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.
Welcome back to ROTW, where this time we are headed to one of the world’s most ancient and historic places – Egypt!
The Cairo metro area is home to more than 20 million people, so you know that there are a few Manchester United supporters about the place. Our host, Mohamed is the gaffer of the local supporters club – the group has just celebrated its first anniversary since being officially recognized by the Club.
Let’s see what he has to say about his more than twenty years of supporting the team.
Who are you and where are you from?
My name’s Mohamed Seif, originally from Cairo, Egypt. I’m the founder of the Official Manchester United Supporters’ Club in Egypt among other things.
How did you come to support Manchester United?
I started supporting United in the 93/94 season when I was about 10 years old. My neighbor was a United fan and he was the same age as I was, so we supported the team together and the love never stopped.
Who is your favourite current player and why?
My current favourite player in the United squad at the moment has to be Anthony Martial. He’s probably the only player currently in the team to make me feel the same way I felt when Ronaldo first made his debut in a United shirt, taking on players effortlessly. There are a lot of players who are influential and I have a liking for, from Rooney to Herrera and Schweinsteiger, all top players and leaders on the pitch.
Who is your favourite past player and why?
It has to be Cristiano Ronaldo. We had a ton of quality players from Cantona and Becks to Keane, Scholes and Giggsy – but Ronaldo tops the list hands down for me. I still remember the goosebumps I got and jumping up and down with joy after the first couple of step-overs in his Bolton debut. The first player with proper flair since Cantona in my time of supporting and watching United games. Top player.
What is your favourite MUFC moment?
Well, countless moments really. From the jubilation of last minute goals to tear-jerking moments, we as fans have been blessed with lots of moments to savor. Topping the list is not the final in Barcelona because that’s a given, but I was in proper tears of joy after we beat Chelsea by penalties in Moscow. Absolutely majestic.
Have you ever been to Old Trafford or seen the club live on tour?
Apart from being the founder of the official supporters’ club in Egypt, I’m a season ticket holder. Since I’m currently residing in Cairo, it’s not as easy going to the games, but I travel to watch the team live at Old Trafford from two to three times a season.
How do you typically watch MUFC matches? And if United kick off at 1500 in Manchester, what time is it in your country?
The best place to watch the games is through the events organized by the supporters’ club in Egypt. The atmosphere is brilliant with at least 40 die-hard United fans cheering on the team together. There’s only a one hour difference between Egypt and England, so a 15:00 kick-off is a 16:00 here. If you’re ever in Cairo, make sure you check out the Facebook page for all the upcoming screenings and events.
Is football the most popular sport in your country? What others do people watch?
Football is definitely the number one most popular sport in Egypt. A country of 90 million has at least 85% of the population interested some way or another in football. Do the math.
Where will MUFC finish in the Premier League this season?
Fingers crossed we finish top. Realistically speaking though we’ll be challenging for the top spot – but City and Arsenal will definitely be in it till the end. Think we might just finish second behind our noisy neighbors.
Will MUFC win a trophy this season? If yes, which one[s]?
I’m keeping my hopes high and saying one. The Premier League.
If you have a second, check out the excellent cartoon artwork that is featured on the MUSC Egypt Twitter feed and give them a follow while you’re there. Here’s a sample, and Mohamed – please give the artist a shout out for me!