Friday 24 August 2012
Watch Peter Schmeichel take part in the Trophy Tour >>
The first appearance of the Barclays Premier League Trophy Tour was hailed a success by goalkeeping legend Peter Schmeichel after visiting the event in Manchester.
The Trophy Tour, which has been to nine locations across the Middle East and Asia, made its English debut with four days in Albert Square in the heart of the city centre, to mark the start of the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League campaign.
Just under 8,000 visitors came to experience the free family-friendly interactive event which not only gave fans the chance to view the iconic Premier League trophy, but also to take part in the numerous stalls and activities in the fan zone.
"It is an absolutely fantastic idea," said Schmeichel, who went through the Tour itself before signing autographs for fans and taking part in a question-and-answer session on the main stage.
"We do this for the fans. Without the fans this would be nothing. The Premier League would be nothing.
"We do this for the fans. Without them the Premier League would be nothing"
"But the fans never get to see the trophy, only when it is presented to the team, but here in the middle of Manchester, it is there, you can go and have a look, you can go and have your photograph taken. It's a magnificent idea."
Schmeichel was not the only star on show with former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Patrick Vieira also meeting supporters on Friday.
Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck and Everton forward Victor Anichebe came to Albert Square on Thursday and played each other at EA SPORTS FIFA 13, which was available for supporters to play exclusively before its release in the UK in late September.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore was one of 287 people to try their hand at being a newsreader in the Sky Sports News studio while Manchester City legend Mike Summerbee was the star on Saturday.
There were also plenty of acts for families to enjoy with the Manchester United Foundation Youth Choir, the Manchester City Kickz project dance troupe and Everton's street dance crew all performing.
"This is the first time the Premier League has taken its official Tour into the UK and I couldn't think of a better place than Manchester," said the Premier League's Head of Commercial Enterprises Tom Moore. "It is a lovely venue with the iconic Town Hall, a great location, and was easy for people to get to.
"The event itself is fantastic and then to get legends like Peter Schmeichel and Patrick Vieira here - and we were really lucky to have Danny Welbeck and Victor Anichebe come through on Thursday - is superb for the fans to see them and get up close because it’s not every day they get to do that."
The Barclays Trophy Tour is now in its third season and the Premier League is looking to take it to Africa, South Africa and New York with the possibility of a return to the United Kingdom in the future.
The Tour itself has four domes. The first is called the Changing Room, a fact-based tour through the history of the 20 Barclays Premier League Clubs which gave fans the chance compare themselves to the Barclays Premier League stars.
"It was fantastic to see the players giving their time"
Michael, Man Utd fan
After checking their height against that of the competition's tallest defenders such as Fulham's Brede Hangeland, they could compare their arm span to Petr Cech, and their shoe size to the likes of Andy Carroll and Aaron Lennon.
In the Centre Circle dome supporters experienced the noise and excitement of a match day before learning all about the winning teams and captains of the Premier League.
The Barclays Premier League Trophy was on display in the Trophy Room dome, while in the final part of the Tour, fans were able to get a picture of themselves lifting the Trophy with the help of green screen technology.
"It's brilliant and I really enjoyed it," said Michael, a Manchester United fan from Oldham. "The best bit was going to see the trophy and looking at all the history. It was a chance for us to get close to it, which we don't normally get.
"It was fantastic to see everybody having fun and to see some of the players giving their time."
Sarah, a Manchester City fan, added: "It's great for the kids and all fans really.
"I would love to see it again. I really liked the Tour and looking at all the shirts and the fact you can actually have your photo taken with the Premier League Trophy."
To discover where the Barclays Trophy Tour is visiting next, keep an eye on the official website: www.bpltrophytour.com