Talking Manchester United with… Peter Hook

Peter Hook
Peter Hook… Recipient of an indirect hairdryer

On Friday June 21st, Peter Hook & The Light will be the main attraction of an FAC 51 Hacienda club night at London’s Coronet venue, where they shall perform a “New Order Electronic Set” as part of a bill that also includes 808 State, Super White Assassin and a selection of DJs including Hooky himself. (For more about this event, amongst other topics, read his interview with Rocksucker.)

In celebration of this forthcoming treat, Football Burp caught up with the legendary erstwhile Joy Division and New Order bassist for a natter about his beloved Manchester United – but first, check him out in action with The Light…

What do you think of the appointment of David Moyes as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor?

Well, it’s like me stepping into Ian Curtis’s shoes. I know how David feels. “If Peter Hook can do it with Ian Curtis, I can do it with Sir Alex”: that’s what he’s saying now! (Laughs) It might take him six months, eight months before he enjoys it, but I tell you what: if I can do it, he can bloody do it. It’s easy stepping into Bernard Sumner’s shoes: all I had to do was be a bit effeminate! (Laughs) Sir Alex will be there all the time, just like Bobby Charlton.

Do you have a favourite Sir Alex memory?

I’ve got many, actually. My best Alex Ferguson memory is from when I’d just become single again after my terrible divorce from Mrs Merton. I went out one night to a club in Manchester, it was the opening night, and my mate who worked for the Evening News was there. He asked how I was, I said I’d not had a good time, so he said, “I know what will cheer you up, come and have your picture taken with Sir Alex!”

I was going, “What? He doesn’t know me,” but he said, “He ****ing loves Joy Division, come on!” Anyway he dragged me over, plonked me next to Sir Alex and had our picture taken – then, when the photographer had finished and moved away, Sir Alex turned to his mate and said, “Who the fuck’s this?” I’ve loved him ever since!

He supposedly did that special playlist for his last match at Old Trafford against Swansea, and “True Faith” by New Order was on it.

Peter Hook & The Light - Hacienda FAC 51 - June 2013

Do you think Wayne Rooney should be sold?

The trouble with all these players these days is that they are like mercenaries, aren’t they? They’re chasing money more than loyalty and I think that these people stick out at United because Sir Alex generally doesn’t like them. He gave Rooney the benefit of the doubt in a nice, fatherly way, so maybe now he feels differently. David Moyes had trouble with Rooney, too, didn’t he? Sued him over his book. What it comes down to is that Rooney’s not man enough to give it a go.

I live near Winslow and actually share a dry cleaner with Sir Alex. I once went in and the guy said, “Do you want to see the pizza on the jacket?” [Referring to the infamous ‘pizzagate/Battle of the Buffet’ incident between United and Arsenal in 2004] He took out the jacket and showed it me! I said, “How many people have you shown that to?” He said, “Hundreds.” I said, “You better get it cleaned, he could be in for it in a minute!”

Also, I used to live next door to David Beckham here in Alderley Edge, and he used to drive around in a Harley Davidson truck, an SM50 Chevy pickup truck, and the kid working at the garage in Alderley Edge was a New Order fan. Every time I’d go in to fill my car up, he’d say to me, “Guess what Beckham told me today!” Beckham used to go in and talk to the garage attendant – I think he must have been a bit lonely! – then I’d go in and the kid would tell me all the secrets that Beckham had just told him.

Would you be able to name the first, best and worst games you’ve ever been to?

It’s funny, I gave up my season ticket because United were so bad. It was about four seasons ago, maybe five, and they were playing so badly that I felt insulted at being a season ticket holder. Luckily I’ve got a couple of mates who’ve got tickets so occasionally I get to go, and I went to see the Middlesbrough match recently, which was diabolical! They are like a Jekkyl and Hyde team: sometimes they’re absolutely fantastic, other times they can be absolutely ****ing abominable.

Amazingly, City did a very good impression of United when they played Wigan in the cup final! The way United sometimes play when they’re really infuriating, it was like that. That was the longest three minutes of my life, the time between Wigan scoring and the final whistle going. I was so happy our noisy neighbours will be quiet for a while.

Finally, if you had to select a five-a-side team out of all the United players you’ve seen in your time as a fan, who would you pick?

George Best, Beckham, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. I used to see Giggs, Scholes and all the young players at the Hacienda all the time. It’s amazing to think what a part of your history they were, and what a part of their history you were. They’d all be letting onto me so they could get into the Hacienda! How times have changed.

Peter Hook, thank you.

For more information, please visit the official Peter Hook website.