posted on 05/07/2012: 628 views
MUSC-UAE, Manchester United's supporters club in the UAE, has received the honour of becoming an official supporters club for the Premier League side.
Originally set up seven years ago but without official affiliation with United, the MUSC-UAE has been steadily growing in numbers and can be found on match day at their regular stomping ground, the Harvesters Pub.
However, they are now recognised by Old Trafford as an official club, much to the delight of chairman Mustafa Ibrahim.
"I got the call from Old Trafford earlier today and I must say, I was over the moon," he told Sport360.
"Having a supporters club is one thing, being official is something else.
"We will now be getting much more recognition and exposure, and it is a big boost for United fans in the UAE. It's a great achievement and we're looking forward to a good season.
"I need to thank the Bahrain supporters club, who were the first in the Middle East to become official," Mustafa added. "They helped us a great deal in how to go about making it happen so we owe them a whole lot of gratitude."
Far from simply being a group of people that meet up to watch the football, Mustafa explained they are looking to transform the supporters club into a genuine community and hope to use their affiliation with United to realise that ambition.
"We are keen to organise events involving the whole family, and we will look to send supporters to Old Trafford for some games," he said. "Some people have never had the opportunity to see United play so we are eager to help them do that.
"We are also looking at several options to work alongside charities to help out the community in the UAE. Being accepted as an official club is just the start. We have a long way to go, but we intend to work hard to make it all happen."
MUSC-UAE vice-chairman Moe Anabtawi also expressed his joy at the news and revealed it was rival supporters clubs that motivated them to make it happen for United.
"We wanted to get on the map and this is an excellent launch pad for us," he said. "Being recognised as an official supporters group by Manchester United is a fantastic feeling. It gives us, the UAE fans, the recognition we deserve.
"There are official supporters clubs for Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, and that gave us the initiative to make it happen for Manchester United and the club's fans over here.
"We have a lot of hard work ahead of us now," he added. "We wanted to be an official club and now that we have it, we need to stand up and represent United and it's reputation."
When asked how they feel their club will fare during the upcoming season, both Moe and Mustafa were unsurprisingly optimistic.
"Fans may be getting nervous as Ferguson hasn't done a huge amount of business aside from Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell, but there is plenty of time and I'm sure we will see some players arrive," Moe stated.
"We need a left-back because I don't believe Evra has the legs anymore to deal with a full season. And of course we need a holding midfielder. But I am convinced we can win the league comfortably this year."
Mustafa added: "I think it's going to be an interesting season and I expect United to do well." - Sport360
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