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20 From Red Bull to Red Devil Chris Armas

Not for the first time, United We Stand was produced under great uncertainty. You never forget your first time either. In December 1991, the weather forecast for the weekend around a home game against Aston Villa was grim, but issue 15 was already at the printers. Ahead of three away games at Leeds in two weeks, the cover showed troops loading their guns under the heading “Ready for Leeds, Leeds & more Leeds?” One of the soldiers had a speech bubble saying: “All I need now is a ticket.” The editorial talked about how ticket prices were set to increase by up to 50 per cent for the next season at Old Trafford. Yes, really. United wouldn’t get away with such a rise now and we wouldn’t get away with such a cover. It would be all over social media and roundly condemned and cancelled as inciting violence, by people who’ve never bought UWS. But United were facing the away matches at Leeds and the Red Army, with 6,500 tickets, was on a war footing. We went to sell the new mag at home to Villa. I got to Old Trafford and the game was called off. Snow combined with wind did for it, and I have a memory of a big sign being blown over on Warwick Road North, before it became Sir Matt Busby Way. We were flummoxed as we sat there with a load of unsold mags. Like now, the sellers needed money to watch United. There were the games in Leeds, plus Oldham away (won 6-3; it was very cold). The printers needed paying, too. We had nothing to pay them. Paul Furness, one of our classmates, for we were still at school, loaned us his £200 Christmas money. It was shared among the sellers and the printers were asked to hold on a week or two since United had home games against QPR (lost 1-4, att: 38,554) and Everton where we could sell the mag. And so we carried on. We never took funding over the years, never accepted any of the offers which would have ultimately meant United We Stand losing its independence over the years. We stayed proudly independent. No loans, no seed funding. In more modern times, we don’t pass over any of your details to interested advertisers from this publication or ask you to click or reject to see our partners. Our partners are you. It’s a simple business model: you buy the mag and we continue to produce the mag. We have very few ads because you don’t want ads — which are the mainstay of any competent publisher. It’s all very nice when Reds come up to us outside Old Trafford and tell us that they “love the podcasts” or take photos of our sellers and post them on social media, but people need to buy the mag too. Reds like the covers when we put them up on social media, but people need to buy the mag too. Reds download our app (thousands of you), but they need to buy the mag too. I spoke to a swag seller recently — people don’t buy their T-shirts now, they take photos of them. But we do it because we think it’s worth it and we love United We Stand. And we suspect you do too because you’ve bought this issue. It was a buzz doing this one because of the strength of the writing in it, the humour, the insight, the design and drawings. A fanbase as big as United’s should have such talent in it and it does, but that’s only half the story. Once we’ve put an issue together it has to be printed and posted or sold. Postal systems have been a nightmare through Covid. We’re sorry, there’s not much we can do. The unpredictability around this one was a nightmare too. As I write we have little idea whether we’ll be able to sell the mag on the streets against Burnley on 30 December. If not, we need to shift them somehow. The printers still need paying and I’m not having a cartoonist or designer lose their weekend to work on it for nothing. We’d hoped that the disruptions around Covid were over. Hoped, but match-going fans face more inconvenience. Travel is organised to games which get called off. Trips booked. Time off work, too. And then it doesn’t happen. This mag only survived during lockdown because loads of you subscribed, knowing you couldn’t get it at the ground as fans were barred. We needed that help for this issue too, that’s why I told people the situation on the morning of the postponed Brighton game. Loads of you stepped forward and we really appreciate it. Looking down the list of subscribers who did, it was nice to see one name: Paul Furness.

Enjoy this issue and all the best, Andy, Editor

21 The Limburg Derby

23 This May Be The last Time: Bryan Robson

31 A Red in Leeds

38 We’ll Meet Again: Atletico de Madrid

43 Villarreal Away

REGULARS 04-07 manUvia 08-09 Guttersnipe 13 Jim White 27 Keith Dewhurst 41 GAWI

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