Manchester United invite Thai cave survivors and rescuers to Old Trafford for next season

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United have offered their hospitality for next season to the the 12 boys and their football coach who were trapped in a cave in north Thailand, along with their many rescuers.

The group had been exploring the cave before heavy rainfall left them trapped underground for 17 days.

A three day operation, involving 40 Thai divers and 50 other diving experts from abroad, was successfully completed on Tuesday afternoon, with all 12 boys and their coach reported as safe and in good health.

The club has shown its class by offering tickets to matches for next season to the group along with the various members of the rescue operation.

A similar gesture was made to the Chilean miners back in December 2010, who were welcomed to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United beat Arsenal 1-0.

It should never be forgotten that Saman Gunan, a former Thai navy diver, lost his life returning from a mission delivering air tanks on Friday, highlighting the dangers implicit in the task at hand. To die whilst attempting to save others, as so many have done in the past, is the most heroic thing anyone can do.

That all 12 boys and their football coach – aged just 25 – are safe is a rare piece of genuinely heartwarming news. Hopefully we will see them at Old Trafford next season.

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