We All Follow United: Malaysian fan Bat Jingulam

Tuesday 11 June 2024 06:00

Kicking off a new series of fan interviews, we spoke to Bat Jingulam from our Manchester United Supporters' Club (MUSC) in Malaysia...

Hi Bat, thanks for chatting with us! Tell us, how did you become the lead contact for the Malaysian supporters' club?

“Our last president, Mr Laurence, sadly passed away on 15 March 2014, 10 years ago. I will let you in on a little secret – and not many people know about the conversation I had with the late Laurence about this. After the 2009 Champions League final in Rome, before we flew back to Malaysia, among other things we talked about, Laurence told me to take over the presidency of the supporters' club from him and bring the administration of the club to Sabah, where I reside. At that time, I refused to talk about the matter, as I felt there was no other right person for the job.

“Fast-forward to 2014 and he suddenly passed away, and I think no-one had the idea of what to do next – especially how to communicate with the membership office about the events that had occurred, mainly to the shock of his passing! I remember being introduced to Michael Leneghan during one of the trips with Laurence to Old Trafford and I decided to notify him by email of what had transpired. From then on, I became the lead contact of the club. Manchester United has many legends, but in terms of the events that day and I believe the survival of our supporters' club, Michael is a legend for us, as he advised me on what to do next and his advice and help continues until this very day. Not the way I wanted for the baton to be passed to me, but due to the conversation I had with him in Rome, I believed that was the right thing to do at the time.
Bat (third from left) has been leading our supporters' club in Malaysia since a fellow fan passed away in 2014.
How popular is Manchester United in Malaysia?

“Is football the most popular sport? We only have two 'big' clubs in Malaysia: Manchester United and the small club that wears red from Merseyside. I believe they are equally supported here but my biased opinion is that we are always bigger than them. Football is by far the most popular sport in Malaysia.”

Do you host match screenings?

“We do host match screenings but due to the time difference over here, it only happens when we have an early kick-off as most of the matches are early mornings here.”
How often do you travel over to Manchester? Do you have a similar itinerary for each trip?

“We have members going over often, but since Covid, the numbers have decreased due to the high costs of flight tickets. I try to organise a trip for members once every season and so far, I believe the interest in going has increased. The itinerary is very similar for each trip as mostly those who join them are first-timers to Manchester.”

We’ve heard great things about your annual dinner – can you tell us more about it?

“Our annual dinners are something I am very proud of as we get around 1,200 people attending from all around Malaysia every time! That is 120 dinner tables and no other club in Malaysia have so far beaten us in terms of the attendance. I don’t think we can ever be beaten here. We have lucky draws for the dinners and the main prize is an all-expenses trip to watch a match at Old Trafford. For last years’ dinner we had 12 lucky draw winners for this, hence our big trip to Old Trafford for the Liverpool match in April.”
Our Malaysian branch members at one of their huge annual events.

What was your first game?

“My first game watching United was the Champions League final at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, in 2008. My first match at the Theatre of Dreams was in 1997 when England played against South Africa.”

What is your all-time greatest United XI?

“Peter Schmeichel; Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Denis Irwin; Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs; Eric Cantona, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo.”


Contact details for all of our branches around the world can be found here.