EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

20/07/2012 09:05, Report by Nick Coppack
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Bailey: Reds are massive in SA

South-African born goalkeeper Gary Bailey represented United between 1978 and 1987, and ManUtd.com's Nick Coppack caught up with him during the Reds' stay in Durban...

How have you enjoyed being on tour with Manchester United?

It's been brilliant. It's almost like being a young player, starting over again because I haven't been involved much with the club for the last 20-odd years. To see how it's changed in that time is incredible. It's a massive business now and, having being in business myself for a while, I really appreciate that side of things. As a player you see the footballing side - you play a game and you move on. Now, though, I'm seeing the commercial activiities and the interaction with sponsors. The behind-the-scenes set-up is world-class.

Has the reaction of South African people towards United been as you expected?
Yes, and more so. To sell out friendly games in Durban and Cape Town is a big achievement That doesn't happen very often. It seems to me that United's profile has got stronger over time. I suppose that's down to the team's continued success. And even though they didn't win the league last season we put up an unbelievable fight and I think everybody appreciated that and enjoyed it. United is certainly massive in South Africa. Whether it's as big on the rest of the continent, I'm not so sure. That's one of the club's challenges. Arsenal and Chelsea have had a lot of African players in the last 10 years so they've probably edged ahead of United in that respect. People still love United, though, and you see a lot of people wearing the shirt throughout Africa.

What did you make of the first pre-season friendly, against AmaZulu FC?
If you win on tour that's always good. I remember losing games on tour and that's really embarrassing. I enjoyed seeing a lot of the youngsters in action. I thought Scott Wootton played very well at the back and I thought Anders [Lindegaard], in goal, was very solid. I was very impressed with him. [Dimitar] Berbatov's touches

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