Earlier this season Manchester United’s official monthly magazine, Inside United, caught up with Michael Carrick and Bryan Robson to discuss what it takes to succeed in the heart of the Reds’ engine room.
Given both men are from the North East, talk inevitably turned to Newcastle United, the side they both supported as boys and the Reds’ opponents on Boxing Day.
Here’s a short excerpt from that interview:
Inside United: Michael, how much were you aware of Bryan when you were growing up?
Michael Carrick: He was a legend, yeah. Of course he was. I grew up as a Geordie, though – a Newcastle fan – so I didn't naturally take to Manchester United players. But Bryan was obviously a massive player for England as well so I think most football fans admired him.
Bryan Robson: It was the same for me as a kid. If you didn’t play for Newcastle then I wasn’t interested! If somebody had said to me when I was 14 or 15 that I would support another club in the future that wasn't Newcastle then I would have laughed.
MC: I know what you mean. In the North East football almost exists in a bubble and it's hard to see outside of that.
BR: When I grew up rugby wasn't very big in that part of the world and nor was cricket. Football was the only option and that's why the people up there are so fanatical.
It’s a long time since Newcastle have won a major trophy...
BR: It was the Fairs Cup in 1968/69. I was there! I went with my dad. We won the first leg 3-0 and then the second leg 3-2, against Ujpest from Hungary.
MC: My Dad still talks about that! It just goes to show how long it's been. Newcastle are a huge club and the following is passionate, even though it's been so long since they've won any silverware. But the people up there just live and breathe football – it's all anybody talks about and in many ways the mood of the people there is dictated by whether