Sir Alex Ferguson previewed the upcoming DHL tour in an exclusive interiew with MUTV...
This is the fourth time you’ve taken a team to South Africa – is it a country you look forward to visiting?
Yes it’s a great country and the games we have over there have been competitive and we have a great fan-base over there. It’ll be a good start for us on the tour and it’s something I’m looking forward to.
Then it's on to China, is the welcome United get in the Far East something very unique?
It’s something we’re well used to now. I remember my first trip to the Far East in ’89 when we played in Thailand and Japan and it was exactly like that. The fans were all over the hotel, running through the corridors and waiting for us outside the hotel all through the night – it was quite amazing. We played two games in Japan, one in Kobe and one in Tokyo and at the time Japan was more leaning towards baseball and American football was also starting to catch on. But when we played in the National Stadium we got a full house and the impact of Manchester United in the Far East is absolutely amazing. I think it will always be that way because the history of our club has infiltrated into the fans over there for life. That’s what happens with any fans when you start supporting a team as a kid. It gets passed down generations and I think you’ll get a really consistent base of United fans in the Far East for years to come.
How much are looking forward to spending some time in Shanghai?
I must say every time I’ve been to China I’ve really enjoyed it. I think it’s an amazing place and it’s quite stunning how they’ve progressed. I remember the last time we went to Shanghai we went to a duck restaurant that seated 2,000 people! Every course was duck which was amazing. Alec Wylie [kitman] doesn’t eat duck so he was on bread all night! [Laughs]. I find China a really interesting country.
Does the presence of Drogba and Anelka in Shanghai Shenhua’s squad add extra spice to the fixture in China?
Absolutely. It might be the first time the Chinese fans have seen Drogba when we play them and I must say it’s a boost for us to see Drogba leaving Chelsea! He scored that fantastic goal against us in the FA Cup final [in 2007] with just a few minutes to go and his goalscoring in finals and big games is incredible. As far as I’m concerned he won the Cup [the Champions League] for Chelsea. He scored that header with just a few minutes to go and only Drogba, with his record and his ability to score in big games, could have done that.