Meet the Fan: Gibraltarian Red Stephen Peralta

Wednesday 13 December 2023 14:19

Old Trafford was an exotic dream to Stephen Peralta for many years, as a young boy growing up in distant Gibraltar.

But in 2023, Peralta is the chairman of his homeland’s official United supporters’ club, and a regular visitor to M16. He’s also the star of our latest handshake illustration, which graces the cover of our matchday programme, United Review, throughout December.
“I’ve got an elder brother, Albert, and from very young I followed his footsteps, because all the time he was talking about United,” Stephen begins. 
“This would have been when I was about eight years old. I was born in ’68, so [from] about 1976. It was difficult [to follow United] in those days – mainly it was magazines, radio and sometimes recorded highlights. I remember listening to the radio on Saturdays where they had all the English matches and all the scores.”
Stephen is chairman of our Gibraltar supporters' club.
In 1998, Peralta joined the supporters’ club (established in 1993), and his involvement with all things United intensified. Since then, he’s done it all – committee member, treasurer, chairman – as the branch’s driving force.
Keeping the supporters’ club afloat is such a full-time gig that football memories are hazy – it’s the way the Reds colour daily community life in Gibraltar that is most special to Stephen.
“I think my first game was Arsenal in the FA Cup, during the times of Ruud van Nistelrooy,” he says.
“My favourite match? Always when we beat Liverpool and City are the ones we enjoy most. One of my favourites was when we beat City with the goal of Wayne Rooney. Now we’re comparing it to Garnacho’s, but the goal of Rooney is never going to be forgotten. 
“When you play Liverpool or City, it’s just different!”
December is a big month for all Gibraltar Reds, with the recent Bournemouth game marking the branch’s 30th anniversary. 
How fitting, then, that Stephen is the fan to appear on this month’s UR covers. Gibraltar might be small, but its passion for United is anything but.