Greater Western Sydney Head Coach Kevin Sheedy has invited Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson to visit the GIANTS during his trip to Australia next July.
Sheedy extended the invitation during a meeting with Sir Alex at Old Trafford as part of a fact finding mission by the GIANTS to the world's most famous sporting club.
"I want to thank Sir Alex in particular for the chance to meet because I have always admired him from afar. Between us we have more than 50 years experience coaching in our respective leagues and I hope to return the favour next year," Sheedy said.
"He was not only very generous with his time but very personable and we canvassed a range of subjects from coaching to player development and recruiting. We even chatted about horse racing and I gave him a couple of bottles of Australian red wine, a Sherrin and a GIANTS jumper as a way of thanking him."
Sheedy and GIANTS CEO David Matthews met a number of club officials during their visit and also attended last weekend's derby between Manchester United and Manchester City.
"It's been a great opportunity for us to visit Manchester United and be able to look at what makes it such a powerhouse" Matthews said.
"The Manchester Derby is arguably the fiercest rivalry in world sport right now and it was great opportunity to observe it up close. We need to build our rivalries, particularly against the Swans in Australia's biggest city.
"We looked at a number of aspects of Manchester United's operations from football to its commercial operations to fan development and its stadium operations and this has provided us with some great learnings as we build what we hope will become a big and successful club in Western Sydney and Canberra.
"I want to thank David Tucker from the FFA for helping to organise the visit and congratulate the FFA and Destination NSW on bringing Manchester United to Sydney next July. It is a great promotion of sport for the state and we want to forge an ongoing partnership with Manchester United."
Sheedy and Matthews will make a number of recommendations to the GIANTS Board about the ongoing development of the club and have already flagged their intention with the AFL to play offshore in 2013.
"We met with AFL Europe and it was clear how important it was for them to have the London game back on. We want to play in it and personally I think it should be considered as Round 1 of the NAB Cup to put more at stake," Sheedy said
"The last five days have reaffirmed to me we have to do more to grow awareness of our game internationally. We shouldn't have to explain what the game is, people should know because it is a great game with great athletes.
"As an industry we are investing plenty of money a year into overseas training camps but I don't see them as delivering much of a legacy. What has the industry spent on international camps this year ? Plenty. With limited resources for international, an offshore camp should be developing the code and finish with a match." Sheedy said.
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