Alan Keegan grew up watching Manchester United in the old north stand – now named after Sir Alex Ferguson – and he has had a unique role to play in the club’s successes since 2000
By Paul Clennam
Every young boy dreams of playing for their favourite team, of scoring the winning goal in the cup final, of being part of those moments which will go down in history.
Alan Keegan is not one of the privileged men to have formed Manchester United’s long, successful history on the pitch, but he is a fan who has followed the team from the dark days of the 1970s and has played a unique role in over 10 years of glory.
Alan is the Manchester United stadium announcer, the voice of Old Trafford, the man who has announced some of the finest moments in the club’s recent history.
After years of waiting he sampled his first match at Old Trafford as a young lad, and has seen the lows of relegation in the 1970s to the highs of the 1999 treble. Since 2000 he has been the man in the middle of the action, delivering those highs and lows to the 76,000 fans inside the Theatre of Dreams.
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“It’s the greatest job in the world, the greatest football club in the world, and the team that I’ve supported all my life, so it’s a dream come true,” he told Goal.
“I’ve been coming to Old Trafford for years, it’s been a fantastic journey supporting Manchester United and now being part of the club and being part of the history is unreal.”
Alan still gets the thrill he experienced at his very first match, but one moment stands out above all others: “There’s been many many great nights being the announcer, but also being a fan, because the two can combine. The memories are endless but I think obviously 2008, the Champions League final, I was there in Russia, I announced Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal.
“That part of the job is unbelievable, because you’re a fan first and foremost, then you’re working for the club as the announcer, so I think the highlight has been the Champions League final 2008 because it’s the pinnacle. It’s the top of the tree, it’s the trophy that teams, fans, clubs, all want, and it was the right time for Manchester United to win it.”
There is no doubt that he has become part of the club’s history. How could a man whose voice has become synonymous with some of the most famous goals in 14 years of Manchester United history not be considered so?
Having grown up with the club before becoming part of its very fabric, Alan realises that United fundamentally understand what it’s all about.
“I think it’s important that we look at Manchester United, we look at that significant role of when you play for Manchester United, you play for this institution, you play for this historic club that everyone knows around the world,” he adds.
“If we go back to the legacy of the club, particularly when we look back at different players, whether Billy Meredith, Stan Pearson, Duncan Edwards, they all have that piece of history, they’ve played for the greatest club in the world. They’ve been part of that. Then you look at the Holy Trinity: Best, Law and Charlton.
“The thing about Manchester United and playing for Manchester United is that while Best is no longer with us, Law and Charlton are now ambassadors for the club. United see the significance of that, they see the importance of playing for this great club.
“Again we look at Bryan Robson, one of the greatest captains, one of the greatest leaders, he played for Manchester United, he is now an ambassador. Also look at Peter Schmeichel, the captain in 1999, he’s played for this great club, so United see the significance of that, they understand how that works, and when you look at the players that are part of that journey, and have played for this great club, United have that synergy to make it work.
“And the journey continues, you look at Denis Law, Sir Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson, Peter Schmeichel, and if we look at some of the current ambassadors, Gary Neville, one of the greatest captains this club has ever had, so that’s the significance. And Wayne Rooney going forward, and that’s how United understand and respect what it all means.”
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