This may be a first. A fan from the City of Manchester has been found, verified as a United supporter and persuaded to preview the game at Old Trafford on Saturday. That was cheap and grossly unfair, or at least United fans would say so. Of course there are Man Utd supporters in Manchester and the surrounding area; it is just that there are so many of them in far-flung corners of the word that the global glory-seeking jibe comes naturally to the lips or keyboard. Liam Bradford*, assistant editor of United first fanzine, Red News, and press officer for the Independent Manchester United Supporters’ Association (IMUSA) puts us right. Next stop? Denmark! …
The last United fan in the Who Are You? series at Salut! Sunderland was a 100 per cent Manc who gets very irritated when people say they’re a world brand, not a proper club. What say you?
HOW VERY DARE YOU!!!!!!! We are both! As much as we hate to admit it, we are a successful football club that got turned into a worldwide recognised brand. What you do have to consider is that no football club means no brand where no brand means that there’s still a football club. We have to be a proper club don’t we? How do you define “proper club” anyway? founded in 1878, but we aren’t a proper club? It’s difficult isn’t it? The long and short of it is that we have to understand now that we are both customer and fan to a team that is both football club and world brand.
Have we already settled down to a two-horse race for the title? How confident are you of winning it again and what will be the top four, in order?
Tough one. I’m a pessimist, always have been. I think we’ll be top three this year but i’m not sticking my neck out to say where in the top three. It’s a long long season. Two horse race????!!!! Unbelievable it’s still within the first 8 weeks of the season and we’re already talking about a “two horse race”. Top four , not in any order, are United, Chelsea, Liverpool and City.
Did it hurt to include Man City?
Course it hurts. Money talks though. They are a decent outfit this season, the depth may be a little concerning in parts but they are good enough to cause any team problems as both United and Arsenal have already seen this season. They’ll be there or there abouts. We’ve been taking the piss since they won the league cup against the barcodes in ’76. 33 years of ribbing, i’d love it if we could make that 34 years of abuse.
And who will go down?
Another tough one this one, Think we’re looking at Portsmouth as a definite unless something magic occurs very very soon. Hull and Bolton? I don’t know, it’s gonna be a tight old fight down the bottom this year. But Pompey look nailed on, which is a shame.
Laurent Blanc got a lot of stick from Sunderland fans, well from Steve Bruce and me, for saying Chamakh could leave Boreaux nly for a big club and we weren’t that. Tell me honestly how you, as a United fan, view clubs outside the Big Four/Five.
It’s a two tier premier League. There’s the top five who really are streets ahead of the rest of the league. I hate saying that as a United fan because it just confirms the fact that we are all a bunch of glory hunting, elitist tossers. I think if you look at the league as two tier, the whole shebang become mile more interesting. It’s pointless looking at Sunderland for example thinking that they are gonna win the league. But if you look at Sunderland and think that they may stand a chance of beating the best of the rest, all of a sudden the league opens up and you can watch it with a bit more excitement rather than viewing it as a bit of a procession.
Lots of connections over the years between our clubs, Keane, Sbragia, Dwight Yorke and Bruce being the obvious most recent ones. Any thoughts of the last three and, on Keano, how highly did you rate him as a player and how likely is it that he can ever be a great manager?
Ricky was with United for nearly three years between 2002 and 2005, I think having the Reserve team and being able to draw on the experience of a man like Alex Ferguson can only be a positive for a career. I think thats where the relationship between United and Sunderland has come from. We’ve seen a number of players either sign for you guys or head out on loan and the wealth of knowledge they’ve gained has been invaluable.
Dwight Yorke is a hero. Not a legend but a hero. The man provided us all with someone to have a luagh with as well as being able to rely on him getting the goals that we needed during that period wth United. I still, to this day have nver seen a partnership quite as good as Yorke and Cole. I think he was useful for you guys as well, maybe not for the same prolific nature but for the experience that he could impart on the squad. One of my favourite players.
Steve Bruce, other than having a MASSIVE head, he stands as one of the founding members of our success now. Him and Pally were the precursor to so much at United, defensively, and it’s very easy to draw the comparisons between them and Rio and Vidic. Again, another soul who must have benifitted hugely from the experince and tactical genius of Fergie. He wouldn’t have been the manager who i’d have said was going to turn out to be one of the better one’s in the league but then again, i’m normally wrong. Brucey is without a doubt the finest of the managers to have come out of Old Trafford in my opinion and Sunderland are going to beneift from that experince too!
Keano is a legend at Old Trafford and i don’t band that word about too lightly. His leadership on the pitch coupled with his ability to run box to box, make last ditch tackles and score winning goals all in the space of 2 minutes was extraordinary. He’ll never be a good manager in my opinion. Two reasons for this. Firstly is that i don’t think he as the same level of intelligence as certain others. Secondly and most importantly, the Roy Keane that captained United could lead by example. The Roy Keane that tries to manage cannot. Therefore, when he screams and hollers and spits at his dressing room, they haven’t got the same respect for him as maybe the people that played with him did. To summarise. I love Roy Keane the player, he will always hold a respect in my heart. Roy Keane the manager won’t have the same success in my opinion.
Can we have Jonny Evans back?
NO!! Hands off. Cracking centre half. Absolutely top drawer. 21 years old and has the ability to stand in for rion or Vidic and not bat an eyelid. He just puts in a no nonsense performance . So NO you can’t have him, he’s ours. Ours. Belongs to us. Ours.
The Eduardo question: you need a win in the last game to take the championship. Rooney goes down in the last second, everyone exept the ref knows it was a dive but he gets the penalty and scores the winner. You take it gladly, you take it guiltily or you feel so ashamed you almost wish you hadn’t won?
I’d rather lose the championship. I hate cheating. I’m the first one out of my seat shouting at people to get up. I found the Ronaldo years especially difficult. He was a nightmare, the problem was you never knew whether there was contact or not! The kid was exceptional and that balances the problems out. I would rather lose the game than win it illegally. But you have to draw the line between illegal and unfair. The city game was UNFAIR but within the rules of the game. Eduardo’s dive was illegal and Arsenal and the plaer should be ashamed of themselves. I think it’s time we, as fans, stand up to this sort of bullshit. Even if UEFA struggle to make a decision because of the ramifications, that shouldn’t stop us.
Favourite – and least favourite – Man United players of all time?
This is a tough one I’m only 24!
Favourite – Ryan Giggs, the model professional, has done everything and still loves his job and his employer. I feel privileged to have been able to watch some of the magical things he has done in a red shirt.
Least Favourite – David Bellion. Useless, utterly useless muppet. What a waste of space that tit was.
Will you be at Old Trafford for our game. if not, how will you keep in touch with the game and what will be the score?
D’you know what? I’m missing my first home game for three years because the opportunity to go to New York came up to go for a Holiday and see Bruce Springsteen play in Giants Stadium. I’ve never been before and probably on’t get the chance again any time soon. So, i’ve found a bar in new york, emailed them, told them that I’m the assistant editor of a United fanzine and funnily enough I’m VIP for the day. So yeah, i’ll be watching in New York! United to win 3-1.
What is the question I forgot to ask?
What!!!??? The ultimate in LAZY ARSE JOURNALISM!!! haha!
Best Game You’ve ever attended and why
Manchester United vs AS ROMA when we won 7-1. Why? Because we won 7-1!
* Liam Bradford on Liam Bradford:
I live in Manchester after having moved around the country as a child. I am involved with IMUSA as their press man, any media work that comes to IMUSA comes to me to try and make sure we don’t give ourselves a worse name than we already seem to have as United fans! My first game was against Nottingham forest in 1995. We won 5-0 and I was smitten!