United-mad Muckamore celebrate 20 years

Friday 15 September 2023 15:27

Over 60 members of the Muckamore Reds will be in attendance at Old Trafford this weekend, as the popular Northern Ireland supporters’ club celebrates its 20-year anniversary.

Founded in 2003 by 100 healthcare staff at an NHS facility, the group now boasts 670 members and brings scores of Reds to every home game.
“It is a fantastic achievement, and the branch is snowballing,” reflects secretary Bert Lewis.  “We’re a fairly small catchment area but, this year alone, we’ve 150-odd new members, which is absolutely bonkers. You can drive from one end of Northern Ireland to the other in two hours, but there must be 20-plus supporters’ clubs. It’s not an overly big place, but it’s got huge support.
“We don’t go out of our way to advertise or recruit new members – people come to us. Usually, anyone new within the supporters’ club has a friend or a family connection, and our ethos is that we’re a family club, a cross-community club.”
Northern Ireland’s Muckamore branch have been championing the Reds for 20 years, with their membership continuing to thrive.
Muckamore is a townland within the borough of Antrim, with most members hailing from within the Antrim-Randalstown area. The branch also has close links with others supporters’ clubs across the north, particularly Limavady, around 40 miles away.
“We wouldn’t have known those people without Manchester United and without being part of a supporters’ club,” enthuses Bert.

“But the thing I love most is bringing new families and kids onboard. That’s what makes me tick. I think back to bringing my sons for the first time, bringing my nephew... you can certainly see that buzz from families getting over for their first occasion at Old Trafford. Then they continue to go, year on year.”
Ahead of Saturday's pitchside presentation to mark 20 years, thoughts will inevitably turn to great footballing memories from the last two decades. But Bert says all the really important stuff happens beyond the white lines.
“What would life be like without Manchester United?” he laughs. “We’re in the middle of an international break and we’re having to watch golf and things like that – it’s ridiculous!”
Bert continues: “All my friends are people I’ve met through the supporters’ club. The chairman even bought the house next door to me! Supporters’ clubs are such an important part of Manchester United, and no other club has the global support that we have.”