United, Born and Bred: Super Glue Macari

The only United match I’ve been to in recent years was last season’s FA Cup tie at home to Spurs, courtesy of E.on’s sponsorship and their Family Football initiative. I went with a couple of my ‘clients’ from work, had a great road trip and fantastic all-round experience. One’s a Spurs fan, and I know he felt a mixture of joy and anxiety sat in amongst all the United fans (even in the Family stand) when Spurs went 1-0 up. But both were amazed by the genuine friendliness and good-natured humour of the locals as we mingled around outside the stadium before kick-off. I’m pleased to say that both are working or about to start work now. I really believe that going to this match (and we also went to Wembley and White Hart Lane) helped to put a bit of the spark back into their lives, to begin to believe and to hope again. The Theatre of Dreams, indeed!

I went to a few games in the ’90s when I was working in Manchester, mostly European nights, which then weren’t that well supported. I remember seeing David Beckham play one of his first games and you could see right away that he was a special talent. Before that, I saw Roy Keane when he was still at Forest. I think he scored a hat-trick at Bolton (where I was studying) and he was another one that you could see was on another level, right away. My favourite game in the 90’s, though, has to be Sheffield United away in a midweek game. We won 3-0, fabulous counter-attacking stuff and fantastic goals from Cantona, Hughes and Sharpe!

Back to the late 70’s again, my dad took me to see United get walloped 4-0 at OT by Cloughie’s Forest and I saw the 3-5 thrashing we received at the hands of West Brom, not to mention the 0-0 versus Wolves with George Berry. We were frigging crap a lot of the time, occasionally brilliant, but never consistently good enough.
Me and my brother when we were kids outside Old Trafford
I have a lot to thank my dad for. Thanks, Dad! He got me a Subbuteo set one Xmas and meticulously painted on the United colours, numbers and even facial hair of the players. I was gutted when my ickle Lou Macari broke both legs and he was never the same player again despite being able to return for the next match thanks to a tube of superglue!

The best thing about all of this, though, is being able to immediately rebut all the ABUs1 who, when I tell them who I support, start their tired old accusations of glory-hunting, London Reds, etc. I started watching United when they were at their lowest ebb (in terms of league status) since they became popular worldwide. I’ve personally endured almost twenty of the “years of hurt” growing up watching those other reds (funny how so many of the kids I went to school with in Lincolnshire were Liverpool fans) win year after year with just a few crumbs of comfort coming our way in the FA Cup. Both my mum and dad were and still are ardent United supporters and if it wasn’t for them I’d probably be a Mariner or worse!
Me and my brother as even younger kids in our Xmas football kits
So, thanks, mum and dad, for uniting and ensuring that I was born in Stretford General!

  1. Fans of ‘Anyone but United’.