Season Yearbook 2016/17: Paul Musco on FC United away – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

Season Yearbook 2016/17: Paul Musco on FC United away

For the start of the 2017/18 season, Lew Currie created a season yearbook of the previous campaign – for which, we interviewed Berlin based supporter Paul Musco about his relationship with the club, and his trip back to Manchester especially to watch West take on FC United in a cup competition. West lost that game 7-1, in one of the most memorable and – bizarrely – enjoyable games in our recent history. To celebrate Paul’s birthday (happy birthday, Paul!), we’re publishing that interview on our website for the first time. Enjoy – have a good one, Paul: we’re sure you’ll be keeping up to date with all the latest from this evening’s friendly from over in Berlin.

Could you tell us how you first became a West fan?

My first ever West game was the final day of the 2012/13 season against Irlam. Knowing that a West victory would guarantee them promotion to the Premier Division, it seemed like as good a time as any to check out the local non-league team. With eight minutes still on the clock the scores were level, and then came the moment that got me hooked as a West fan; Callum Jones’ winner that sent the West fans (who were much fewer in number than they are now) into party mode.

Since you moved to Berlin, what’s it been like supporting West?

Even when I was living in Chorlton, my job (which involves lots of travelling, particularly at weekends) meant that I couldn’t make the pilgrimage to Brookburn Road as often as I’d like to. So I’ve always relied heavily on social media and the Krombacher Ultras Whatsapp group to keep abreast of all the latest West news. However, when I am now at home in Berlin at 3pm (or should I say 4pm) on a Saturday, I’ll be glued to Twitter, constantly refreshing the West feed, greeting every goal with a blast of “AAAAAND WEST AND WEST AND WEST AND WEST”. My girlfriend is starting to get used to my addiction, occasionally I’ll even catch her joining in with her own Germanic rendition of the Houmous/Quinoa chant.

For the FC United game, you flew back over especially. What drove you to make that decision?

The official reason was that I had to visit Manchester due to work commitments. Although that wasn’t necessarily entirely true, it was pretty much just a way of justifying the flight costs to myself! It was being billed as one of the biggest matches in West’s recent history, and seeing as I started my life as a West fan at their other biggest match in recent history, I couldn’t miss out. Plus, witnessing everyone get excited on social media during the build-up to the game knowing I couldn’t be there would’ve been unbearable.

What were you feeling as you travelled back to Manchester ahead of the game?

I never dreamt that West would get anything out of the game, so I didn’t really feel any nerves, only excitement at the thought of seeing West and hanging out with a load of pals. I think I’d only been to two or three West games last season up to that point, so I definitely needed my fix.

Before the game, what did you get up to?

The Pilcrow in the city centre was the post-work meeting point for all the Ultras. We caught up over a couple of (non-Krombacher) beers, jumped on the train to Moston, and had a couple more pre-match beers at The Miners (an old social club located right next to Broadhurst Park).

On to the game itself – what do you remember of it?

I actually remember more than I probably should, considering the monumental hangover I was nursing the following day. Although most of my memories are based on the atmosphere at the ground, rather than the game itself.

How about the West crowd there – were you expecting the atmosphere? How was that for you?

Not at all, it was incredible. I’d not been to a West game for a couple of months, so hadn’t really appreciated how much the crowds had been growing. And I was totally taken aback by all the new chants, I’m particularly a fan of the Broccoli/Brockley chant. This was also the first time I’d been to a game where all the West fans were bunched into a fairly small area, I think that definitely helped with the atmosphere.

If a similar game were to come up this season – say, Altrincham or Salford City away in the cup – would you do the same?

Without a doubt. I’m really looking forward to that FA Vase run that takes us all the way to Wembley (AKA the best day of our lives). And despite catching a severe dose of #southmanchesterderbyfever twice a year, I still haven’t been to a derby game. That’s something that definitely needs to be corrected sooner rather than later. After all, we might not be in the same division too much longer!

Any final thoughts?

I’m really excited for the new season. It feels like something special is happening down Brookburn Road. The attendances that West are attracting now were the things of dreams back when I went to my first West game four years ago.