Following on from yesterday‘s first in our summer season previews, we continue with an interview with Man United fan Gary Fowler from Northern Ireland. Our friends down the road have splashed the cash this summer and will be hoping to retain the title this season….
Q. Let’s get this out of the way early on then – last season, did you expect to win the title?
I can’t honestly say I expected to win the title in the way in did in mid to late 90’s but I expected us to give a better account of ourselves than we had done in the previous 3 seasons. I thought it would be tough to beat Chelsea again but if we got a better start than we had done in the 2 years previous and stopped dropping points against the lower teams then we could have a shot. After the first few months I expected it to be close but by Feb/March it was like Utd from 5 yrs ago and I didn’t expect to throw it away then.
Q. Summer spending – you happy with your acquisitions?
Definately. If the Tevez deal goes through it will be a great acquisition as even before last year’s World Cup the 2 players I wanted were Tevez and Mascherano. I’d seen Tevez playing for both Boca and Corinthians and he really stood out. He seems like the kind of player made for Old Trafford, plenty of skill but not afraid to get stuck in too. Hargreaves has cost too much but if he can afford whatever our attacking 5 the freedom they need then he could prove to be good signing. It will be interesting to see what Fergie does with him, Carrick and Scholes. Nani and Anderson; we shall see, but if they can learn from the way Ronaldo has adapted to the Premier League then they could make an early impact. They give us variable attacking options and it will be difficult for opposition managers to predict our formation.
Q. Who do you expect to make an impact this season? Any of the new boys or a youngster?
With Heinze set to leave (hopefully not down the road!) I think some of our younger defenders will have a chance to shine. I’ve liked Pique a lot in the few first team run outs he’s been given and he seems to have had a class season with Zaragoza (given Barca want him back). He can easily provide cover for Nev and play centre half against 2/3 of the league. If we can get rid of Silvestre and need cover for Evra I think Jonny Evans can make a big impact. I do like to see the Northern Ireland lads do well at Utd but he has looked quality already at international level. He’s my big tip. Other than that I think it’s the partnerships that have a chance to make an impact. I think Rooney and Tevez will click fairly quickly and the prospect of Nani and Ronaldo switching all over the place is exciting.
Q. What do you consider to be your biggest strengths?
Now it’s got to be the options we have in attack. Depending on the oppostion we can play 4 or 5 attackers out of a strong group of 8/9. Last season the interchanging of the group of Rooney, Ronaldo, Giggs and Scholes really caused problems and now we are adding another 3 players to that group. But partnership of Rio and Vidic is also the best pair we’ve had since Daisy & Dolly. As long as Rio focuses on his footy and not shite tv shows.
Q. And weaknesses?
Our main weakness is some of the dross that backs up the first team. I can’t believe Roy has forked out 5.5 mill of big Nialls brass on “Lord Snooty” but I am glad he’s gone. If we can get Mickey Silvestre out the door after him I’ll be a happy man! I was frustrated last year by Fergie changing the forward line. It was best when we had Saha or Smith up top with 3 rotating behind. He changed that for Milan away and Chelsea in the cup final and we were gash. Hopefully that won’t happen this year.
Q. One thing you could change at your club?
It was expensive enough to go when i was at Uni but now the prices are getting stupid and it’s going to alienate the young male groups of fans that should be going all the time. It’s just a small part of the way the club is treating the fans since the Glazers took over. It’s all well and good forking out on players but if your pissing off your hard core fans then it’s all wrong. It seems the attitude is that because there is 18k people on season ticket waiting list, it’s like they are saying fuck you, if you don’t like it then we have all thse people to take your place. Now that’s fucked up!
Q. Hopes for the coming season?
Do ourselves justice in Europe is obvious but it’s true. Theres been 3 semis now that we should have got through in the last 10 years – Leverkusen, Dortmund and Monaco I think. Gary Nev said it recently and it’s true. Even though we are one of the big teams in Europe we need the Champions League trophies to match you lads, Milan, Real, Bayern etc. Plus Leeds to get promoted a few times cos even though I hate them, I do miss the games against the sheep!
Q. What about us, how do you think we will fare this coming season?
Again, its the start you make. If your new players gel quickly and you are up there after first 10 games you can make a stab of it, like we did this last season. I’d love to see the EPL this year the way the Primera was between Real, Barca and Sevilla just past. The Premier League has always been a 2 team race in the 2nd half of the season for too long. I think a lot of your season will depend on Torres as he’s really been your first big money signing. If he fits it and scores early if can set a good tone for the season. If he doesn’t then if could affect the rest of team.. We shall see.
Q. Impressed with our summer spending?
Your building a group of players to match you strong centre backs and midfield. Maybe you are still a bit thin in places but you have a month or so yet top sort that. I’m still to be 100% convinced by Torres.
Q. So, tips for this coming season:
Top Scorer: Benni McCarthy
Relegated: Birmingham, Derby & Wigan
Player to come from no-where: The NI boys of Healy, Davis and Baird to all prove themselves Premier League standard players.
Liverpool will finish in: 2nd
United will finish in:1st