VINCENT WALL on the club's aims as its first directly owned shop outside Old Trafford opens at Dublin Airport tomorrow.MANCHESTER United plans to develop its own 15,000 sq ft superstore in central Dublin within the next two years and is currently investigating a number of sites for the project.
A spokesman for the football club/Plc, Vange Kourentis, yesterday confirmed Dublin was one of three locations targeted for megastores, with a Far Eastern city also a likely candidate.
``We recently announced our intention to open 150 retail outlets around the world, ranging in size from small niche developments to large multi-storied facilities such as we're planning for Dublin.''
But the club's first directly-owned retail outlet outside of Old Trafford is due to open at Dublin Airport tomorrow.
The venture, a partnership with Aer Rianta, will comprise a 40sq metre unit in the tax-free shopping area known as The Street.
According to Mr Kourentis. all the Manchester United shops currently located in department stores are franchises, supplied on a wholesale basis by the club.
``This will be the first of a new retail concept that will bring supporters far greater and more meaningful access to the heart of the club.
``A standardised format as been designed by Checkland Kindleysides, who designed the Levis retail shops and a dedicated team has been appointed to establish and manage the concept globally,'' he added.
The airport shop will incorporate a number of Manchester United services, including live digital broadcasts in the evening from MUTV, an MU web site and interactive information archives.
``The check-out counter will carry the names of every player who ever signed on to play for the club.
``Supporters will be able to buy match programmes there as they travel to matches and Bobby Charlton has agreed to provide valuable memorabilia such as medals for a display case in the shop,'' Mr Kourentis said.
``We chose Dublin as our first site outside HQ, because we know the city well.
``The club has had strong links there for many years and we have thousands of fans living in Dublin,'' he noted.
The shop, trading in a VAT-free area of the airport, should be in a position to offer Manchester Utd football kits and other popular merchandise, to airline passengers at prices up to 21pc lower than their downtown equivalents.
Meanwhile, BSkyB has announced that has either received valid acceptances in respect of, acquired, or agreed to acquire shares representing 44.6pc of Manchester Utd's issued share capital.
The offer date for acceptance of its stg£650m has been extended until November 3.