HITC speaks to Manchester United fan Matt Bell, who's been a supporter for 13 years.
Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini in action
Q: What have you made of your team’s start to the season?
A: It’s a team in transition; all fans know this, hence why there are little numbers of people calling for Mourinho’s head. There is still a lot of dead wood around, and Jose knows this. He is starting to get an idea now on who is in and who is out.
Q: What are your opinions on your manager?
A: The sulking one hasn’t had the best start, but considering the poor tools he was left after Van Gaal’s and Moyes’ reign, it was always going to take a while. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but Mourinho has built good foundations, and bought well.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
Q: What are your views on the board?
A: More confident. This was Ed Woodward’s third year in the job, and he was more comfortable, he knew who he wanted to buy, and did so. The steal of Pogba, Ibrahimovic, Bailly and Mkhitaryan were excellent, and although there’s a lot of hate for the Glazer’s, they know what the club needs to move forward.
Q: Who is your favourite current player?
A: Rashford - he epitomises everything I wanted to be as a child, that player who broke through, took his chance and ran with it. Now that my dreams to be a professional footballer are over, I look forward to watching him grow as I get older.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford misses a chance to score
Q: Who is your favourite ever player?
A: Wayne Rooney- loved him as a child, and wanted nothing more than to be him. Although he has become less effective as he's grown older, he still makes me reminisce of happier times.
Q: What has been your best memory of the club?
A: Staying up on a school night to watch the penalty-shoot out in Moscow 2008, and doing a knee slide and scream as Terry and Anelka missed. Also going to my first home game, attending Wayne Rooney’s testimonial. Though the team didn’t even score, to feel the atmosphere of Old Trafford was incredible.
Q: What has been your most disappointing moment?
A: The team have been on the end of a lot of hammerings in the past 6 or 7 years, but for me it has to be the 2005 FA Cup final against Arsenal. My mum and brother are Arsenal fans, and with United dominating the match and not putting the game to bed, it was heartbreaking to lose on penalties.
The Champions League trophy before the game
Q: What has been your most shocking moment?
A: Not sticking with the team when they are more than 4 goals down.
Q: Describe the best goal you ever saw at your club’s home ground
A: Rooney’s overhead kick against City. I remember showing my United supporting Science teacher in the lesson, and watching his joyous reaction as he kept replaying it over and over again.
Q: Which ground is your favourite away day?
A: Southampton - friendly atmosphere, and my first United match. Enjoyed banter with the United fans, laughing at how nobody likes Liverpool.
General view inside the stadium before the match - St Mary's Southampton
Q: Who do you consider to be the club’s biggest rival and why?
A: Liverpool. City can have all the money they like and buy all the players they like, but in reality they will always be a lower table club. Liverpool may be sleeping giants at the moment, but the hatred between United and Liverpool fans is so big. It’s only a matter of time before they start winning trophies again, and that is a scary thought.
Q: Who do you feel has been the club’s best and worst summer signing?
A: Best signing: Bailly, he made our defence solid when he joined and looks to be the closest thing to Rio Ferdinand that we have had since he retired. He is great going forward and defensive, and I hope he stays at the club for a long time.
Worst signing: Ibrahimovic. Granted, he has scored goals, but given his age and his blip where he scored no goals, do we really need him? Martial and Rashford are growing, and if given more game time would have benefited. Even a new younger striker like Griezmann or Lukaku would have been better. Ibra is good, but his wage, lack of pace, and age mean he is only going to be effective for a season or two.
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Q: Who is your one player to watch out for this season?
A: Martial. He has a point to prove and really didn’t like having his number 9 shirt taken away, and given his form last season, will only improve if given game time.
Q: Is there a particular youth player that excites you, and why?
A: Tuanzebe. He is a centre back in our youth team and highly regarded. Many people would probably go for Rashford, but it’s about time United develop their own centre backs again. He is promising, and leads the U21’s brilliantly. It’s only a matter of time before he breaks through.
Q: Where do you think the club will look to strengthen in January?
A: Defence and attack, maybe a new striker, as I say Ibra is old, and there are better players. The right back and left back are a bit of a problem, so Jose may look to strengthen there. But to really strengthen, they need to sell the dead wood.
Q: Finally, what are your aims for this season, and where do you think your club will finish?
A: We need Champions League football back! Whether we win the Europa League or get top 4, it doesn’t matter. But we need the big European football matches to entice the top players to our clubs. We are on the way up, it’s a work in progress, and next year we will definitely be battling more for silverware.
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