is the man on the mike at the Theatre of Dreams on matchdays and he was present as United launched their new away kit at Seattle's Nike store last Friday. Manchester United mascot Fred the Red was also in attendance, though the privilage of being inside the costume went to a member of United's US supporters club.

The size of the touring party is a reflection of how seriously Manchester United take their commercial and sponsorship obligations in America. The five-city tour is seen as a great example to market the club to an ever-growing audience of potential fans, interest in the game across the pond has received another boost following the US Womens team reaching last weekend's World Cup Final.

It's the 12th time that United have made the trip to the United States, Sir Alex Ferguson clearly preferring the opportunity to go Stateside rather than making the trip to the Far East.

"This is a great country," the Manchester United boss said.

"The great thing about the US is that we feel comfortable here. There are no issues here for us at all. The food's good, and you can walk about with freedom. Where we usually go, the Far East and places like that, it becomes a bit claustrophobic at times - but we have to go because we've got so many fans there.

"But we're really enjoying it over here. And the facilities at the Seattle stadium [and] the training ground, are just unbelievable."

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