Forget about your £200,000 a week footballers, multi million pound transfer deals, 25 year club managers like Sir Alex Ferguson, FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s World Cup and the mega buck television deals. Ask yourselves instead ‘Where will football be without the humble fan?’ You never see any lurid headlines in the newspapers about them unless a handful of alcohol fuelled ones create mayhem like the incidents after the Napoli game in Liverpool a few days ago. Thankfully, for every one of those cretins there are thousands like Manchester United besotted die hard fan Peter Bolton who was recognised by the official club website this week.
Mark Froggatt reports on manutd.com that “Lots of United fans claim their lives revolve around the Reds, but few can back it up like Peter Bolton who has now attended 1,000 consecutive home games following last Tuesday’s Carling Cup clash against Wolves. Incredibly, the last United related match he missed at Old Trafford – including all competitive and friendly fixtures, was the 0-0 draw with Leyton Orient in December 1974.
“One day I might have to miss a game through illness but I’m sure that won’t be any time soon” insists Peter who originally stood in the Stretford End before moving to North Stand. “I feel as fit as ever and it would have to be something serious to keep me away. I missed my brother’s wedding because it clashed with a home game. He understood! And I arranged my own wedding for June because I knew we wouldn’t have a game.”
Peter 54, also attends as many away fixtures as possible, regularly clocking up the air miles in support of the Reds. In fact, he has watched United in over 35 countries on three different continents. “One of the best trips I did was for the 2008 Club World Cup in Japan” he recalls. “As a taxi driver, having two weeks off just before Christmas was stupid but I had a brilliant time and it was well worth it.”
Having followed the Reds since 1962, Peter has cheered United to over 30 major trophies under seven different managers. And he’s even got to know a couple of players. “I’ve picked a lot of them up in my cab – Darren Fletcher and John O’Shea are regulars. I was talking to Paddy Crerand at Toronto airport during this year’s pre-season tour and John tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘What are you doing here?’ I told him ‘I’m spending a lot of money to watch you lot!’ I don’t mind though – I just love the club, my entire life revolves around United.”
THAT, is what football is about. THAT, is what our mega wealthy players have to thank their lucky stars for because without the passion that millions of Peter Boltons have for their club, football will still be no more than a mere past time, played on council grounds with nobody in attendance and without the media attention which helps to turn mere mortals into world super stars.
The views expressed in this article are personal to the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Manchester United FC.
Do you know anyone who can match Peter Bolton’s passion for United?