United come first

"Work for are very understanding – I give them a copy of the fixture list every season and they know that when United are playing I’ll be going. Simple as that."

- Keith Udale
29/01/2010 18:26, Report by Gemma Thompson
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Red Heads: Keith Udale

Name: Keith Udale
Age: 58
From: Hazel Grove

How it all began: My friend’s dad took me to my first game in 1957 when I was six. My first real recollection is seeing us get beat by Blackpool in the 1961/62 season. I started travelling to away games from about 13/14 and every penny I could get hold of as a kid was spent following United.

Best moment: That’s a tough one. The Champions League final in ’99 was obviously amazing, but I think I’d have to go for the semi-final win over Juventus in Turin. The atmosphere in the United end was unbelievable.

Scariest moment: Generally I’ve been okay, but I remember fighting erupting at the station after a midweek game at West Ham in the early 70s. People were ripping up the fencing on the platform and launching wood and nails. British Rail had to turn the power off on the lines because people were spilling onto the tracks.

Favourite player: It has to be Bestie. George is the most exciting player I’ve ever seen – he could do anything with the ball.

How many countries have you seen United in? Around 35 including China, Japan, Russia and America. My wife Lisa and my two daughters travel most places with me and there’s a group of us from the High Peak branch that attend absolutely every game, home and away.

Longest trip: Getting to Moscow for the 2008 final was a real roundabout trip. We flew from Manchester to Milan, stayed overnight, then flew to Vienna and on to Moscow. We then went via St. Petersburg and Copenhagen to get home to Manchester.

Has United ever got you into trouble? I nearly had my engineering apprenticeship terminated when I was younger because I kept disappearing to midweek away games! I commute to work in London every day but the company I work for are very understanding – I give them a copy of the fixture list at the start of every season and they know that whenever United are playing I’ll be going. Simple as that.

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