As the 2012 Olympic Games near their epic conclusion, around 400,000 global spectators have made their way to Old Trafford to watch the football.
Billed as the greatest show on Earth, staff behind the scenes have received huge praise from Paul Deighton, Chief Executive of London 2012.
"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.
“Years of meticulous planning coupled with an effective communications strategy saw travel disruption kept to an absolute minimum as spectator’s 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,” he said.
Susan Wildman, TFGM’s Communications and Customer Services Director, said: “We’re used to regularly managing large crowds attending concerts and football matches in Greater Manchester,
However, Wildman admitted that 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.
“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,” she said.
The role of Greater Manchester, in particular Old Trafford, as a host for the 9 Olympic football matches brought positive effects to the local economy. Trade in shops and restaurants increased and over 600 people were able to volunteer, standing alongside world famous athletes.
Just days after Old Trafford hosted its final Olympic football match, Matt Colledge, Leader of Trafford Council revealed that the Games had brought a multi-million pound boost to the local economy with ‘far-reaching beneficial effects for the area.’