Kuszczak: I scream with the fans now
Tomasz Kuszczak says he gets as much of a thrill watching Manchester United sat with the fans as he did when he represented the Reds on the pitch.
Speaking on the latest MUTV Group Chat, our former goalkeeper spoke passionately and with great fondness about his six years at the club, insisting that “without United, my career would be ordinary”.
The stopper also revealed he still resides in Manchester after briefly moving away during spells later in his career with Brighton & Hove Albion, Wolves and Birmingham City, and said he still loves nothing more than cheering on the Reds from his seat at Old Trafford, sat among the United faithful.
“I’ve got two season tickets and I love sitting with the fans,” he declared. “I’m just in normal seats, not far from the away fans and I can go and shout the team on. I love it, I love it, it’s great. Sometimes, my old friends like Wes [Brown] say come and sit with us [in another part of the ground] but I’m like ‘no, I want to be in my seat with the fans!’ I’m screaming from a different angle now, I used to scream from the goal, now I scream from the stands!
“I’m enjoying my retirement,” he added. “I prepared for this moment, I always have things to do. I’m in the property industry of building houses and flats, as well as football that’s always been my passion, to develop things like this. I did some of my coaching badges and I also went to university and finished a degree in journalism, believe it or not, but, at the moment, I’m focused on my company and developing houses and flats in Poland, so I travel a lot. The family are still very happy in Manchester and we’re all happy and healthy. I see my friends like Wes from time to time and it’s always nice to see friendly faces from my time at United.”
Reflecting on 61 appearances for the club, including spots on the bench in three Champions League finals, one of which was that famous night in Moscow in 2008, Tomasz said: “I heard Sir Alex [Ferguson] say once that whenever you leave United, you’ll always miss it and he was right. No other club in the world can give you what Manchester United gives you. Obviously, you sometimes have to move your career on by going somewhere else but I feel what he said. I was a United fan from the very beginning and my motivation and dreams were based on United and I had the pleasure to be in the club, it’s where everyone wants to be, the best club in the world.
“It was up and down – there were difficult times for me from time to time because obviously my ambitions were very high, like everyone else at the club and there were times of disappointment when I didn’t get to play as many games as I would have liked. But the most important part of it was that I played for a team which gave me great memories. Without Manchester United, my career would be ordinary. Every day, when I wake up I remember how many great times I had here and I met so many great people and Sir Alex gave me the opportunity to see football in a different way. Every ex-player will tell you the same thing, Manchester United is a family and always will be.”
Standing in Kuszczak’s way for a regular starting position was the great Edwin van der Sar and, while the former Poland international would loved to have featured in more matches, he says working with van der Sar and winning trophies ultimately ensured Kuszczak only has great memories of life as a Red.
“Any second on the pitch gave me so much pleasure,” he insisted. “I was always very ambitious and I always trained hard so I could be ready. But Edwin was one of the most extraordinary goalkeepers in the world in the history of football. When I arrived at the club, he was 11 years older than me and, when I was a kid, he had already won the Champions League with Ajax.
“For me to see a guy like that in training every day and work with him, was something special. I just came to the club to try to play my part and I’m grateful for the opportunity I had.
“People used to say to me maybe you should go and play somewhere else, where you can get more chances, but I always said that one game for Manchester United is like 100 games for another club; that was my philosophy. You could look back on your career and say you played four or five hundred games for a club, but what really counts is how many games did you play for the best club in the world?
“I had the pleasure to do that. We won trophies too – the Premier League, the Champions League, the League Cup, the Community Shield… I have so many medals and I feel so lucky. You can say whatever you want but Manchester United is the best club. End of.”
We'll have a new episode of MUTV Group Chat at 16:00 BST, every day from Monday to Friday. Some of our recent guests have included Odion Ighalo, Ryan Giggs and Game of Thrones actor John Bradley.
Look out for more special guests before the end of the week!