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.
A special treat this time out as we head to the Mediterranean island chain of Malta – home of the oldest MUFC Supporters Club on the planet!
Though it’s roughly 1500 miles from Manchester to Malta, there has always been a special relationship between the club and this group of supporters. It can’t just be the terrific weather, but there’s a loyalty there that says a lot about both groups.
Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Silvio Scicluna. I am 46 years old and live in the town of H’Attard in Malta.
How did you come to support Manchester United?
I come from a traditional MUFC-supporting family from my father’s side so I have been supporting the Reds since my early childhood, with my passion increasing year on year. My earliest recollection is probably following the 1976 FA Cup final against Southampton on the radio as a seven-year-old and feeling very disappointed that we lost.
Who is your favourite current player and why?
My favourite current player is probably Juan Mata. He is by far our most intelligent and technically gifted. When he’s not playing we struggle to be creative.
Who is your favourite past player and why?
To name just one favourite player from the past is very difficult since over the four decades I have been following United we have been lucky to have had so many top class professionals.
In the seventies, I remember having the likes of Macari, Pearson, Hill and Coppell.
The eighties favourite was definitely Robson but the nineties probably provided me with my two all time favourites that I still can’t split to this day.
One of them is undoubtedly the club legend that is Ryan Giggs who will probably end being nicknamed ‘Mr. Manchester United’, and rightly so.
The other is obviously that missing piece of the jigsaw that was Eric Cantona, the catalyst to our unprecedented successes. He mesmerised me so much I ended up agreeing with my wife to name our first born daughter, now 20 years old, Erika (although she will say that she chose it because she liked it as a name and not because of my idolising Cantona!)
What is your favourite MUFC moment?
Choosing my favourite MUFC moment is easy, really. How can anything compare to being present at Camp Nou in 1999 to witness first hand those incredible scenes of the Champions League final against Bayern Munich where the magical treble was completed? I literally couldn’t believe what was unfolding in front of my eyes in those mad couple of minutes.
Have you ever been to Old Trafford or seen the club live on tour?
I have been to Old Trafford several times.
My latest visit was for this year’s opening game against Tottenham where we won 1-0 in a largely uneventful match. This was in complete contrast to a couple of other matches I saw live at the Theatre of Dreams.
My first was a baptism of fire, as they say, a 5-0 win over Norwich in 1979 and I was also present for the 6-1 thrashing of Arsenal in 2001. Moreover I have been lucky enough to be at Wembley for the 1990 FA Cup final and also the replay win over Crystal Palace, the 1994 FA Cup final win over Chelsea and the 1999 FA Cup final win over Newcastle.
I have also been to two away matches to see United. On was in a 1-0 win at Watford in 1988 and the other was the only time I have witnessed a United defeat, 1-2 against Arsenal at Highbury in 1987 I think. So as you can see I seem to be quite a lucky charm for the Reds!
How do you typically watch MUFC matches? And if United kick off at 1500 in Manchester, what time is it in your country?
Nowadays I watch all MUFC matches in the comfort of my own home. However, this wasn’t always the case.
In the days before cable television in homes I used to go to watch matches at the MUSC Malta branch of which I have been a member for as long as I can remember and which is the oldest MUFC supporters club in the world – and also in several bars that had a satellite system.
Luckily Malta is only 1 hour ahead of UK time so the Saturday afternoon games start at 16:00 for us.
Is football the most popular sport in your country? What others do people watch?
Football is definitely the most popular sport in Malta. Nothing else comes close. And fans are split down the middle in supporting English clubs (and England) and Italian clubs (and Italy). But MUFC is by far the most supported club on the island.
Where will MUFC finish in the Premier League this season?
I would like to say that we can win the league this season but I have the feeling that we will be a bit short. I’m hoping that we can finish at least 2nd or 3rd and qualify directly for the group stages of the Champions League.
Will MUFC win a trophy this season? If yes, which one[s]?
This year I am hoping for good cup runs domestically, especially the FA Cup. It has been too long since we last lifted it in 2004. And we shouldn’t snub the Capital One Cup too. Winning it would be Louis van Gaal’s first major trophy with MUFC and could serve as a springboard for further successes.