Manchester United have sent a team to compete in the Milk Cup since the 1980s, with them first winning the cup in 1991. United’s side beat Heart of Midlothian 2-0 in the final, with the likes of Gary Neville, Keith Gillespie, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Robbie Savage, and Paul Scholes in the squad.

United have won it six times in total, including the pass two consecutive seasons, in a competition that has been the host for many world famous footballing names, including: Wes Brown, Danny Welbeck, Michael Carrick (West Ham United), Jonny Evans (County Antrim) Radamel Falcao (River Plate), Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich, Wales), Angelo Henriquez (Chile), Darron Gibson (County Londonderry), Kieran Richardson (West Ham United), Wayne Rooney (Everton), Sergio Busquets (F.C. Barcelona), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich) and Steve McManaman (Liverpool), amongst others.

With Louis van Gaal unhappy with last summer’s pre-season arrangements, which had been put in place before he was appointed, it appears as though he wants to change things this summer. Sir Alex Ferguson was a big supporter of the competition but Van Gaal doesn’t appear to share his view.

It was confirmed yesterday that Manchester United would not be competing in the Milk Cup this year after assessing “pre-season training needs”.

Milk Cup organiser, Jim Sandford, has spoken of his disappointment at United’s decision to pull out, 10 weeks after agreeing in writing to come.

It was something that came to us as a complete shock on Friday evening when I got a phone call from Mr John Alexander, who is the chief executive at Manchester United. They have not only let us down by changing their mind, after giving us written confirmation… they’ve let down the whole army of Northern Ireland fans of Manchester United. Many fans from this country go to Old Trafford on a weekly basis. There are some people who depend on the team coming to the Milk Cup to support the team, who can’t afford to go to Manchester to support them at Old Trafford. So they’ve let those people down as well, which is probably a bigger show of disdain for the supporters over here, than they have [shown] for the Milk Cup.