Wed, Jul 23, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Man Utd and Celtic about to put on an exhibition in the US

AP , SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

British soccer giant Manchester United can go anywhere and still get plenty of vocal support.

That's true even in the US, where soccer isn't the top choice of many sports fans, but Manchester United is sure to be welcomed as it opens a four-game US exhibition tour today against Scotland's Glasgow Celtic.

"It's going to be a fantastic night for the fans who don't get the chance to see Manchester United and Celtic all the time," Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson said Monday. "It should be a good game."

Soccer, of course, isn't as popular in America as the NFL, baseball or the NBA. The game at Seahawks Stadium is Manchester United's first in the US since a 1982 exhibition at Seattle's Kingdome.

Imagine a team with the tradition and finances of the New York Yankees, the Hollywood flash of the Los Angeles Lakers and the love-hate following of the Dallas Cowboys.

That's Manchester United, the champion of England's Premier League. The boys in red, playing their first game since England captain David Beckham was sold to Real Madrid, are hoping to win the hearts -- and wallets -- of American sports fans. Manchester United recently signed a 13-year marketing partnership with Nike, along with the team's four-year run with Pepsi and a one-year deal with Anheuser Busch.

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