Neville hails “very special moment” as netball moves to Manchester Arena

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Photo: Ben Blackall
Manchester Thunder coach Tracey Neville is urging all of the North West to get behind her team and the sport of netball when Thunder takes on Hertfordshire Mavericks this Saturday at the iconic Manchester Arena.

“This is a very special moment,” Neville told a press conference on Monday. “I know that everyone will try and make this great in the North West. We are a region that gets behind every sporting event, every player and every coach. This won’t be just a netball event. I really think that this will be a North West event and a Manchester event and that people will get behind Manchester Thunder. I do think when those crowds come, we’ll obviously get people who come all the time but we’ll also get some new faces there and I think we’ll cement their support for the future.”

The match could break the record (previously set in London) for the the country’s biggest ever attendance at a domestic netball match. 

Team captain Sara Bayman agreed that the move to Manchester Arena, which has been backed by Manchester City Council, heralds a major breakthrough for netball in the region. “I think it’s fantastic for the league. It’s one thing taking international matches there but to have a league game there is huge,” said Bayman. “To have the people in the North West behind our team is very exciting. The whole whole team is very excited about the crowd that’s going to be there and the atmosphere that’s going to be created.”

Bayman’s team-mate, Australian international Chelsea Pitman said she was expecting plenty of noise when the team takes to the big stage on Saturday: “We want as many people in yellow and screaming for us as possible. Obviously we want Mavericks fans down there but we want them silenced as quickly as possible in the game. English crowds are really vocal, which is going to be great. Personally I’ve never played in front of a big crowd here so I can’t wait. Hopefully they’ll take a bit from how the football crowds are and get some good chants going. I can’t wait to step out there.”

The team has already received plenty of attention online ahead of the big match thanks to its remake of Peter Kay’s “Amarillo” comedy video, which features Neville’s footballing brothers Gary and Phil as well as Manchester United legend Paul Scholes and the stars of Coronation Street.

Click Here to watch Thunder’s much-talked about ‘Amarillo’ video, featuring Manchester United legends Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and stars of Coronation Street

The semi-final will be screened live on Sky Sports.

Click Here to purchase your Semi-Final Showdown Tickets!

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Photo: Ben Blackall