KOTA KINABALU: What was first a joke between United Malaysia president Batholomew Jingulam and Manchester United legend Ronny Johnsen last year will become a reality when the former defender comes to Sabah this June.
Jingulam had met Johnsen in Perth, Australia, last November when he told the four-time English Premier League winner, in jest, that he should come over for United Malaysia’s annual dinner in 2019.
The United great replied jokingly, “Sure, sure.”
“But fast forward to this year, that will come true at our 4th annual dinner at the Hakka Hall Grand Ballroom this June 28. He has accepted our invitation to be our special guest.
“When we first started off, some people had said that our club was small and could not achieve such a feat. Well, to all you doubters, not bad for a small club, eh?,” he said today.
United Malaysia is the country’s official supporters club for Manchester United.
Johnsen is part of the famous treble-winning side managed by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson that won the UEFA Champions League after beating German champions Bayern Munich in a match that ended 2-1 in the 1998-99 season.
Besides that and English Premier League, he also won the English FA Cup that year as well as the FIFA Intercontinental Cup in 1999.
Jingulam said this will be another feather in the club’s cap as United Malaysia will be the first to bring a club legend to any official supporters’ event in Sabah.
“The organising committee has worked hard to make this a reality so our members can get a chance to meet a former great who had a decorated career with Manchester United,” he said.
He advised those coming to the United Malaysia annual dinner to come early, adding the meet-and-greet session with Johnsen will be held between 6pm and 7pm that day.
“With the attendance of the Norwegian, we expect a record number of members to come,” Jingulam said.
Jingulam also said the club will organise a special meet-and-greet session for official members with the former United defender the following day at a venue to be announced soon.
Raffle tickets for the grand lucky draw prizes of all-expense paid trip to Old Trafford, Manchester United’s home ground, are also available now, Jingulam said.
Those interested in attending can contact Fynn Wong at 016-842 2249, Jennifer Lajaip at 016-821 7066 or Darrell Ho at 016-831 1062.