Anjuna-based Mackbert Fernandes was recently declared the biggest Manchester United Fan in India at a contest organised by Apollo Tyres in association with Maruti Suzuki Devil Circuit. In a chat with NT BUZZ Mackbert spoke about his love for the ‘Red Devils’
VENITA GOMES | NT BUZZ
When it comes to football, many people whole-heartedly follow the sport; they are either passionate about the team, the players, or simply the sport. The zeal the fans and supporters have for their team often calls for serious debate, discussions and friendly banter. One such Manchester United fan, Mackbert Fernandes from Anjuna, an ardent supporter of the club since 1999, has won himself a worldwide contest.
His love for the ‘Red Devils’ (the nickname for Manchester United) is evident in that he has over 75 Manchester United jerseys/t-shirts and over 50 collectibles. “I have started collecting United merchandise like jerseys, t-shirts, scarves, jackets, caps, mugs, ties, magazines, pens etc. I am also an official member of the club since 2013. I never miss any matches; if I do, I really go mad. There have been instances where I have even missed my friend’s weddings due to the matches,” says Mackbert.
His love for the club does not end there. This fan went on to have the theme for his wedding set on Manchester United. “There are many crazy things which I have done and my favourite was the theme at my wedding. My wedding suit was similar to what Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson CBEwould wear; it had the same United crest, also on the tie and cuff links. My wife didn’t know about it until she saw me in church. The decor was also United-themed. The background for the photo booth was similar to the one that MUTV has while interviewing the players at Old Trafford.”
He also ordered jerseys from Manchester United’s online store with names MACKGLORIA and GLORIAMACK – a combination of his and his wife’s name – and wore it at the reception. For his engagement he wore Manchester United’s home jersey.
Mackbert took his passion to the extreme when he went scuba diving holding the Manchester United flag. “People called me crazy, but that picture won me the Chevrolet contest in 2017. I went to Old Trafford and played two games against other winners and also trained at AON training complex and saw a match live at Old Trafford,” he says.
Mackbert’s fascination with the club began when he got a Playstation and would choose Manchester United while playing the games. “I saw the 4-3 win match against Real Madrid at Old Trafford and that’s when I went crazy. I love the club’s history, trophies, Sir Alex and the 1999 treble (winning the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League). Over the past few years, the team has not been performing very well, but this hasn’t decreased my passion,” says Mackbert.
Speaking about winning the recent contest he says: “This is the second time I will be going to Old Trafford as a contest winner and the only Goan so far. Last time I gifted all the winners and organisers Goa memorabilia and cashew nuts for the players as I was hoping to meet them.”
The contest had started in October and fans had to share in 150 words about their passion towards Manchester United. The top 5 stories were selected and were asked to film a 60 seconds video based on the writings and the top three of these were in the final round. The videos were put to vote on the Devil Circuit Instagram page and thus a winner was selected. “The New Year began on a good note for me as I was declared the winner on January 2,” says Mackbert, a CMS certified network engineer who works as an assistant IT manager at Radisson Goa Candolim.
When asked if Indian football clubs could ever reach the level of these clubs, Mackbert says: “Manchester United is one of the most popular clubs in the world. It’s difficult to get such popularity. It will take a lot of effort and time to get there. If Indian clubs want to get there they need to attract world famous players. They need to invest a lot on infrastructure, youth and the children; give them the basic football facilities for free and guarantee them a future in football. Get a lot of European clubs to come and have coaching camps for the young on regular basis or send the youth to European clubs for training. I would love to see the I-league teams getting there.”