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’re back to South Asia this time on ROTW, with a trip to Pakistan. This extremely diverse land is home to close to 200 million people, where almost 20 languages are spoken and there is a very well organized group of supporters who host MUFC screenings in four major cities – Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, and Peshawar – and sometimes more!
Our host this week is Syed, who hails from Peshawar and looks after the social media for the Supporters Club. Give him a follow @syedmuhdowais. He was kind enough to answer our questions and was keen to put in a good word for all the folks who help keep their club ticking! They are on Facebook and Twitter, of course.
Chairman: Ismaeel Tayyab Farooqi | General Secretary: Shehroze Ahmad
Social Media Team:
Danial Ali, Farrukh Bilal, Salman Baloch, Soha Naveed Choudary, Kunwar Muhammad Khalid, Hammad Shakil, Omer Iqbal, Muzaffar Afridi, Mehmood Masood, Arbab Iftikhar, Aneeq Rehman.
Who are you and where are you from?
I’m Syed Muhammad Owais, 22 years of age and I belong to Peshawar, Pakistan. I’m an official member of the supporters club and administrator of the Facebook page and Twitter handle.
How did you come to support Manchester United?
I’m supporting United since 1998. I was recovering from a very long illness so didn’t have school and used to stay up late and watch football. I loved David Beckham and since he played for United I started watching matches at that time and have been a fan ever since.
Who is your favourite current player and why?
It has to be Anthony Martial. When the deal was announced everyone in the media criticized the fee and termed him not good enough to justify that price tag. I defended him since that day and that goal against Liverpool was just superb.
Who is your favourite past player and why?
Cristiano Ronaldo. Growing up and watching him go from a raw young talent to becoming the best player in the world and the way you just knew something was going to happen when he had the ball.
What is your favourite MUFC moment?
I’ll mention two here, cannot choose one
The comeback against City in the Community Shield from 2-0 down to winning 3-2 in 2011. We had a very young team and to come back was amazing, especially the equalizer which Nani scored from the 1-2 passes with Cleverley.
RVP’s winner against City at the Etihad in 2012. We lost the league on goal difference last season and after that going to the Etihad and scoring an injury time winner was just amazing. It proved we meant business and weren’t going to lose the league on goal difference again.
Have you ever been to Old Trafford or see the club live on tour?
Not yet. Plan to see them in action soon.
How do you typically watch MUFC matches? And If United kickoff at 15:00 in Manchester, what time is it in your country?
Before the fan club, I used to watch the match at home in my lounge. Ever since, our team arranges screenings in different cities (4-6 cities depending on the nature of the match).
The time here is 4 hours ahead of Manchester. A match at 15:00 in Manchester would start at 19:00 here. The Champions League games start at 23:45 and after daylight saving at 00:45.
Is football the most popular sport in your country? What others do people watch?
It’s the second most popular in the country. Cricket is the most popular sport here and then there’s our national sport hockey. Football is on the rise with our national team’s captain Kaleem Ullah plying his trade in the United States [with Sacramento Republic FC of the USL].
Where will MUFC finish in the Premier League this season?
My heart says first, my mind says second. The Premier League is very unpredictable this time around with some freak results. We are still not the finished article and by the time we are, we will win the league. Whether that happens this season or next that remains to be seen.
Will MUFC win a trophy this season? If yes, which one(s)?
Yes. Capital One Cup and possibly the Premier league [fingers crossed].