Ahead of the first game of the season tomorrow, I have spoken to Alan Keegan, the stadium announcer at Old Trafford, about his favourite memories since working for the club, his thoughts on Sir Alex Ferguson and his experience of going on the pre-season tour.
Scott: How did you manage to get the job of being stadium announcer at Old Trafford?
Alan: It’s long story and journey but the short version is that I worked for the commercial department on a match-day in the hospitality suites for two years prior to the job coming up nd I had done the job at Maine Road for a couple of years which stood me in good stead for the best job in the world. I’d sat in the Stretford End for years wishing that I had the job as the announcer so when it became a reality I was (and am) living the dream.
Scott: What are your favourite parts of the job?
Alan: The excitement of the big games. Liverpool, Chelsea (and now City). I’m a fan first and foremost so the build up is immense and to be a part of the pre-match build up is unbelievable. The best part of the job is when the teams are in the tunnel and I have the honour and privilege of introducing “The Barclays Premier League Champions”. I never tire of saying it and long may it continue.
Scott: Any funny stories spring to mind?
Alan: There are many but one of my favourite moments is when Teddy Sheringham came back to Old Trafford with Spurs. He was substituted in the second half and automatically walked towards the home dug-out when I had to remind him he should be sitting in the away dug-out. The lads were saying that I should have let him go the full way and sit down in our dug-out. Looking back I wish I had!
Scott: What are your favourite memories of Ferguson personally?
Alan: Sir Alex is one of only a few people that when they walk into a room everyone stops to look and observe. I have some brilliant memories of working with the “Boss” and all of them have been an honour and privilege. I have had the pleasure of facilitating a number of Q + A’s with Sir Alex and in particular last season where we seemed to be “working together” at an event every other week. It was always a pleasure to host an event, such as the supporters conference where we got to see what a brilliant sense of humour he had and how he could work the audience with his stories, wit and wicked sense of humour.
I suppose if I was to choose a personal favourite it was the last home game where I had to introduce him prior to him coming onto the pitch at the Swansea game. The atmosphere in the stadium that day will live with me forever.
Scott: What do you think will be the biggest change now that he’s gone?
Alan: I think we as fans have to be patient and give the new manager 100% support, especially if it isn’t going well in the first 10 games or, for that matter, in the first season. I think David Moyes is the perfect replacement and he knows what makes Manchester United tick. He will continue with the traditions that make Manchester United the greatest club in the world. But as with any new job it will take a while to settle in.
Scott: What was your experience like of the pre-season tour this summer?
Alan: This was my fourth tour and it was probably the best one that I’ve been on. The fans in Thailand were United crazy but I have to say Australia took me by surprise. It might be due to the ex-pats out there but they really do love United and we held a supporters event with United legends which was unbelievable. Francis Burns turned up and was shown loads of respect by all who attended the event which was great to witness. Japan and Hong Kong were a fantastic experience. In my opinion I thought Wilf Zaha was the player of the tour.
Scott: Who do you think will be our most important player next season?
Alan: It goes without saying that we have to keep Vidic fit but for me Michael Carrick is the unsung hero in midfield. He’s the Rolls Royce of the team and if you look at the stats of when he’s in the team they’re unbelievable. I would love to see Ronaldo return to his natural home and I believe that if we sign someone of Fabregas’ quality then we will win the league and get to the Champions League Final in 2014.
Scott: Finally, where do you think United will finish in the table?
Alan: I always believe that we will be top of the League at the end of the season!