Manchester United have extended an invitation to the 12 Thai boys and their football coach who were trapped in a cave to attend a game at Old Trafford in the forthcoming 2018/19 season.
It follows the rescue mission which saw all 12 boys and the coach emerge from the cave after being trapped underground for more than two weeks due to heavy rains flooding the entrance. One man, former Thai navy diver Saman Gunan, died during the rescue attempts.
“I want to tell you honey you are the hero in my heart” #SamanGunan's wife and father tell us about the man who died helping the 12 missing boys and their coach trapped in a cave in #Thailand #ThaiCaveRescue #BRAVEHEART #SamanGunan pic.twitter.com/hScK5DBviO— Anonymous🐾🎗️ (@YourAnonRiot) July 9, 2018
The terrible ordeal made international headlines and following the final boy being brought to safety on the third day of rescues, United expressed their relief via social media and offered the chance for them to visit Old Trafford at some point in the coming months.
A short statement read, "MUFC is relieved to learn that the 12 footballers and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand are now safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.
"We would love to welcome the team from Wild Boars Football Club and their rescuers to Old Trafford this coming season."
#MUFC is relieved to learn that the 12 footballers and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand are now safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 10, 2018
We would love to welcome the team from Wild Boars Football Club and their rescuers to Old Trafford this coming season. pic.twitter.com/5CGMoD1Msq
This is not a first for United as the club previously welcomed the Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days in 2010 to enjoy a game at Old Trafford.
Following their rescue, the miners were invited to be United's guests of honour in December 2010 and 23 of the 33 made the journey to meet players at the club's training ground and attend a Premier League clash with Arsenal at Old Trafford.
The miners proved to be a good luck charm as United won the game thanks to a single goal from crowd favourite Park Ji-sung.