Wigan boss, Shaun Maloney, has revealed that he was a Manchester United fan as a child.
The Scottish coach will come face to face with the club he supported as a boy tomorrow evening and he will be hoping to pile more misery on Erik ten Hag’s men.
The Guardian has reported that, despite Celtic being his first team, it was the history of the club that attracted Maloney to United as a teenager.
“I joined Celtic at 16 and started to learn about the Lisbon Lions, the history and individual players, then I started doing the same about Manchester United,” he says. “You go through the era of the late 50s, early 60s and the story behind it and what they achieved under Sir Matt Busby. And there was Denis Law, Paddy Crerand, Brian McClair. Now there’s Scott McTominay”.
The former Scotland international claimed that there has always been a connection between his home nation and the club and that is another reason the Red Devils are close to his heart.
“There was always that link with Scotland and I love the history of the club.”
Another huge reason behind the 40 year old’s affection for the club is another iconic Scottish manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Maloney was impressed by the job Ferguson did breaking up the monopoly of the Old Firm (Rangers and Celtic) and delivering domestic and European success to Aberdeen.
Referencing the legendary manager’s body of work in Scotland he claimed, “that’s the reason why I began to support United and I’ve been really lucky to meet him a couple of times”.
The former Celtic player explained it was a chance meeting with the former United coach’s son, while he was working as part of the Belgian national team set up, that gave him the opportuinty to pick the great man’s brains.
Maloney explained, “I was on a train heading down to London and his son [Jason] walked by. We got speaking and I said that I would love to meet his dad. We swapped email addresses and the very next day he sent me an email. I got in touch and his secretary arranged for me to meet him. It was just by chance, really fortunate, and I just sat and listened to him for two hours”.
The Scot detailed that he wanted to ask Ferguson about handling “massive players like Hazard, De Bruyne, Courtois, Kompany. Man-management was a big part of it. It was incredibly gracious of him to give me two hours.”
Amazingly, Maloney’s goal against United in 2012 is the only time The Latics have ever beaten the Mancunian side. When asked about the memorable moment he exclaimed, “you don’t forget it though, do you?”.
Despite the respect for the club the Wigan coach has, he is determined to knock them out of the cup tomorrow night.
Speaking before the game in his pre-match press conference, he stated, “I have to give my players the belief that we can do it. We have to create a match which is extremely difficult for Man United.”
Wigan will be aiming to put their disappointing league form behind them as they lie 18th in league one and get into the fourth round of the competition they won in 2013.
As for United, they will be aiming to avoid a potential banana skin in the only trophy they can win in this campaign.