I confess, I am no Manchester United fan. I support Tottenham Hotspurs and justifiably, because I come from the 70s era. But honestly, it does not matter for me who does well in the English League these days. I just follow the League to see some top class matches and sometimes to accompany my son, Alwin, who never misses a MU match - yes he is a MU die hard fan!
For me, I have always been passionate about local sports and especially, soccer. That is why sometimes, I get so critical about Malaysian sports, for I truly believe there is hope - but only when we get things right.
Back to MU, I have decided to let Alwin take charge of this posting to say his piece. But at the end of the day, I am glad that he is still a true Malaysian. Read and enjoy........
English Champs, Manchester United, have arrived on our shores for the 2nd time in my lifetime. I have been a MU fan since I was about 8 years old. My adoration for the Devils was fueled by my dad. He bought me countless number of jerseys and magazines as a kid and although he is, regrettably a SPURS fan, he still continues to fuel my passion now. I pretty much grew up on a football pitch as most of his time revolved around football.
Most MU fans are still are shell shocked at the departure of CR7 (Ronaldo - whom I believe will be legally changing his name to sell more jerseys for Real Madrid) and Tevez. I on the other hand, was glad Sir Alex sold Ronaldo, who as great as he is, annoys me. It's quite clear that I'm not a big Ronaldo fan. My allegiance lies with WAYNE ROONEY. I hope to God he steps up this year and bangs in the goals. Malay Mail reporter Haresh Deol says that Rooney bears a striking resemblance to the animated cartoon character SHREK.
I had the pleasure of meeting WAZZA today and a rather disgusting infection on his left ear is living proof or should I say in legal terms, substantial evidence for Haresh to build a strong case!
I managed to meet Rooney, Anderson, Tosic, Evans and Fabio D'Silva today at a meet-and-greet session at Mandarin Oriental.The buzz around the fans was amazing as everyone was excited to meet their favourite players. I will have to admit that I got a little star struck as well when I saw a few of my favourite players in front of me. I know for a fact that even some journalists sneaked in their jerseys and footballs to be signed as well. I won't mention whom though.
Next stop for me, after gloating to all in attendance about my signed jersey was to watch them train at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil. Just before we left the hotel, Mr.JAI HO himself, Christopher Raj, spotted Manchester United Legend and current MU Ambassador Bryan Robson, and a quick photo opportunity arose, when I was suddenly fired by Malaysian Sports' Loose Cannon Rizal Hashim in the direction of Bryan . And the result.........
The National Stadium was roaring when I arrived.The attendance for the MU training was about 25,OOO (rough estimate) or should I say 25,782 (official press box figure). For those who didn't go for the training, YOU DIDNT MISS MUCH. The players just came out, ran a couple of laps for a bit and played 'KAKU'. The highlight of the day was probably from the first player to arrive on the pitch, Paul Scholes who played a 35 yard cross field ball that landed right next to MU's goalkeeping coach, who was setting out cones on the other side of the pitch. Whether he missed or he meant to miss, only GINGER ( Scholes dressing room nickname) knows.This year happens to be Scholes' last year in a MU shirt.
Pix courtesy of Jai Ho
Scholes has always been one of my favourite players. When I first started supporting MU, I only idolised David Beckham, until one day when I followed my dad on a trip to cover a match in Kelantan. We were in a car going for lunch with (allow me to name drop) our current national coach K. Rajagobal, who was then the Kelantan coach. During our journey he asked me,'Who is your favourite player?'.I promptly replied 'Beckham'.Then he asked 'Which player in MU makes the team tick and run the show?'. I began to run through the list of players in my head, until I finally gave up. Well the answer to his question was Paul Scholes. He explained to me how Scholes, not a known for being a flashy player or a great tackler, was an ambassador for the simple football. Pass, find space, move and shoot.
I have no doubt that he is currently drilling that simple philosophy into our national team. Although I know for a fact that the stadium tomorrow will be red, the moment our Tigers score a goal the Stadium will erupt and perhaps, maybe just one goal or a good result like a draw, will bring our local fans back to the stadium.
Everyone has been asking me what the score will be. I have been telling them - Malaysia will lose 2-1 and Malaysia will score first - early in the game. Then we will let them score in the secondhalf because we are good host and don't want to malukan them. On a more serious note, it's MU's first game in pre-season.The players are tired and not really up for it. Sir Alex will be running the changes, and our boys (or should I say men?) will play mati-mati. So why not?
I can only hope that we do well and everyone can have that feeling you have when your country scores. I've seen reporters (who are supposed to be neutral) jump up and down when Malaysia score a goal.
Tomorrow, I will PROUDLY pakai my BLUE MALAYSIA JERSEY (MR.JAI HO's birthday present to me last year), because although I proclaim to be an MU fan, deep down inside, I just wanna see MALAYSIA BEAT THEM!