The World Affairs Society recently interviewed our very own Mr. Sohail on his beloved Manchester United Football Club.
Why Man Utd?
(after “umming” for a minute) Well, it happened about 20 to 30 years ago actually. PTV used to only show the FA Cup semis and final live, not the rest of the leagues. It was the FA Cup final between Arsenal and ManU which Arsenal won 3-2 that did it. Arsenal were 2-0 up but ManU fought back to 2-2 but eventually lost 3-2. I see that match as my initial inspiration towards supporting ManU- the way they fought back. The second inspiration to me is the aura Manchester United have about themselves- there really is no description in words for that sought of emotion. No other club is like it. What I also like about this football club is the emphasis they put on their academy. For example, Arsenal FC is also a brilliant team and I really enjoy the way they play, and they could be regarded as one of the best clubs in the world; but there is nothing there go inspire the fans, and nothing English or British about Arsenal. ManU also did have foreigners such as Cantona, but the emphasis was always on the academy with the likes of Beckham, Giggs, Scholes and the Nevilles to name a few coming through. The 1999 treble winning team really played as a team and had no hereos as such, except for Giggs perhaps, but otherwise they always gelled together which is another important feature of ManU. What has also made ManU what they are today is that they have stuck with the same manager(Alex Ferguson) for the last 20 years. Even years earlier they had the great Matt Busby, who lead them to their first European Cup triumph in 1968, for decades.
What would your all time favourite Man Utd moment be?
Thats an easier one… Champions League Final 1999′ Bayern Munich 1-2 Manchester United. That was an unbelievable moment as they scored 2 goals in the last 2 minutes. No words can describe that. The Giggs goal in the FA Cup semis against Arsenal (also in ’99) was pretty special.
What do you think of the teams’ start to this season?
Well, I would say that it’s arguably their best start to a premiership campaign to be honest. I feel they have a good chance to win the Premier League this year.
Were you satisfied with the transactions made during the transfer window?
I did expect Owen Hargreaves to come and was disappointed that he didn’t. But at the same time, I’m satisfied with Carrick. I would like Roy Keane’s place taken in the team soon as you need at least one holding midfielder in the centre of the park. I prefer Hargreaves over Mascherano and Senna because of him being British, they seem to have more fighting qualities than the other nations.
What is your favourite strike partnership for the club at present?
Rooney and Saha. They are the best under the circumstances and compliment each other. They create the goals they score and are not poachers like Van Nistelrooy. I am also a big fan of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, but in a deeper role in midfield as I feel that he would gel well with Scholes.
There’s talk of the mercurial Fernando Torres joining the club next summer. Would you like to see that happen?
No not really. I dont think he’s that great a player. Like i said before, I would prefer some one British for example Aaron Lennon or Stewart Downing to come in.
Who is your favourite Manchester United playr of all time?
They tend to change over generations. Not one single player though. Earlier on however it used to be Bryan Robson. Now its Scholes and Giggs who I think have the biggest impact on the team. Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel were also very influential, Eric perhaps having the greatest impact at the club. But honestly I would prefer a great team and not just great individuals.
And finally Sir, what are your end of season predictions for Man Utd?
I feel that they will end up with 2 major trophies at least though I don’t think they have the depth to make a Champions League run this year. I hope they end up with the Premiershiip and FA Cup come May but it will be 2 trophies.
Asher Gilani FY-S
Rustom ZBirdie FY-K