Manchester United home games may have seemed more like the theatre of nightmares than dreams at times this season but Holy Family Catholic School’s trips to Old Trafford remain as popular as ever.

The Keighley school receive discounted tickets for selected midweek games that have not sold out in a scheme run by learning mentor John ‘Sonny’ Packer, an avid Red Devils fan.

The tickets are used as part of a reward system for pupils and are always in demand.

Mr Packer said: “They’re not just for doing well in lessons.

It could be for doing something good in or out of the classroom and pupils just absolutely love it.

“Not a day goes by when someone is not asking about them.

”Tickets – which have been priced as low as £13 and even £5 – have been made available to the school since Mr Packer established a link with the club following an educational visit to Old Trafford around five years ago.

A handful of Holy Family pupils witnessed the extra-time and penalty shoot-out drama that saw Sunderland upset United to reach the Capital One Cup final last week, while a group of 15 were due to attend the 2-0 league win over Cardiff on Tuesday this week.

The pupils travel on the supporters’ club bus from Keighley with Mr Packer, who said: “They learn social skills and how to conduct themselves properly.

”Not everyone who goes is a Manchester United fan but the learning mentor admits those who are find it strange when the Red Devils don’t enjoy the success they have become accustomed to.

He said: “I’ve watched United in the 70s when they were rubbish so I am used to it but some of the young kids are not sure how to deal with it.

“We are a team in transition at the moment.

My phone was going into meltdown on the way home from the Sunderland game with messages from Leeds and Liverpool fans!”.