Next on the Bi-Player, we return to Red Fergie’s Bife Stories. We have upped his dosage of tranquilisers following the 100% Unofficial Balotelli interview, so, as usual, let’s get going before they start to wear off…
Och, many of us know Juan Manuel through his site The Red Insider, but what else do we know? Let’s find out by asking the man behind the twitter avatar some questions shall we?
Fan(s) of the show may remember as part of the title sequence Red Fergie is now supposed to walk around a bit in the dark for no particular reason, but as is now the standard, we’ve taken the added precaution of strapping him to his chair. We’ll just skip it…
Och, So Juan, wait a minute … you’re in darkness, don’t we have a picture of you?
I like words to speak by themselves; this is why I do not have any pictures on my blog. All content appearing on The Red Insider is entirely done by me, so I if I do not have pictures taken by me, I don’t get them from other websites. As simple as that.
Very honourable. I don’t blame yer anyway pal. The minute beautiful people like us have a wee picture on those W’s all kinds of crazy people can do all kinds of crazy stuff to it … Look what someone did to me …
Actually, might keep hold of that one, how did that get in there? Och, anyway, how’s the site going?
It is an exciting experience, so far I have received more than 2,500 visits, mostly from United Kingdom, United States and Spain in that order. 2,500 visits is not a massive figure, but I am more than happy. My aim is just having fun and writing about United when I feel in the mood to do so, there is no pressure at all.
There it is! There’s quite a lot of sites out there, hey?
There are thousands of football blogs, but I feel that The Red Insider is a bit different. People tend to be very supportive and encourage me to keep up the good work. Besides, I have met some interesting bloggers, like yourself, so all in all I am enjoying it quite a lot.
So, fans of the site will know how special yer site is, but just explain to our viewers what’s so special about The Red Insider…
It is the only one written from the heart of the enemy (Barcelona) in English and that makes it a bit special. You can imagine that it is not an easy thing being a United die-hard supporter and living here, especially considering what happened recently… something I don´t even want to mention …
Och, that’s a nice round of applause. Between me and you Juan, some of these lot divnae speak English as good as you. You haven’t always been fluent in English though?
When I was at school my English was appalling and I even failed an exam … But I realized that I had to put more effort. A true United fan never gives up, and this is exactly what I did. Nevertheless, I must confess that I don´t entirely understand what Sir Alex Ferguson says.
Heh, heh! Well you put us all to shame now, your English is better than most English people on Twitter that I’ve seen. When you failed the exam I bet you didn’t imagine you’d be running an English language site?
Not even in my wildest dreams I could have ever imaged I would be writing a blog in English. But who thought Gerard Piqué would make it at Barcelona? You never know what the future has in stock for you.
But you came to England to study it and you did very well …
Not exactly. I got an advanced degree from the University of Oxford two years back, but the preparation and tests were done in Barcelona. My story is not as glamorous and you may think unfortunately, but I visited Harvard University in Boston a few years ago.
Och, a beautiful place, full of people with much bigger brains than that lot in our dressing room! Quite an achievement …
I feel proud and happy of what I have achieved. I bet Sir Alex Ferguson would be proud of me as well! Seriously speaking, there’s still a long way to go for me before I reach my target of being 100% fluent in English.
Och so, how aboot you, are yer from a big family? Do you have any brothers and sisters Juan?
No, just my parents, my girlfriend and me. My parents are huge Red Devils supporters but I still have an unfinished business with my girlfriend… she respects Manchester United, but is not a crazy fan!
Heh! There’s probably enough crazy ones! Were you raised under a religious roof? Quite a few people I know from Spain have a Catholic upbringing …
My whole family is moderate Catholic, but in fairness we don’t go to Church very often. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, which is located in Manhattan, is one of the most beautiful places I have ever witnessed.
… and you?
I consider myself the same way. I was brought up to respect all religions and beliefs and this is what I do. Manchester United is a good example of cultural integration and this is a part I love about the club.
Amen to that! Och, okay, but just to check, you’re fully aware that me and Eric are your Gods then hey?!
Och, come on it was only a wee joke. Anyway, so Juan you studied English when younger how did you get on at school in general?
I was a good student, but not excellent. I mean my grades were fine, but I was not especially talented. In order to pass an exam, I had to work hard.
And apart from English what were your favourite subjects pal?
History and Geography. It is always interesting expanding your knowledge about different topics.
You’re obviously a clever wee fella. The only history I’m interested in can be found on the United Wikipedia page and in terms of Geography, put Old Trafford into Google … Eh, am I right?!
Och, they are awake then?! Soooo, then before you came to England to study you also went University?
I went to university in Barcelona. One of my dreams was studying abroad, either in England or the United States but the chance never presented itself.
And what were yer studying there?
I got a degree in Journalism a few years back. This could be considered another highlight in my lifetime. I was the first person in my family who went to university..
Och congratulations! Of course yer a Journalist, I knew that. You should pass some tips on to Brett and David who “run” Bifurcated! Did you always want to be a journalist?
Yes, especially a Sport Journalist. As a child I was a big fan of a Spanish Journalist who goes by the name of José María García. I pretended to be like him. His straightforward approach was unique; he is now retired, but is still rated as the best in the business.
There he is now! Well, I’m impressed. Unlike most of us, you actually do it as a profession … Someone in my ear is telling me it’s time for another tranquiliser shot, so, we should go for a commercial break. Back soon …
Och,welcome back! Not running our own adverts anymore? Och, oh well. So, Juan, you liked football from a young age, but I can’t imagine you could get to Manchester very often having been born in Barcelona. Have you been to see a lot of games in Spain?
When I was a child, I attended several Athletic Bilbao’s matches at San Mamés along with my parents. This is the team I support on a local basis. I guess you all have become very familiar with this outfit lately.
Ssshhh! Don’t think the crowd are ready to talk about that lot yet! A long trip from Barcelona?
My dad was driving many hours from Barcelona to Bilbao, 600km separating one city from the other.
Och, one coast to the other! That’s devotion! And you went go to other games too?
We also visited other stadiums in Spain, such as Valencia, Zaragoza, Villarreal … it was always fun. I have very fond memories of these short, but intense trips.
Och, you obviously love a lot of sport, do you have a favourite one?
Football. basketball and tennis, in that order. But I like almost all sports, except maybe cricket (I’m sorry), I don’t even understand the rules … Can a game seriously be played for several days?
Heh heh! I’m with you. I like to use cricket as a sedative. Och, now we know your favourite football team is United and you also like that team we won’t mention, but who’s you’re favourite basketball team?
Boston Celtics and Club Joventut de Badalona. The former is as you may know the most decorated NBA team and the latter are a Spanish team boasting a huge reputation of producing young talents from its academy. As a matter of fact, Joventut was European champion in 1994.
Sorry, that’s lost on me! I’m not interested in Europe at the moment anyway. Tennis player?
Rafael Nadal. He is a true hero in my eyes. Best Spanish sportsman ever.
Vamos and all that hey?! Do you play any sports yourself, or just watch?
Right now I do not practice much sport, just watch it on TV and play the odd game on weekends. However, I used to play quite a lot when I was younger.
Och, what, football? You enjoyed playing?
Most of my most remarkable memories are related to football, it has always been a big part of my life.
What position did you play?
I remember very fondly the first match I featured in the starting line-up of my preliminary school’s team. I used to play as a striker, but that day the manager decided to play me at centre back, we won 4-2 and I scored the last goal.
Och! A defender with a striker’s instinct, we could do with one of those right now, and that’s where you played from then on?
Since that day, it was my permanent position. Nemanja Vidic and me could have made a fearful partnership, but Sir Alex Ferguson did not scout me. Shame on him!
Oooh, they liked that one! Och, I never asked why did you start supporting Manchester United?
The final day of the 1994/95 season, they blew their chances of retaining the championship by drawing 1-1 at Upton Park, to make things even worse, a week later United also conceded the FA Cup.
Och, okay no need to rub it in! How did that work with you supporting them?
Every cloud has a silver lining and those seven days of brutal fatality made me realize that I was meant to support them.
Och, well let’s move on, terrible memories those! Away from your love of sports, you watch a bit of television to relax, don’t you. What programmes would we expect to find Juan watching?
I like relaxing watching some series such as Friends, Sex and the City, Big Love, Desperate Housewives, Mad Men…
… Och! lots of that American stuff, Mike Phelan’s always watching then! American movies too I s’pose …
You are not mistaken. My favourite films include Star Wars, Spread, The Butterfly Effect, No strings Attached, Friends with Benefits…
Never heard of any of them, Star Wars is the one where that mean fella is that other soft fella’s father isn’t it? Yeah, sounds like me and Darren, hey?!
Och, suit yourselves! … And I bet you love American music too …
I like both English and American cultures, but my I am a big fan of Laura Pausini, an Italian singer. The Corrs, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson are all nice to listen to.
Pah! Typical, that poor wee fella in that band never gets in the pictures! You’ve been to America haven’t you? In fact, I hear you’re a keen traveller?
I do not travel as much as I would like, but I enjoy it quite a lot when I have the chance to go abroad. I have mostly travelled around Europe and North-America.
Och, where would you go to if you could get on a plane right now?
As far as I am concerned, New York City is the best place on earth, nothing can beat its atmosphere… the sense of individuality and personal freedom … No matter where you were born, everybody can be a New Yorker.
What aboot Manchester?
I do love Manchester, I have been there twice. In my opinion, it is a typical English city and this is a bonus. Although nowhere comes close to New York City, I have always felt at home. Strange as it may seem, I have never visited London.
It rains a lot though over here, doesn’t it, hey? Especially in Manchester and we’ve got noisy neighbours … Anywhere else you like?
Boston, mainly because of my affiliation to Boston Celtics and the history of the city. There are plenty of interesting places to visit and relax. Nightlife and gastronomy are not bad either. People are open-minded and kind to visitors.
Sorry, these lot at Bifurcated haven’t got the budget to get you to any of those places, but I hope you get the chance to visit soon. Speaking of which, they haven’t got the budget to keep me here much longer. By my watch it’s time to wrap things up! So, Juan, how do you see the rest of the season going?
I am fully convinced that United will remain unbeaten for the rest of the season and City will drop points at Stoke and Arsenal, so we will clinch the 20th title at the Etihad Stadium on Monday April 30th.
Well, Juan, it has been an absolute pleasure. I hope you keep enjoying doing your site and that you have every success in yer journalism career!