Fans in Singapore see red over the cold Red Devils

Manchester United, arguably the most popular club in the world, rolled into town last night for this weekend's International Champions Cup (ICC).

But, while the reception from the fans was red hot, the Red Devils themselves blew cold.

As if acting on authority, players and staff alighted the team bus at about 8.10pm and shuffled past about 150 fans inside the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore hotel and down a flight of stairs before they disappeared.

Midfielder Juan Mata was the only one to stop, albeit for a selfie with one fan and an autograph on a fan's United memorabilia. Others, like forward Romelu Lukaku and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, mustered just about enough effort to wave as they walked past.

Manchester United fans that The New Paper spoke to were bitterly disappointed.

Said Tristan Loh, 23, an army regular, who was with about 100 people who had to settle for a spot outside the hotel, along Raffles Avenue: "A lot of us were rejected by security from even going outside the lobby area to wait.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer alighting from the team bus at the Ritz-Carlton.
PHOTO: The New Paper

SO UPSET

"This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most of us to see the players up close and we are so upset. The pull that this club have is massive. It is an international brand.

"I took leave to come down today just to see them. Getting rejected was the last thing any of us expected."

The Red Devils last played in Singapore in 2001 and TNP understands that the English Premier League club had instructed security to ensure the media was not allowed into the hotel as well as to keep fans at a distance.

Fans who had waited for the arrival of players from Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan at the Mandarin Oriental hotel and JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach respectively were able to walk away with memorable selfies and autographs.

Yoshi Kano, a Japanese Singapore American School student, said: "I came to get a glimpse of the players because when PSG (Paris Saint-Germain) and previously Arsenal were here, my friends and I were able to get photos with the players and even have our shirts signed.

"But today, we could only stand by the road and wave at the bus."

Paul Pogba arriving at the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore hotel.
PHOTO: The New Paper

Inside the hotel, the crowd favourite - despite his public wishes to leave - was French superstar Paul Pogba.

Elliot Yong, 18, a Hwa Chong Institution student, who with his friends had come prepared with flags, scarves and caps, said: "There is so much talk of Pogba possibly leaving but I am really looking forward to watching him in action.

"This could be one of the last few times we see him with United and I will be really sad if he leaves. There is no denying that he really is a world-class player and you can see that from all the fans who are here to see him."

United face Inter in the pre-season exhibition tournament tomorrow, before Juventus and Tottenham play a day later. The United game is sold out while tickets for the Spurs game are selling fast.

This article was first published inĀ The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.