KOTA KINABALU: United Malaysia, the nation’s official Manchester United supporters club, paid a courtesy call on State Trade and Industries Assistant Minister Azhar Matussin at his office in Wisma Kewangan, here, on June 18.
Led by its president Batholomew Jingulam, the club extended an invitation for Azhar to attend the 4th United Malaysia Annual Dinner, which will be held at the Hakka Hall Grand Ballroom here on June 28, 2019.
Azhar expressed his keenness on attending the dinner despite his tight schedule, even agreeing to sponsor one of the dinner’s lucky draw ticket prizes of an all-expenses paid trip to watch Manchester United play at Old Trafford, Manchester, England.
He was also informed by Jingulam that United legend Ronny Johnsen, who was part of the famous treble-winning Man Utd team in the 1998 – 1999 season, will be gracing the occasion as a special guest.
A Manchester United supporter himself, Azhar reminisced on fond football memories with the courtesy call delegation, particularly of a friendly match between the Sabah football team and the Red Devils at the Likas Stadium on June 10, 1981.
“I think I was still a secondary school student at the time, either in Form 2 or Form 3. I remember donning my Scouts uniform to guard the field just so I could watch the match. Back then, I never missed a single match the Sabah football team played in,” he recalled.
The Karambunai Assemblyman had also revealed that he was one of the earliest members of United Malaysia, back when it was known as the Manchester United Supporters Club, Malaysia.
“When I heard that the nation’s first Manchester United Supporters Club was launching in Petaling Jaya, I knew I had to go. This was in 1994, when the club was still using books as membership cards. It is great to see how far the club has come since then,” he said.
“I am more happier that now the club is based in Sabah under the administration of Sabah Red Devils,” he added.
Founded by the late Lawrence How, what was once a small football supporters club has blossomed into a huge organisation with members nationwide.
It was originally a Peninsula-based club until it was taken over four years ago.
Since 2011, the club has help realise the dreams of more than 400 local Manchester United fans to watch their favorite team play at the Theatre of Dreams. “And we will continue to help realise the dreams of many more,” said Jingulam.-SabahNewsToday