Why I'm a Red: Fans' Forum rep John Massey

Tuesday 13 December 2022 07:00

In our new series, 'Why I'm a Red', we ask supporters to pick one word which embodies their devotion to United and explain why the club is so precious to them. Our first guest is lifelong fan John Massey, who also sits on the Fans' Forum...

It might sound silly or dramatic or whatever, but I've always found Old Trafford just a magic place to be. That's my opinion, but it's also true!
It's magic to be there, to see the games, to see my team, to see United. And there's the history I have with it, having been able to go for the many years that I've had so far.
Of course, I'm biased, because I've watched them for so long! But it's still, to me, a magic place to go.
Roger Byrne holds the First Division trophy aloft, at the end of John's first season as a match-going Red.
I felt it straight away. As soon as we started to go. This was 1955. I was 13 then; I've just touched 80 now! I was a schoolboy on the Stretford End.
I hadn't even seen them win a championship then. We actually won it in my first season of going, 1955/56. I started watching mid-September, mid-October 1955.
The Busby Babes were beginning to emerge in those days, but they didn't fully emerge until ’56 and ’57. That was a privilege, and part of the magic. Of course, they weren't much older than I was at the time! And so you feel almost part of it. When the crash happened, you felt as though some of your mates had died, not that I knew them at all, personally. 
I think the memory of the Babes has added to the special feeling around United, definitely. The general history of the club too, but particularly in relation to the Munich Air Disaster.
The tragedy of it, and then moving it on the way we did, winning the Champions League – or the European Cup as we used to know it – just 10 years later was quite remarkable.
Then there's all the players I've seen. People like Paul Scholes. You think of that night against Barcelona, when he scored that absolutely wonderful goal and we won 1-0 in the Champions League semi-final.
Ronaldo and Messi were on the same pitch that night, of course. In the first minute, Messi went through United and Scholes fouled him in a typical Scholes bad tackle, fortunately just outside the penalty area! It could have been a definite penalty if it had been another yard inside the penalty area.
Then he goes and wins the game!
Paul Scholes was wonderful, a wonderful player. I remember a game at Aston Villa, when he scored a goal from outside the penalty area. It dropped to him from a corner and, jeepers... What a player.
There's many more. David Beckham. Just wonderful, wonderful players. They're all part of the excitement of going to Old Trafford. Seeing all these greats, in the flesh, right in front of you.
All The Goals: Paul Scholes Video

All The Goals: Paul Scholes

All The Goals | Watch all 155 United finishes by the incomparable Paul Scholes...

And sometimes you feel there's a divine influence over the club.
Two of my favourite games would be the 1999 Champions League final (obviously!) and the 1996 FA Cup final win over Liverpool. Both were won by last-minute goals.
I remember that game against Fulham in 2007 when Ronaldo scored a crucial goal in the last few minutes.
Late goals have had such a significant influence on our success over the years, in helping us win particular trophies.
I'll use that word again: it almost seemed like magic, the way that some things have happened to United like they have.
Old Trafford and family are at the heart of John's support for the club.
I grew up in Stockton Heath, just near Warrington, and I've moved around the country a lot in the years since, but United has always stayed with me. I've always continued going to games.
I've got two daughters, and both support United. My eldest, who's now 50, I first took her when she was eight years old. She loves it. She didn't go regularly at eight! But she's got an executive season ticket in The 100 Club now and goes every week like me.
She's been to Moscow, she's been to Porto, Barcelona and so on. She's as keen as I am. She will definitely carry on the family tradition. My younger daughter is a keen fan too. 
And so it carries on. I'm a bit long in the tooth now, but I still go to every home game, of course, and a few away games.
The support for United will continue through my family. And I think the magic will too.