Joining United five years after the Munich air disaster, Crerand went on to win the European Cup, two league titles and the FA Cup with United.
Paddy has taken time away from his new website and his Reserve team watching to answer a few questions for us on RoM. Since getting the website up and running, he has been asked by several blogs and forums for an interview, but as yet, we are the only ones he’s said yes to. ‘Your blog is genuine and you guys are passionate United fans.’
Anyway, without further ado, here’s Paddy’s frank and honest response to our questions.
Scott the Red: At the start of the season, some sections of the press predicted United would struggle to keep in the top four this season. Where do you think we’ll finish?
Paddy Crerand: The press love it. They would love to think United will struggle in the league. Whoever finishes above Chelsea will win the league and I think that the main challenger this year to them will be Manchester United, so business as usual. Manchester City may upset some teams this year but we’re the main contender for the premiership again.
STR: If we are to be a success this season, who are you expecting to be our most important player in helping us achieve?
PC: Our most important player – and I said it before the Liverpool hat-trick – could be Berbatov. So far this season his improvement and the goals he’s scored have been vital. United are never a ‘one man show’ though and the usual players will be key to our success this season – Vidic, Fletcher, Scholes, Rooney, Van der Sar etc.
STR: You’ve mentioned some pretty important players from the current squad, but who is your favourite United player in Ferguson’s reign?
STR: I think it’s Cantona for me but you can hardly argue against naming Scholesy. Zinedine Zidane recently said one of the biggest regrets of his career was never getting to play alongside Scholes. Which player did you most enjoy playing alongside back in the day?
PC: Denis Law – Bobby Charlton and George Best are also great players you obviously enjoy to play with but Denis Law is the one if I have to choose one single player.
STR: What is your favourite United game you played in?
PC: That’s easy. The 68 Cup Final – the first English team to win it and the legacy of Munich – it meant so much to the club and players at that time.
STR: I honestly can’t even imagine. Watching our two successful European Cup finals which followed that was something else, but the emotion involved in winning it so soon after Munich must have been incredible. You joined United just five years after Munich. How much did the disaster serve as inspiration for success amongst the players and manager?
PC: The team didn’t really speak about Munich but it was always there – the only player I spoke to it about was Harry Gregg – he spoke about it with me as he lived local to me when we were away from the club…other than that it wasn’t really mentioned. One of the harrowing moments was at that final as all the families were there, invited by our great club, and that was a poignant reminder of what had happened just 10 years before. Very sad.
STR: I don’t think anyone who wasn’t around for that time in the club’s history can begin to understand what it was like. Legends. You are in the top 25 for the all time appearances for the club. Do you spend much time, or even ever, reflect on what a massive achievement that is?
PC: I didn’t even know that to be honest and I don’t really reflect on my number of appearances for United – it’s in the past for me… but obviously I enjoyed every second of it. When you think of the past you think of the trophies you won.
STR: Still, over three decades have gone by since then and your name is still up there amongst a very impressive bunch. It was a different game then though. Modern footballers come in for lots of criticism in the media for their lifestyles off the pitch. How different are footballers today to footballers in your day?
PC: Modern footballers today aren’t massively different – it’s the media around football that has changed beyond belief. The media chases players today – we didn’t get that – the only player in my day that had that was George Best – the rest of us could go where we liked without any fuss. Modern footballers must feel harassed – we didn’t experience that. I also know that many stories are not true, some papers I just don’t buy – The Sun for example – I won’t buy it. A recent article showed George Best’s digs as a young player not the house he actually lived in when he became a full time pro claiming that was George’s house – ridiculous. Just untrue but it helped their story, their version of events. Not one player that I know from my day would resent what the players of today get paid.
STR: You had a reputation of being a tad bad-tempered amongst the players of your day. How true is that?
PC: I’ve not changed! When it comes to football I still get the needle when United don’t win – I’m pretty much like many other football fans in that respect.
PC: When you play in a football team you’re all in it together. Everybody is equally important. If I could pass the ball for sure Nobby Stiles would be behind me kicking someone to give me the time to pass the ball! Everyone has their respective role.
STR: Very modest answer! Finally, lots of United fans aren’t too bothered about England. Are you a club over country man?
PC: I support my national team in a major tournament of course but it’s no surprise that club football is more important to me. Many fans would agree with that particularly Manchester United supporters.
STR: Cheers Paddy, thanks a lot for your time.