Reds of the World – Mark Payne – France

Reds of the World will be a series of interviews with supporters from around the globe. If you’d like to participate, get in touch with me via Twitter, @kframpton.

We have a very special guest contributor to ROTW this time, a friend of my blog and a superb writer – Mark Payne.

Mark’s CV includes ESPN, United We Stand, his own blog [thedevilinme.com] and his excellent book Fergie’s Last Stand. The book details Sir Alex’s final campaign with United, offering terrific insight and a real ‘behind-the-scenes’ feel. Follow Mark on the Twitter box @MarkJPayne and for that matter, give his book a go: The Devil In Me, at Amazon.

Book jacket

Now, let’s catch up with Mark in the City of Lights as he answers our semi-famous 10 questions about supporting United.

  1. Who are you and where are you from?

My name is Mark Payne and I have been writing about United for almost ten years for a variety of people including ESPN and UWS. I am an Englishman abroad.

  1. How did you come to support Manchester United?

My father is a United fan as was his father before him. The two of them took my brother and I to a game when we were both under 10 and there has been no looking back. There was never any choice in the matter really.

  1. Who is your favourite current player and why?

I always try to support the players on the pitch, so this is a difficult choice. I shall go for Juan Mata though because he is exceptional with the fans, a lovely bloke and has the keys we need to unlock the opposition. He is a class act all round.

courtesy dailymail.co.uk
Mata signing – courtesy dailymail.co.uk
  1. Who is your favourite past player and why?

Mark Hughes was my idol as a kid and he always scored big goals in important games. The Oldham semi-final, the Rotterdam Cup Winners Cup final. I was gutted when he was sold.

Fergie, Hughes, Sir Matt - courtesy telegraph.co.uk
Fergie, Hughes, Sir Matt – courtesy telegraph.co.uk
  1. What is your favourite MUFC moment?

And Solskjaer has won it…

  1. Have you ever been to Old Trafford or seen the club live on tour?

I go to Old Trafford as often as I can and probably make between 5-10 games a season. As I write a lot about United I need to be plugged in. It can be difficult as I am abroad a lot but I watch every game.

IMG_0376

  1. How do you typically watch MUFC matches? And if United kick off at 1500 in Manchester, what time is it in your country?

At the moment, I live in France and there is only a time difference of one hour. Often I will watch the game in a pub with some friends. Occasionally, a dastardly French team will be playing at the same time so I may need to watch the game at home or negotiate with the publican.

  1. Is football the most popular sport in your country? What others do people watch?

Football is enormous in France and they have a textured history with lots of long-running provincial clubs the lifeblood of the game here. Rugby and tennis are also huge but for me football dominates above all else.

Ligue 1 action - courtesy ligue1.com
Ligue 1 action – courtesy ligue1.com
  1. Where will MUFC finish in the Premier League this season?

I would love to tell you that we will win the league. After five games, I can only see that happening if Manchester City implode in some way. It is possible, but United are far more likely to finish third than second or first.

  1. Will MUFC win a trophy this season? If yes, which one[s]?

My feeling is that City are strongest in the league. With regards to the Champions League, I highly doubt we would beat Barcelona or Madrid, or even PSG, in their current guises. I am happy to be proved wrong.

The domestic cup competitions are subject to fortune as they are pure knockout affairs. I would love to see United win the FA Cup, it has been too long.

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