My United: Flogging Molly frontman Dave King

Friday 13 January 2023 08:30

Dave King's career has taken him all over the world – most notably to Los Angeles, where he formed the Irish-American punk band Flogging Molly in 1997.

But the Dublin-born musician has never lost touch with his roots; roots which inspired a huge love for Manchester United during his childhood.

Last year, the official club magazine, Inside United, caught up with King to talk about the unique connection between the club and its Irish support.

The singer also told us about meeting Sir Alex Ferguson, the painful birth of his United tattoo and the enduring legend of George Best...
King (centre) and Flogging Molly released their seventh studio album, Anthem, in 2022.
Why did you first start supporting United?
“My father was a lifelong United fan, so I was born a United fan. Enough said.”
Who was your first United hero?
“George Best. He was everything a young lad wanted to be. Even as a boy I could tell there was something different about him. He was a rebel, an outsider, a genius. He was rock and roll.”
Can you remember your first match?
“The first time was with my father. I think I was about eight years old. I remember Best taking the ball from the halfway line and somehow putting it in the back of the net. It was also my first pint with my dad... only joking!”
Is United’s Irish connection still important?
“Absolutely. I remember when the late Frank O’Farrell was the manager (1971-72). I felt very proud. Even though results didn’t go our way, I felt a great connection to the club, as I’m sure did most Irish people. And then of course the players, the likes of Denis Irwin, Paul McGrath, John O’Shea, Kevin Moran, Roy Keane, and even an old neighbour of mine, Liam O’Brien, played for a couple of seasons. Yes, there will always be a bond between United and Ireland.”
Is it true that you have a United crest tattooed on your chest?
“I’d always wanted to wear the crest, with or without a jersey. About 20-odd years ago while on tour, we ran into a friend of ours called Rob Hostetter. He’s a tattoo artist and I decided that the time was right to do it. However, Rob is Dutch and a huge Ajax fan. He took great pleasure in making it as painful as he possibly could. But now we have Ten Hag, maybe I’ll have the last laugh.”

Are there any other United fans in Flogging Molly?
“Yes, my beautiful wife and bandmate Bridget is also a United fan. We hope to spend many a season at Old Trafford in the years to come.”

Which team do you most want United to beat?
“Ajax. That tattoo really hurt!”
Frank O'Farrell became the first and, to date, only Irish manager in United history in 1971.
Do you have a favourite United shirt?
“Thanks to Bridget I have nearly every jersey for every season. Unfortunately, I don’t fit in them like I used to. My favourite is the blue 1968 European Cup final jersey. It brings back so many memories as a kid, and one of the last with my father.”
Who are your favourite current players?
“I’d have to say David De Gea. Without him things could have been even worse. But honestly, we didn’t see the spirit or passion that was needed from players that put on the United jersey last season.”
Flogging Molly have written some epic ‘story’ songs like The Hand of John L Sullivan – have you ever been tempted to write one about United?
“Believe it or not, The Hand of John L Sullivan was originally called The Hand of Alex Ferguson, but I felt it didn’t do him justice. I’m sure he’d agree.”
Dave managed to shake Sir Alex's hand on the day the Scot celebrated his 25th anniversary as United boss in 2011.
What is your greatest United memory?
“Myself and Bridget were lucky enough to be at Old Trafford for Sir Alex’s 25th anniversary at the club. We were sat by the dugout, and as he made his way back from making his speech on the pitch, fans with programmes were looking for his autograph. I didn’t have a pen, so I said: ‘Sir Alex, can I just shake your hand?’ He turned back and shook my hand – so I was the man with the plan to shake the hand of Alex Ferguson. Thank you, Sir Alex!”
What are your hopes for the new season?
“For a start, the manager Erik ten Hag will need time, and lots of it. Hopefully he’ll believe in our youth academy as well as buying the right players, with the right attitude for the team. He has a tough task at hand, but hopefully he’ll bring the swagger back to United.”
Finally, if you had a time machine which player or team from United’s past would you go to see play?
“That’s easy! The 1968 European Cup squad. Charlton, Best, Law. What dreams are made of!”


“Ryan Giggs’s goal against Arsenal in the FA cup semi-final was amazing (1999). Ole’s in the Champions League final, for obvious reasons (also 1999). But I think my favourite is probably Rooney’s volley against Newcastle at Old Trafford in 2005. I loved the fact that he was arguing with the ref at the same time, kept his eye on the ball, and then – bang! – back of the net. Brilliant.”