My United interview with musician Richard Ashcroft

My United interview with musician Richard Ashcroft

What do you remember of that first match?
“It is that cliche moment of seeing the stadium and the green of the pitch for the first time. When I first started going to Old Trafford it was when Ron Atkinson was the manager, and we would always be ‘nearly there’ in the league, but with amazing crowds. Everyone packed into the Stretford End – those were the days! When The Verve kicked off I missed a lot of matches during the ‘glory years’, but I was there for the barren years. But as most fans who were there at that time will say, those were great days. Old Trafford used to be amazingly loud. You know what I felt when I used to go and watch matches there when I was much younger? You just felt that lineage – that everyone from the past was there, even the past players, that they were still in that stadium with you. But what I liked the most was that back in the day when people paid their hard-earned money, if they saw a bit of artistry and magic out on that field that day, I think it made them feel like it was money well spent. And I want to say hello to anyone on the left-hand side of the Stretford End who used to throw a pie on my head!”

Your all-time United hero is George Best – why?
“George Best brought an artistry to football. Football, music and art have always combined. Muhammad Ali brought it to boxing and George took it to another level. Not only that, I think he suffered the type of pressure that no other footballer had ever been put under. And he suffered from the demons that many a person suffers from. I think when you put that combination together with the god-given genius that he had, it transcends the sport. I think that George Best embodied the spirit of Sir Matt Busby and Manchester United, the emergence and rebirth after Munich. His youth, his audacity.”

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