- Published: Monday, 19 December 2016 08:26
MY UNITED: RICK ASTLEY
Singer and lifelong Manchester United fan Rick Astley made a visit to Old Trafford recently and, in an interview with Inside United, he discussed following the Reds, dancing with Pogba and why Zlatan will be vital for the rest of the season…
I’ve always supported the club from being a young kid because my older brothers were big fans. I’m from Newton-le-Willows which isn’t far from Old Trafford, Liverpool or Everton, but my brothers were United fans so I kind of fell into it really. I’m so glad I did.
First game at Old Trafford?
It was actually against Arsenal and it was when I was older because music took up all my time when I was younger and was my first passion. All I remember is it was an awful game and we lost and I remember Peter Schemichel got a really bad injury on the day, a torn hamstring I think, as we went in search of a way to get back into the match. I’m hoping for more memorable visits in the future!
Best moment following the Reds?
It’s got to be winning the Champions League against Bayern Munich [in 1999]. I watched it at home with my wife who is Danish and a big United fan because of Peter Schmeichel. When the Bayern goal went in I never sat down for the rest of the match and I remember pacing around the room for the rest of the night. My wife kept saying to me ‘just chill out, this is what we do and there is always hope’ and, as we all know, it was the most incredible, historic and unbelievable match you’ve ever seen. I don’t think I’ve ever hated a game so much and then ended up loving a game more than that one. I know it’s an obvious one, but oh my goodness, what an amazing match.
Favourite ever player?
Wow, that’s such a tough question, there are so many… it’s a bit like picking a favourite child! [Laughs] I loved David Beckham, not just for all he did as a player for us, but he did so many things outside of the game that brought United to the attention of so many people all over the world. Of course, we’ve always been a huge club globally and have had great ambassadors, but I think Beckham helped make us a different force. I also really like the fact he’s so passionate about United even though he’s not from Manchester. There is a part of him that is United and I really love that.
If you could collaborate with any United player who would it be and why?
[Laughs] Now that would be interesting! Of the current team then of course it’s got to be Paul Pogba. Everyone has seen his moves, he’s got it on the pitch and off it when it comes to moves! I had the chance to meet him recently and we had a joke about the video that went around of us merged together dancing! I also know Peter Schmeichel plays the piano so maybe he and I could open a bar somewhere on the beach in the Mediterranean with him playing piano and me singing, and both of us wearing velvet jackets… what do you say Peter?!
Who do you see as being our biggest game-changing player in the current squad?
When I’m watching United at the moment I really feel that when Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] is on the pitch, he gives an awful lot not just in terms of scoring goals and being that threat upfront, but he does so much for the team too. As a talisman he’s still got that energy about him and when he’s around the ball you feel like something is going to happen. He’s a hell of a player and he has that something about him which has you on the edge of your seat.
What’s the best thing about being a United fan?
For me it’s the history. This club has done so many amazing things in so many different decades and has become such a global brand if you like, but there is still always that excitement about the club especially when new players join. We’ve always had global superstars but the most important we’ve had from Sir Alex Ferguson’s era and before that with Sir Matt Busby is that thing about being a team. There is something built into the place that when you come here you know you’re entering something very special and even though you’re now a United player it’s about the team, not just you. Any team that’s gone on to win major trophies is because they’re exactly that - a team. You can’t just do it with a handful of superstars, you have to become part of a group and work together as one, and I’d like to think that will always be the United way.