Manchester United squad holed up in hotel rooms as result of terror blasts in Jakarta
21 July 2009 10:36
Following the cancellation of the Indonesian leg of the club's Far East tour as a result of Friday's deadly bomb attacks in Jakarta, United's players are now spending their fifth day in Kuala Lumpur's Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Located next door to Kuala Lumpur's iconic Petronas Towers and in the heart of a typically bustling Asian city, the likes of Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Owen and co. are unable to wander freely around the many shopping malls or take in the local sights.
United sign striker DioufSince their arrival last Friday, the United camp has been billeted on its own floor in the Mandarin Oriental, away from the supporters and autograph hunters who spend hours in the hotel lobby attempting to grab a glimpse of their idols.
A hotel spokesman, speaking in the Malaysian newspaper The Star said: "Security has been tight and the players even take their meals in non-public areas."
It is a tale of DVD's, iPods and sheer mind-numbing boredom for the majority of the players once they have done their training for the day.
Some are lucky enough to be selected for charity or sponsor events, which are viewed as precious opportunities to escape the hotel for just a couple of hours. But those left behind have little else to do, other than run up phone bills, but even attempts to call home are hampered by the + 7 hour time difference.
Today was due to be golf day for the players, but the weather has taken the shine off that plan.
Although most will still head for the course, it won't be so much fun with the rain pouring down. Other than the oppressive humidity a clingy 89 per cent today the United contingent could be fooled for believing they were already back in Manchester.
That will not be the case until July 31, though. From Kuala Lumpur, the team heads to Seoul on the club's private plane on Wednesday on a draining seven-hour flight before further stops in Hangzhou and Munich.
So just another week-and-a-half of films, long hours and airport VIP lounges.
Still, the scene will change when United land in South Korea on Wednesday morning.
Thanks largely to the presence of Ji-Sung Park, but not exclusively so, United are immensely popular in South Korea.
When they visited Seoul in 2007, the team's Shilla Hotel base was swamped by supporters, many of whom camped outside the hotel day and night just to catch a fleeting glimpse of Ferguson's team.
It will be the same again this time and will make Kuala Lumpur seem like a gentle warm-up.
But the players will still be confined to base, kicking their heels and killing time.
Some will argue that it is a small price to pay for those players earning the kind of salaries that most can only dream of.
But when boredom sets in, even the most expensive gadgets lose their appeal after a while.