Winner! Singapore Manchester City fan on his way to Etihad Stadium
Singaporean Haizam Ja’udin is a devoted Manchester City fan, has run the club’s Singapore supporters’ club for almost two decades, but has never seen them play live at their Etihad Stadium home.
Thanks to Etihad Airways, Manchester City and FourFourTwo, Haizam has won the opportunity of a lifetime to get the full VIP treatment at a City home game during the 2016/17 season.
Flights courtesy of Etihad Airways
In the first party held at our FFT HQ at McGettigan’s at Clarke Quay for Saturday night’s Manchester derby, Haizam took on three other City fans in a trivia competition for the right to head to the northern English city.
At the end of it Haizam was a clear winner and clearly knows almost everything there is to know about his club of choice. His emotion was clear to see, shaking as he walked onto the stage at McGettigan’s to be officially congratulated as our winner.
We then learned Haizam’s incredible story, which includes getting married on May 13, 2012 – the day City famously clinched their first league title since 1968 in such dramatic fashion.
“Let me tell you this – I’ve been a supporter since '98, I ran the supporters’ club in Singapore and I’ve never been to Manchester,” Haizam told FourFourTwo. "Back in 2012 I didn’t know we’d be challenging for the title on the last day and I booked my wedding day a year in advance.
“At that point in time my wife was a Manchester United fan, but she wasn’t as hard-core a fan as I am. I made a promise to her that I would not watch the game.
“I love City so much and I told my wife I’m not going to watch the game and I’m just going to enjoy the wedding. I had to kiss a United crest that day, on our wedding day, just for a bit of banter.
“I thought City would win the title, but deep down inside I didn’t expect to win in that fashion.
“Who would have thought that?"
When I came tonight, I wasn’t expecting to win the prize. I just wanted to watch the game
Now Haizam will spend two nights in Manchester, complete with hospitality tickets to a game and a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium.
Haizam and his guest will also be given brand new Manchester City shirts and, of course, he is taking his wife, who has been converted to support the blue half of Manchester.
To top it all off, City triumphed in the big match at a packed McGettigan's, overcoming United 2-1 at Old Trafford.
“When I came tonight, I wasn’t expecting to win the prize. I just wanted to watch the game and catch up with a few of my City friends,” Haizam said.
“This was my first City game this season as I’ve been busy with my house renovations.
“When you guys called out my name [as one of four finalists], the other guys in the competition were saying they thought I deserved to win because I’ve been running the supporters’ club.
“This has really, really made my day. I can’t believe it.”
If you want to be involved in more of these terrific evenings at McGettigan's, sign up as a FFT HQ member right here.
Benefits include discounts on food and drinks, plus priority seating for the big-match screening parties we'll be hosting throughout the season.
So what are you waiting for?!
Photos: Viraj Kothalawala