This past Thursday, New Yorkers were treated to the sight of some of the sport's legends helping fund raise for a worthy cause.
Hublot, the makers of fine quality Swiss watches teamed up with Manchester United in a reprise of their partnership to help raise money for UNICEF. Their association dates back to 2008 when Hublot designed United's Big Bang. Since then Hublot and United have teamed up to raise money for United for UNICEF which has raised more than £2 million over a decade and changed the lives of 2.2 million children.
The event was organized with the historic Flatiron building forming the backdrop.
The audience was fired up by the MC, Lawrence of Street Soccer USA, an organization that does yeoman's work with the homeless, while waiting for Messrs Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher, Edwin Van Der Sar, and Sir Alex Ferguson to show up. The cause: To raise a million dollars for UNICEF by kicking a ball into a cutout on a giant image of a Hublot watch from 51 feet away.
Lawrence kept it going inviting spectators to have a go and some of the kids were truly impressive, coming close, very close to the target. We will probably see them suit up professionally one of these days. It was hot but the friendly Promofact people kept us cool with plenty of water and iced tea.
A little after 5 PM, the moment that everyone was waiting for so patiently- a fleet of big black SUV's arrived and Darren Fletcher walked in to cheers followed by David Gill, Man Utd's CEO, Edwin Van Der Sar, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Sir Alex Ferguson, and Hublot's CEO, Jean Claude Biver. Having watched so much Premiership football over the years, it was quite a thrill to watch them in person, in the flesh - the tall graceful Van Der Sar and the pint sized flame haired Scholes.
What would Man Utd be without Scholes, Giggs, and Van Der Saar? Between the three - careers spanning 40 years and over a thousand appearances. But back to the business of raising money and Van Der Saar actually came closest to hitting the target. No matter. The event raised over a $100,000 (exact figure $110,008), a pretty healthy figure. Hublot's CEO was at hand to present the check to UNICEF and once the formalities were over, the audience milled around the players and Sir Alex for photos and autographs.
There were no star hang ups. Sir Alex, the ruddy faced public face of the Premiership patiently signed jerseys, press passes, and footballs as he talked about the club's long association with UNICEF. How about the forthcoming season? Bullish. City? No concern. Giggs and Scholes happily mugged for the cameras while Van Der Sar loped around the perimeter pen in hand signing memorabilia.
It was onwards to SD26 for the after event of cocktails and appetizers with the players. Great ambience, fantastic food, and plenty of good conversation. All for a worthy cause. Hublot and Manchester United deserve kudos for this very worthy partnership to change the lives of millions of children. A special shout to the Promofact people who did such a wonderful job organizing the event.