United supporters’ club secretary Yuri Shulakov speaks to ManUtd.com about the Reds' Russian branch...
When did Moscow Reds form?
It was the 29 September 2001. I remember the date because it was the day we famously beat Tottenham 5-3 at White Hart Lane. That day four of us met in a pub in Moscow and afterwards we had a few pints and decided we needed to meet more regularly. We had the idea of starting a supporters’ club and after a few months we grew our membership to about 30 people. We’d meet in the pub to watch games and then we built a website in 2003 – www.manutd.ru – which we believe is the best website on the Russian internet for foreign football coverage, especially in regards to United.
How many members do you have now?
We’ve got more than 250 members, but not all of them are from Moscow. We also have representations in places like Minsk (Belarus) and Kiev (Ukraine)… in fact, we have members in most of the countries from the former USSR. We even have a few members based in Manchester. We used to have friends in Israel in the branch, too. I’d say about 70 per cent are from Moscow but don’t be deceived by the name – we're open to anybody who's interested in joining us.
When did Moscow Reds get official status as a United supporters’ branch?
Only quite recently, in 2008. It’s been really good for us. We talk constantly with people at the club – we have one person who’s our dedicated contact – and we get two tickets for away games depending on the allocation given to United by the opposition club. The club are a great help and have been doing a lot of good work with us.
Do you have any mottos within the branch?
Whatever we do in Moscow Reds we try and do it professionally. Everybody is a volunteer but we want to make sure things are done properly. We made that decision right at the start and we’ve carried that on until the present day. It’s not just about the football, either – we hold Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve parties for our members as well.