12/10/2009 08:40, Report by Adam Bostock

Q&A: Ronnie Irani

How long have you been a United fan?
My dad Jimmy started bringing me when I was six. I can still remember going to Vinny’s ice cream van on our way to the ground. When I was older, we’d sometimes have to sit on opposite sides and I’d walk round the pitch to meet him after the match.

Who were your early United heroes?
When I first started watching United in the 70s, it was Lou Macari. Later, in Ron Atkinson’s era, my favourite was Jesper Olsen – he was God. Then Eric [Cantona] came along… he was immense, the catalyst in taking us to the next level and mentor to the youngsters. Eric, my Doberman, is named after him.

How often do you get to Old Trafford?
Not as often as I used to. I started my cricket career with Lancashire, my home county, but then I joined Essex at 23 and I still live there. My working hours at Talksport also make it difficult and I probably see more games in London these days. But I keep in touch by watching MUTV.

Have you met any of the current players?
I’ve known Gary Neville since our days of playing junior cricket. I played against him in the Bolton league, I played for Heaton and he played for Greenmount. There was this one over he bowled at me when I smacked him around the boundary. I was 16, he was only 12, and I went up to him afterwards and said, ‘Hey, young Gary, don’t worry, you’re a good little cricketer so stick with it.’ Little did I know he’d go on to captain United and play for England at football!


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