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Manchester United - Opposition Views


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Firstly what is your name?

My name is Matthew!

Tell us about your passion for Manchester United.

Well, if we're looking for a starting point, it's a bit hard for me pin it down. Supporting United wasn't really in the family besides one uncle, who was never a die-hard fan anyway. I grew up loving football first playing from the age of 6, and watching the Premier League highlights show back in the day when it was on SBS was the highligh of my weekends. I was always fascinated by the goalscorers and the one I loved more than most was Andy Cole. If I had to pick a time where my passion for United blossomed it would be watching Andy Cole on a Sunday night as he terrorized defenses up and down the country.

My love for the club really blossomed in the 2001/2002 season though, when Premier League football began being televised live and in full on pay TV. Dad's a Hammers fan and at the time enjoyed watching full games, so I would stay up late and watch all the football too, mainly on the holidays when I had no school to worry about. It wasn't strictly United I watched, but that was the game I hung out for. Being 10 or 11, I wasn't allowed to watch them all, but I watched quite a few and that is my first real vivid memory of supporting United. We lost out on the title that season, coming in third place. I wasn't old enough to really understand that, I just enjoyed watching United. Van Nistlerooy and Beckham quickly became heroes.

The season after was a little better, but again, it still wasn't really hitting home the importance of the league title. In fact, I barely looked at the Premier League table. My only interest was the ninety minutes of football where I could watch United play, and 2002/03 was one to enjoy. Slowly United went from interest to obsession. Although I wasn't looking for an end result or particularly paid attention to what we won, I just wanted to watch United play. I started to read up on the history and then I was locked in. There was no going back, I was United for life.

Hitting my teens, and thankfully having pretty laid back parents who would rather I learnt my own lessons than smothering me, the 2003/04 season was the first season where I went out of my way to watch United. It was tough going, I won't lie. I struggled with a lack of sleep and I got into trouble a few times, causing me to miss more games than I'd have liked, but I got away with it most the time. Slowly I was paying more attention to the league table, to Europe, to the Cups, realizing that United wasn't always fun and games, but it was worthy of your utmost attention. It could make or break your day, and that season, there were a few more bad days than I would care to remember. Funnily enough though, it encouraged me where it deterred the other "fans" at school. Arsenal were the "in" side, and they romped to the title in undeniably brilliant fashion. Seeing them lift the title was probably the first time I truthfully was hurt because of football. I felt like I had missed my chance to celebrate a league title the season before, but I retained the hope that there would be a day where we would win it again, and a time where I would truly be able to appreciate what a terrific achievement that was.

You must be thrilled with the way you have started the Premier League season?

Of course! I think it's something that you need to enjoy while you can. It's hard to see the golden period ending anytime soon with so much young talent coming through and obviously United fans have been spoilt rotten for decades now, but in particular the last 5 years or so. You accept at the back of your mind though that it's not always going to be this great, and tough times lie ahead, so you stock up on all the good you can now. Thankfully though, it looks like this season will be another to remember. United are playing with style and they're getting results to match. The injection of youth has been incredibly exciting, I've loved every minute.

What are your expectations for the season?

The Premier League. Anything else is a bonus. At the risk of soundling like a twat, I would love it if we could win the FA Cup, but I think the second preference has to be the Champions League. We've never been as consistent in Europe as we have now, and it's just a tad unlucky that this run has coincided with Barcelona producing a team that is simply one of the best ever. As a United fan you feel a bit helpless watching it. You just have to hope that when Barca fall off, United are ready to take the mantle, because to put it simply, no one will beat Barcelona if they play at their best. My grandfather told me that the 90 minutes of football played by Barca at Wembley in May was the best performance in a final he had ever seen. He's 70 years old, and you can imagine the players and the games he has seen, so I thought that was rather indicative of what we're up against in Europe. That said, for English teams, it's all about domestic glory.

Who should we watch out for?

Wayne Rooney. He's fitter, he's more composed and he's all round game is just unmatched. To my mind he's the best player in the Premier League. Beyond the obvious though, there is also Chicarito who loves playing against Chelsea. Rooney is the conductor though and if he hadn't been such a wanker last season, I think people would be looking at the way he is leading this exceptional young teams and draw comparisons with Eric Cantona. That's how important I think he is to this team.

Do you think United will come out and attack from the get go?

Absolutely. At home, there is only really one way to play. We scored in less than two minutes last season, and though I don't expect a repeat, I would be shocked if we did anything other than attack. It's the strongest part of our game, and we are so hard to beat because we suffocate teams in that way. It's incredibly hard as a team to repel attack after attack. It leaves us vulnerable on the counter but I would fancy us to score more than we concede against anyone in the league at the moment.

Your favourite Chelsea player and why?

I've always liked Lampard. Real classy midfielder who scores a bag of goals. I think right now I will opt for Juan Mata though. Loved watching him in Spain and it is quite ominous that he has started his Chelsea career so well. I have no doubt he'll set the Premier League alight this season.

Finally, Your prediction for the game on Sunday?

I'm confident of a win, but not of the thrashing many expect us to deal out. Chelsea are an experienced team and whatever you say about their playing squad, they have the talent to give any side headaches.

That said, I'm opting for 3-1 to the Red Devils.

Here is also a Interview i did for his website - http://www.ozmufc.co...the-other-side/

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