Four tales of dedication from global Reds
Our club is a truly global phenomenon, with hundreds of millions of followers around the world and, at the last count, 206 official Manchester United Supporters’ Clubs (MUSC), from as far afield as Brazil and Australia.
The lengths to which some overseas fans go to support their beloved Reds go is incredible. Huddle around a TV in a warzone? Check. Make a 20-hour journey to Old Trafford? Sure. Risk missing your own wedding? No worries.
Here are four tales of passion and dedication from our international fanbase…
‘YOU CAN WATCH UNITED – BUT DON’T MISS OUR WEDDING!’
Dr Dasgupta, from MUSC Kolkata, was presented with a real dilemma when the club got in touch in 2015.
“It was an invitation to all supporters’ clubs to attend the bi-annual dinner at Old Trafford, on 4 December,” he recalls.
“I was getting married on 15 December and so I was in a fix, but my future wife said ‘Dude, get on the flight. Don’t miss this opportunity, but come back in time!' So I travelled to the Theatre of Dreams, attended the dinner, watched United play against West Ham, rushed back to India and made it in time to my wedding. The ceremony was filled with United decorations and I still get complimented on the idea of combining both my loves in a single frame and forever.”
“For our supporters’ club, watching United every week is the only way to forget the bad situations in our country,”says Alaa Saadi, who established MUSC Iraq in 2013.
“In Baghdad, we gather for every match except when the roads are blocked for security reasons and we usually meet in shopping malls as they are safer than any other places. Our club includes Arabs, Kurds, Muslims and Christians – we are friends and one family. We can’t experience the feeling of watching United at the Theatre of Dreams because getting a UK visa for Iraqi citizens is nigh-on impossible, but we travel to other countries where it’s easier – last season we went to Turkey to see United play Fenerbahce.”
“A typical journey for me to watch United play would be to travel two-and-a-half hours by plane from my hometown to Kuala Lumpur,”says Bat Jingulam, of MUSC Malaysia, which counts more than 1000 members.
“Then a direct flight takes about 15 hours and if I travel to London, it is another two hours by train to Manchester, so about 20 hours in total! At first it was a dream for me, but now it’s an addiction. When I’m planning a group trip, the happiness on our members’ faces when arriving at Old Trafford or watching the match makes the work to organise such trips all worthwhile.”
Mohammad Shakir, a member of the Abu Dhabi-based Red Maniacs supporters’ club, began following United 20 years ago in the Himalayas, where there was no live coverage of games.
“I used to buy second-hand football magazines, which were my way of staying updated – though I was a month behind!”he recalls.
“I got my first United shirt in 1998, exchanging it with a friend for some jewellery and a leather jacket I’d received as gifts. From an early age, I was obsessed – I skipped so many lunches at school just to buy United shirts. I now live in Dubai and have collection of over 150 United shirts. I treasure them all – each one has a story, sacrifice, happiness and pain behind it.”