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Man united megafan completes incredible journey from Mongolia to Old Trafford… by bike!

A Mongolian Manchester United mega-fan completed his journey to catch the United game vs Newcastle - and meet his heroes

Ochirvaani, a Mongolian Manchester United-loving footballer set out to cycle from his home in a yurt in Mongolia to Old Trafford to watch his beloved team play for the first time.

In May 2023, Ochirvaani, known to friends and fans as Ochiroo (after his hero Wayne Rooney) embarked on an extraordinary journey from his home in Mongolia to Manchester.

His goal? To experience a game at Old Trafford, home of his beloved Manchester United.

This May, his dream became a reality as he completed his monumental bike ride, covering a staggering 9,243 km from the suburbs of Ulaanbaatar to Old Trafford.

From Mongolia to Manchester by bike

Paul Watson, who introduced us to Ochiroo, lived in Mongolia in 2016, where he managed a local football team.

Paul recalls his first encounter with Ochiroo, saying, “I first met Ochiroo in 2016 when I ran a football team in Mongolia.

“We were looking for players, and we were introduced to him.

“He was training on his own in his school gym at 6 am in -15 degrees, wearing, of course, a Man United shirt.

“After a year with our club, Ochiroo was scammed by a fake agent who offered a trial with LA Galaxy if he could transfer insurance money.

“He lost £3,000, and his family risked losing everything. Luckily, after going on @tSHandJ, kind fans around the UK donated to get his money back.

“Ochiroo was shaken but returned to playing football and won the Mongolian title with Ulaanbaatar City, but his dream remained to visit Old Trafford. So he’s set out to cycle 9,000 km from his home in Ulaanbaatar, estimating to arrive in Manchester in December!”

He didn’t quite his his December target, but he has made it.

Letter to Wayne Rooney

The Premier League released an emotional video of Ochiroo’s hero, Wayne Rooney, reading out a letter Ochiroo penned to the club while on his incredible journey.

You can watch this video here

The letter reads

Dear Wayne Rooney,

My name is Ochirvaani, but my friends call me Ochiroo, after my idol Wayne Rooney. 

I am currently cycling from my home in Mongolia to Old Trafford. 

Because I Love Manchester United. 

Wayne Rooney has always been my hero. 

I loved his relentless work ethic, and his ability to rise to the occasion in crucial moments,. 

When I was younger all I ever wanted to do was to be a professional footballer and play for Manchester United. 

While aspiring to become a professional footballer Ochirvaani was defrauded out of a significant amount of money by a fake football agent 

The scam left him heartbroken and in financial ruin. 

“I felt like I was living in a nightmare. 

“I felt like I had lost everything, my motivation my energy and even my faith in myself. 

“It was then That I made a promise to myself to rise above this situation and turn my dreams int reality. 

“Since May last year, I cycled across 20 countries, I have encountered the kindness of trainers and connected with lots of football fans. 

“I saw my journey as a chance to take control of my life and turn a sad experience into a good one. 

“With each pedal stroke, I am not only chasing my dream of reaching Old Trafford but proving to myself I can do anything. 

“Cycling felt like the most intimate way to experience the journey. And I have done that to realise a lifelong dream of visiting Old Trafford 

“Seeing the stadium in real life will be the pinnacle of my journey. 

“Where my dreams become reality. 

“Forever your biggest fan,


A dream realised

In an incredible moment in the video, Wayne Rooney appears, and Ochiroo is brought to tears.

The two talk about Rooney reading his letter, and Ochiroo is thrilled. Rooney said, “I read your letter, Ochiroo, and it was so inspiring.

“It must have taken an incredible amount of willpower to get here, and I wanted to come and meet you.

“I know you think that we inspire you, but what you’ve done is an incredible achievement, and you should be so proud of what you have done. I’ve seen your nickname, Wazza! And Ochiroo – I love it.”

United got Ochiroo a ticket for the Newcastle game (thankfully, they won!). He sat in the director’s box behind Sir Alex Ferguson and a host of ex-players. Ochiroo also met Andy Cole, Bryan Robson, Gary Neville, Bruno Fernandes, and Rio Ferdinand.

Reflecting on his journey, Ochiroo said, “The adventures and challenges I’ve encountered, I’ve had both happy and sad moments.

“I’ve felt every kind of emotion a human can feel. I feel proud of myself because I was able to reach the point that I’ve always dreamed of. I’m overcome with joy. This is a dream come true.”

From everyone at I Love Manchester, congratulations, Ochiroo! Your story is an inspiration to us all, and we hope your dream of seeing Manchester United play at Old Trafford was everything you hoped for and more.

Speaking before the bike ride

Just the 9,243km to go

Ochiroo is from Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, where he lives with his parents in the suburbs of the city.

How did you get into football?

“I started playing football when I was just 15 years old. Football always gave me happiness and freedom, It was my first love.

“My most memorable moment was when I was picked for my first football club, which was called Bayangol FC. We’ve had a great ride together and I love playing for them.”

How did you end up supporting Manchester United?

“Well, I have supported Manchester United since I was ten years old. Every time I watched TV and the football, it was always United on so I thought they were great.

“My Uncle was also a huge United fan, so we used to watch together. My favourite player from that era was Wayne Rooney, he was so strong and had so much skill. I loved his game and style.”

Why did you decide to make the journey by bike?

“I just love football, it’s such a beautiful sport. The players are magical. I have met some amazing people through football, and many of them I’m lucky enough to call my friends.

“They all know it’s my dream to play professionally, and they have always supported me and for that, I’m incredibly grateful. It’s an honour for me to play, and to see United live will be amazing. It’s a dream come true for me to see them play.

“I love adventures, and this seemed like a great one to be part of. Hopefully, my journey will inspire others to live without regret and chase their dreams.

“This is my only chance to make my dream come true and see Manchester United, so hopefully I’ll make it.”

Ochiroo is currently cycling across China

Can you tell us about your journey so far?

“I set out on May 5th, so I’ve been going for a bit longer than a month now.

“My trip has been going very well so far! There have been many difficult days through cold snow and rain, but now that’s been turned on its head as the days are very, very hot.

“As of today, I’ve travelled 2,600km, so just the 10,000km left, haha.

“I’ve met so many brilliant people who have helped me along the way, it’s been really eye-opening. Some people can be so kind.

“I am currently in Xinjiang in China.

What do you know about the city of Manchester?

“I don’t know too much about the city, but I’ve heard the people are very welcoming and I can’t wait to see Old Trafford. It almost feels like I’m coming home. I am set to land in Manchester in December and I’m currently feeling great.”

From everyone at I Love Manchester Ochiroo, good luck and we hope to see you in December!

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