Berbatov: Malta is a special place for United

Monday 22 January 2024 16:59

Dimitar Berbatov was reminded of Manchester United's global appeal when he travelled to Malta for the latest episode of UTD Podcast.

On a trip arranged by Visit Malta, United's official destination partner, former striker Berbatov joined presenter Sam Homewood in taking a tour of the Mediterranean island and meeting members of our oldest supporters' club.

The Maltese branch held its first committee meeting on 4 February 1959, after founding member John Calleja wrote to Matt Busby seeking his permission to form a group. It was, of course, almost exactly a year after the Munich Air Disaster, in which 23 lives were lost, including those of eight United players and three members of club staff.

"Our supporters' club started after the tragedy of Munich," acknowledges Joseph Tedesco, the current president of our MUSC in Malta, during the podcast.

"Many people thought it was the end [of United]. Actually,that terrible day, 6 February 1958, was the beginning of so many things. One of those things was our supporters' club which has now been going on for 65 years."

Malta special with Dimitar Berbatov


Welcome to another episode of the UTD Podcast. This time we're in Malta with Dimitar Berbatov! In this episode, we learn about this football-loving country and why it has such strong links to English football and Manchester United. We visit the famous Manchester United Supporters' Club in Malta (the oldest in the world) to watch a match and meet the people that make it so special. We also learn about domestic football in Malta with Hibernians and Malta national team player Bjorn Kristensen. Thank you to Visit Malta for making this podcast possible. If you'd like to write to the only official Manchester United Podcast, then email: Producer: Nick Thomson Executive Producer: Scott Martin

By visiting the branch headquarters in Msida and watching a United game on TV there, Berbatov followed in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson and other legends such as Denis Law, Paddy Crerand, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, who have all helped the Malta supporters' club to celebrate landmark occasions in the past.

"It's always nice to meet fans all around the world, it just shows you how big United is globally," said the Bulgarian.

"I remember one of my first trips with the club, it was in Asia and we were like The Beatles going there with everybody screaming and going crazy.

"Then you realise that United is so big around the world and this trend just keeps growing and growing."

As well as featuring the voices of several fans in Malta, including Joe Glanville - known locally as 'Mr Manchester United' - the podcast also hears from one of the island's professional footballers, Bjorn Kristensen.

The 30-year-old midfielder plays for Malta's national team and one of its leading clubs, Hibernians - whose ground United Women played at earlier this month, in a friendly against PSV Eindhoven as part of a warm-weather training camp.

Kristensen spoke to Berbatov and Homewood about his career, including the experience of playing against former Reds duo Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard in a youth game.

"Most people in Malta support either an Englishside or an Italian side," said Bjorn. "We have a lot of United supporters here.It's great."

Highlights: United Women v PSV Video

Highlights: United Women v PSV

🎬 HIGHLIGHTS | Watch the goals and key chances from United Women's meeting with PSV Eindhoven in Malta...

Berbatov could not agree more. Before catching a flight back to his native Bulgaria, the former fans' favourite at Old Trafford messaged his co-presenter Homewood to say:

"Thanks to you and the people of Malta for having me. I've really enjoyed my time here. This country is a special place for Manchester United Football Club."

The UTD Podcast episode featuring Dimitar and our friends in Malta is available to stream here now.

More on United and Malta: