Evra's UTD Podcast is the ultimate lockdown treat

Friday 01 May 2020 22:30

We all need the odd lift during lockdown and a few weeks ago, on a drab Tuesday afternoon, I received one of the all-time great pick-me-ups.

A new episode of our UTD Podcast was being recorded and, as a member of the editorial team, I was asked to sit in on the video call with our interviewee, just in case any stories cropped up that might be of interest to our website readers.
No problem, I thought to myself. That'll be a nice hour or so, listening to some United chat. What better way to spend an afternoon, at a time when you can't go to Old Trafford and watch matches, or have a beer with your mates while talking about MUFC.
Then I found out the guest was Patrice Evra.
And then he started talking.
Cristiano Ronaldo is just one of many former colleagues that Evra has stories about.
It's no exaggeration to say that what followed was among the most entertaining two hours I've experienced during my time working at United or following the club as a fan.
We've had plenty of great guests on UTD Podcast already. Some are analytical and give great in-depth insight. Some are funny. Some are impressive in their professionalism and the way they represent the club. Some inspire you.
Evra did all of that, and more, in an epic chat with presenters Sam Homewood, Helen Evans and David May.
When you start an interview with a player – particularly a really famous one like Evra – your first thought is: what mood will they be in today? Are they up for speaking properly about their experiences? Or is this just an obligation they have to fulfil and get out of the way with as little fuss as possible?
Within seconds, it was abundantly clear that Evra wasn't going to hold anything back. We were going to get each and every anecdote that sprang to mind: Ferguson, Cantona, the Mafia, fights, Ronaldo, Real Madrid – you name it.
As I mentioned earlier, my job was simply to sit back and listen, making a note of any topics that I might be able to turn into a simple story to promote the podcast ahead of its release a few weeks down the line.
About 10 minutes in, I started panicking a little bit. After this call finishes, my editor's going to ask me: "Any angles for an article?" And I'm going to be utterly stumped.
How am I going to choose a mere one item from this torrential flow of amazing stories?
United Greats: We all love Patrice Evra Video

United Greats: We all love Patrice Evra

On his birthday, look back at Patrice Evra's best bits during his nine-season stay at United...

About 40 minutes in, we've not even reached the point in Evra's career where he joins United. I've got an Asda delivery coming in half an hour, for Christ's sake.
Then Pat's phone dies.
There's a brief conflab between the presenters and our technicians as they try to get him back into the video conference. 
While we're waiting, presenter Sam Homewood pauses and says to his colleagues: "This. Is. Absolutely. Incredible."
I momentarily worry that we might have reached a premature end but, soon enough, Evra's back. And then he simply cracks on in the same fashion as before.
Helen Evans is in tears at one point – joyful tears, I might add (Pat's polite throughout). And, inevitably, there's a few jaw-dropping moments that, sadly, you know will never see the light of day.
Get ready to hear some truly great tales about Sir Alex!
But, to be quite honest, there's barely a second within the finished product that isn't essential listening for any United fan that followed the club during Evra's eight-year spell in M16.
Even if you don't like football, you'll find this podcast completely absorbing. Pat's career was magnificent, but so is his attitude towards life and its tribulations. And he's been through more than almost all of us, during his tough rise from the mean streets of Les Ulis to the highest reaches of world football. 
I'm not going to go into any serious detail about the stories contained within, because you'll want to hear them fresh from the storyteller par excellence himself. Plus they'll no doubt be flooding the newspapers during the coming days, not to mention our Official App and the ManUtd.com homepage.
The Frenchman is one of just five players to have featured in five Champions League finals.
But all I can say is that listening to him talk, uncut, about one of the greatest periods in United's history was pure and absolute enjoyment, and I think fellow Reds will feel exactly the same next week when they download or stream the podcast for themselves.
We're all pining for that next 90-minute hit of live football right now. But until then, 90 minutes or so of Patrice Evra's UTD Podcast is the next best thing. 
As consolation prizes go, it's one hell of a treat.

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