Fortune's message to Reds around the world
Manchester United Academy coach and former player Quinton Fortune has today delivered an uplifting message to fans, emphasising the power of gratitude and healthy living at this time.
Speaking directly to the camera, Fortune tells fans: “I just wanted to say to you guys that I know it is not an easy time, being isolated in the house, but still we have to be grateful and that is one of the things that I really wanted to speak about, having gratitude and waking up with gratitude every morning. Once you have that in your mind and your heart, then everything else will take of itself.
“We are still able to come outside for exercise to stretch our legs. If I may give you guys advice, use this time to read. I am very fortunate that I now get to spend some time with my family and my kids especially, as when we go back to training the hours are long. I get to Facetime my mum, which I probably wasn't doing enough before, so all of these little things have come out by being at home.
“Use your time wisely and read a lot. I know we spend a lot of time on social media, which I understand, I am guilty of that myself, but I try to make a conscious decision not to spend so much time on there, by reading. Exercise is very important as well. Eat good food, healthy good, drink a lot of water. If you use meditation then use that. I try to pray, I am not the best, I need to pray more, but if I can give you guys some advice then just approach every day with gratitude.
“I have just spoken to my brother now in South Africa and things are really difficult there, because they are on lockdown and are not even allowed to leave the house. The people there have no food to eat. We are still very fortunate where we can order food online and go to the shop.
“There, people are in a really difficult situation so think of others, think of all of the doctors and nurses of the NHS, the amazing work they are doing, all of the doctors and nurses around the world, they are doing amazing world. So, just be grateful with every opportunity that we have in life.
“That is my advice for you guys. Thank you.”
Fortune’s words reminded us of his excellent interview with Inside United magazine, which recounted his playing career at Old Trafford as a versatile and valuable member of Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad. Scroll down to reflect on the South African’s time as a Red…
My transfer: “I was playing for Atletico Madrid when my agent told me he had been speaking to somebody at Manchester United and had arranged a trial. I couldn't believe it because United had won the Treble only two or three months before that, and I had watched United play against Bayern Munich in Barcelona in the 1999 Champions League final. I obviously wanted to play in England, but I thought the approach was a bit strange. I think my team-mates at Atletico thought it was strange, too! I went to Carrington in the summer of 1999 and the rest is history.”
My favourite game: “There are a few that stand out but playing against Milan both at home and at the San Siro [in 2005 in the Champions League] was amazing. I got the opportunity to play against footballers who I used to have on my wall as a kid, so it took me a few minutes to calm down. It was more than a dream – it was madness.”
My favourite goal: “The one I scored against Panathinaikos at Old Trafford in the Champions League [16 September 2003]. We won 5-0 with other goals from Mikael Silvestre, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Nicky Butt and Eric Djemba-Djemba [Quinton lashed a loose ball into the top corner left-footed from just inside the box].”
My toughest opponent: “Everyone... because everyone wanted to beat us.”
The best player I played with: “Roy Keane. He sacrificed himself for the team and he was a true leader. He would die for United. Keane always gave his best and he expected everyone else to do the same. He got the best out of everyone in his own special way. Paul Scholes was unbelievable, too.”
My best friends at United: “I had lots of great friends at the club, including Tim Howard, Paul Scholes, Dwight Yorke, Juan Sebastian Veron, Cristiano Ronaldo and Laurent Blanc.”
My best United memory: “The truth is every time I put on that Red jersey. I was honoured to play for United.”
My United departure: “It was just before the 2006/07 campaign, when the club let me go. That was a very sad time for me and I had been struggling with injuries. I never wanted to leave but there is only so much the boss can do for you.”
What I learned at United: “Winning. I thought I knew about winning until I joined United. Everybody wants to beat you. Once you're at United the manager doesn't even need to tell you. It’s instilled into you every day at Carrington. Training for us was like a game and you wanted to succeed at it. There is a winning mentality throughout United.”
What United means to me: “It's a special place. I was very fortunate to play for such a special club. When I was around five years old my dad told me about great players such as George Best. So to be able to play on the same pitch as all the legends like him, the Busby Babes and Sir Bobby Charlton, plus play under Sir Alex Ferguson, was unbelievable. I am just a kid from Cape Town and I ended up at Old Trafford. It's beyond your imagination.”
This interview first appeared within the pages of Inside United magazine.