After previously getting Tim Burgess of The Charlatans to give a few minutes to talk about United, proper red Terry Christian has spoken to Republik of Mancunia about several United related topics.
Christian, Old Trafford born and bred, got his first gig at local BBC Radio stations, with his ‘Barbed Wireless’ programme winning Sony Awards in the specialist music category in 1985 and again in 1986. He was very much involved in the Madchester scene, becoming a DJ on Key 103 as well as writing ‘The Word’ for the Evening News, educating the city on the music scene. In the 90s, Terry’s column was made in to a TV show on Channel 4.
The Times, The Guardian, The Observer and The Daily Express are amongst the papers he has written for, as well as bringing out a book, Reds in the Hood, about growing up in a huge Irish community in Old Trafford and following United.
He then presented ‘The Final Whistle’ on Talk Sport radio on Saturday afternoons, giving his opinion and talking to callers after the weekend matches, which is a great listen for the journey home, win, lose or draw. Christian talks publicly with red tinted specs about all the issues you want publicised. This ABU nation we live in, the envy of United, and generally, just how fantastic United are, acknowledging that his opinions are like a “red rag to a bull” where non-United fans are concerned.
Terry has had a season ticket at Old Trafford for over 20 years and is better qualified than most to speak about our marvellous club.
Terry was happy with the point we picked up at Stamford Bridge last weekend, offering up praise to Darren Fletcher, Owen Hargreaves and Wayne Rooney.
“I thought United did well,” he said. “I’ve been impressed by Fletcher this season. Hargreaves did well and I thought Rooney was looking good. Berbatov still looks a bit like early Sheringham at United as opposed to prime Cantona , but it’s early days. A good result really.”
He believes we’ll see a repeat of last season’s success, claiming we’ll win the League and European Cup again, although is more unsure of which group of players are deserving of a first team place every week.
“Now there’s a question,” he pondered. “Get all Premier League managers over it. Probably Ben Foster, Wes Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra, midfield Scholes, Carrick. Hargreaves on the right, Ronaldo on the left, with Rooney and Tevez up front. But then I love Anderson and I think Berbatov might be great, and Park has been fantastic. What can you do?”
Whilst Cristiano Ronaldo collected all the praise last season, Terry reckons Rio Ferdinand will be our most important player, although still believes Ronnie is “young and supremely talented.”
In United’s 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough in the week, we saw the impressive Rafael Da Silva fill in at right back, with Gary Neville and Wes Brown battling it out for that position in the league. Whilst there have been some fears that Neville won’t be able to come back from his injuries which kept him out of the team for over a year, Terry has faith he can do it.
“I think it’ll [Neville winning his place back] happen by Christmas and Wes will be covering for a Vidic or Ferdinand injury at centre half.”
Rodrigo Possebon, Jonny Evans, Ben Amos and Danny Welbeck all featured alongside Rafael in that Boro match, but Terry admits he’s not as clued up as he used to be on our youth players, and is unsure of who has the potential to make the big step to the first team.
“I’ve not actually seen enough of any of them,” he said. “In the olden days of the reserves playing on a Saturday afternoon at Old Trafford and the special token games, I’d always know exactly who was who and who could do what in the reserves and youth team.”
After Carlos Queiroz’s departure to Portugal, United fans were expecting, or at least hoping for, a high profile replacement. Mike Phelan certainly wasn’t the first choice for many of us, and I certainly wasn’t impressed.
Phelan joined the club as a player from Norwich at the end of the 1988-1989 season, after being called up to the England squad and since became a part of our coaching staff.
Terry has his doubts, but looks on the bright side, putting his faith in Sir Alex Ferguson for making the right call.
“Always wondered why we bought Mickey for £750,000 when we could have got [Andy]Townsend for £500,000,” he said. “I haven’t got a clue, he’s been there long enough and he was a grafter and I’m sure he’s knowledgable otherwise Fergie wouldn’t have him there.”
With Queiroz’s replacement decided, our minds turn to who will take over from Ferguson when he retires. Whilst many reds were disappointed to see Mark Hughes take up the job with the bitters, Terry reckons he could still be the man for the job at United.
“I don’t even want to think about it,” he responded, when asked who should replace Fergie. “If Mark Hughes does really well at City, then he’d be ideal. He’d be leaving the richest club in the world for the greatest club in the universe…even though it’s massively in debt. Come on, buy Tevez for God’s sake!”
And finally, this year, like every year, belongs to Liverpool, right? “Wrong, as you’ll see come Christmas!”