Mustafa Ibrahim has been chairman of the United Arab Emirates supporters’ club since it became official two years ago. Here the 32-year-old tells us about the passion for the Reds in the Middle East…
How long have you followed United?
My entire life. I was born into a United family and for me it’s more than just a football club; it’s a way of life.
How many members are there in the UAE branch?
We currently have approximately 100 members (comprising official members and season ticket holders). This is our second official season and we are based in the Harvester pub in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dubai. Most of our members are actually expats originating from different parts of the world but we have a few locals too.
What kind of activities do you get up to with the club?
We have organised football tournaments for the club previously and this year we aim to hold a lot more social events involving the members and their families. We watch all the games at our official home in the Harvester pub.
Do you get to see many games live?
I and a lot of our members travel to Old Trafford more than once a season. Without doubt, my favourite game is the 1999 Champions League final but I have many other great memories: the 1999 FA Cup replay with that wonderful goal from Ryan Giggs, the 2008 Champions League semi-final against Barcelona (Scholes' goal), and also the last minute winner by RVP at City last season.
Describe a typical matchday for members of the branch…
We normally gather two hours or so before kick-off and talk about our predicted line-ups and how we expect United to perform. We also run a 'guess the score' competition, with half-time and full-time winners. Games are at pretty sociable times as we are three hours ahead during the summer and four in the winter.
Do United have a large following in the Middle East?
Absolutely, United are one of the most popular