Simon Delaney, presenter of MUTV’s documentary about United’s relationship with Ireland, explains why Green Devils is a must-watch...
As a lifelong Manchester United fan and an MUTV subscriber, the opportunity to make a film about Ireland’s love affair with the club was a great privilege and a real labour of love for me.
It all came about last year when I was guest host of the biggest talk radio show in Ireland, RTE 2FM, and I interviewed Phil Matthews, executive producer of When the Floodlights Fade on MUTV. I happened to say that if MUTV ever make any documentaries with an Irish slant, then I’m their man to present it! Lo and behold, Phil contacted me the very next day and, after some discussion, the concept of Green Devils was born.
We wanted to investigate the link between United and Ireland, discovering why hundreds of thousands of Irish people are so loyal to a football club in the north west of England. We also decided to create an all-time XI from the 66 Irishmen who have played for the Reds. Let me tell you, it was not an easy job! There’ll certainly be a lot of debate about my selection because I’ve left some seriously good players out, but hey, you make your bed and lie in it. You’ll have to tune in and watch Green Devils to see who I’ve picked though!
This is an educational programme that opens your eyes to another world. It's an incredible historical tale that traces United’s links all the way back to the 19th century, just after the famine of the 1860s when Irish people immigrated to Manchester. That’s why there have always been Irish voices, both on and off the pitch at Old Trafford, and long may that continue.
Green Devils will be first broadcast on MUTV on Saturday 15 March at 21:00 GMT. A full interview with Simon Delaney can be found in the new issue of Inside United magazine.
More: Watch a clip of Simon speaking to United legend Harry Gregg