There has always been massive support for Manchester United in Downpatrick. Many supporters have travelled independently, some on trips organised by the youth league or some on trips organised by individuals who took on the responsibility of arranging travel and tickets.
However United’s success in the nineties made it impossible to obtain tickets for these trips prompting Dominic Doran to write a letter to United asking how to set up a supporter’s branch. A few weeks later Dominic received a reply from Membership secretary Barry Moorhouse, explaining that on completion of some forms a branch could be set up and become affiliated.
A meeting was organised and the committee of Dominic and David Doran, Shay Quinn, Mark Murphy, Barry McDowell, Paul Fay, Terry Holland and John Magee was elected, the forms were completed and in March 1993 Downpatrick Branch was born.
Over the years the branch has had many great trips to the Theatre of Dreams that always seem like an adventure.Generally, they have followed the meticulous plan but two are often remembered for travel difficulties. The first trip in 1993 versus Liverpool had flight problems and on our trip to the Villa game in 1995 we missed the boat home spending twelve hours in Holyhead.
The weekend trips have three big components, the coach journey, the boat and the hotel. We have always used Logan Executive Travel who continues to provide us a luxury coaching service that combines the highest quality driving, customer care and top-of-the-range vehicles. The boat breaks the journey, sometimes quick but when the sea is rough then not near quick enough. We have enjoyed the hospitality of The Village Hotel Hyde with great and friendly staff. The facilities are excellent, yet many only see the bar! We bring our own band on every trip, giving everyone entertainment and the late night sessions are not to be missed.We have recently moved to the Village in Bury which is equally as friendly and excellant.
One of the most significant moments of our branch history happened in September 1994. At this time the branch in the form of Terry (Touser) Holland sent a letter to David May asking him to become the president of the club. The rest they say is history!! In his first message to the club he stated that he was only too eager to accept Touser’s offer and went on to state how “proud and honored” he was to become the president of the Downpatrick Branch of the Manchester United Supporters Club.
We have been very lucky to have gained such an active President. David has over the years literally ‘bent over backwards’ to help us out in any way he could, and his efforts have been more than appreciated by the faithful support in Downpatrick.
We are also very fortunate to have Patrick Kielty, Anthony Dobbin, David Healy and Paul Parker as our honorary members. They have all supported our branch on many occasions and have attended our annual dinner whenever possible.
To date we have shown a number of players past and present our Big Downpatrick hospitality. David May,Anthony Dobbin & Patrick kielty was guest of honour at our dinner in 1995,Paddy Crerand in 1996,David Healy & Patrick Kielty in 1997 David May,Anthony Dobbin,Patrick Kielty,Rudd Van Nistolrooy & Diego Forlan in 2001, David may,Anthony Dobbin,Denis Irwin & Paul Parker in 2005 , David May,Anthony Dobbin & Paul Scholes in 2007 ,David may & anthony Dobbin in 2008, David May & Premiership Trophy in 2009,David May & Paddy Crerand in 2010 and David May,Clayton Blackmore,Lee Martin and Mark Sullivan in 2011.Each night was a memorable one and we our forever thankful to our guests who took time to spend with us.
Our base has changed a few times; beginning in the Avenue Bar (ended by a terrorist bomb) then the Arkle, Owenbeg, Hogans and now back were it all began, the Avenue Bar.
During the past years some of our friends have sadly passed away. David Doran, a committee member from the first meeting, Pat O’Hare our Treasurer, Gerry Magee & Oliver O’Hare committee members and Cassie McCullough our oldest member all left us suddenly and tragically. They each played a major role in our development of the branch and are often in our thoughts and prayers.
Lastly our branch has now grown into a thriving club of 185+ members, of all ages and with members from towns all over County Down. We pride ourselves in being family oriented and with the help of all our members, their families and friends, we hope to have the craic and continue making history…