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Hundreds of volunteers help to a make Olympic football matches at Old Trafford a success
10:00am Tuesday 14th August 2012 in News
FINAL crowd figures show that the Olympic football bonanza brought together nearly 400,000 global spectators to Old Trafford stadium for a celebration of world sport.
And for the hundreds of people working behind the scenes all the hard work paid off.
Operational units hailed ‘outstanding team-work’ as the reason for Greater Manchester's Olympic-sized successes across policing, transport and tourism during Games time.
They also paid tribute to the sterling work and dedication of the 600 volunteers who helped things to run smoothly.
Paul Deighton, chief executive of London 2012, was the first to enthusiastically congratulate the region for their important contribution: "The Olympics have been a roaring success in the North West of England; communities have embraced the Games with real gusto and we've been continually impressed by the fantastic family atmosphere and record number of Olympic football spectators visiting Old Trafford stadium in Greater Manchester."
Meticulous planning coupled with an effective communications strategy, saw travel disruption kept to an absolute minimum as spectators heeded advice and planned their journeys in advance; people took advantage of free tram and bus travel from Manchester city centre and used special park-and-ride services in operation across the region.
Susan Wildman, TfGM’s communications and customer services director, said: “The Olympic football matches in Greater Manchester have been fantastic occasions and gave us the chance to immerse ourselves in the spirit of the Games.
“We’re used to regularly managing large crowds attending concerts and football matches in Greater Manchester, but with so many people coming from so far afield – and possibly coming to Manchester and Old Trafford for the first time – the challenge was slightly different.
“So there was a degree of stepping into the unknown but we’re pleased that the travel plans worked well.
“We helped organisers with those plans – which they provided as part of staging the Games and which, over the course of the competition, helped almost 400,000 people from across the UK and the world travel to and from matches.
“Our own staff volunteered to be on hand to welcome visitors to the city and to help them make their way to and from the matches and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them publicly for doing such a great job.”
A strong family audience attended the Olympic football matches and every game passed peacefully without incident. Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney, Olympics Gold Commander, said that Greater Manchester Police had been extremely "proud" to play its part in hosting a safe and successful Olympic Games: "We've worked tirelessly with other police forces, local authorities and emergency services to deliver such a successful policing operation. Many visitors were families who have never visited our region before and we've received so many positive comments about our policing operation."
Greater Manchester's, and specifically the borough of Trafford's role as a host for nine Olympic football matches provided volunteering opportunities for more than 600 people, increased trade for shops and restaurants and once again proved the borough to be more than capable of holding large international events.