UK-based Nigerian Afro pop singer Larry Wisdom aka Blaq Valentino opens up on his love for Manchester United and why Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen can help the Red Devils dethrone champions Manchester City next season in this interview with JONNY EDWARD
Were you involved in sports while growing up?
Yes. I played football in Ajegunle, grew up. I was a good midfielder back then, when I played with the likes of Bobolayefa Edon, who missed a penalty at Scotland 1989 U-17 World Cup and Emmanuel Amuneke was our senior back then. He used to come around to play with us at the ‘Maracana Stadium’ and the Navy Town field. I was very good but I loved writing songs and that took football from me. I thank God because I’m happy with music now. Bobolayefa is my good friend and we still talk till date. Back then, playing football at the Maracana was every young player’s dream and I’m happy I made my name playing on the football grounds.
Were your parents concerned about your involvement in sports?
Yes, they thought I was going to become a professional but when I decided to go into music, they were shocked but still they backed me. They wanted the best for me, so, when I opted for music, they supported me as well.
Which football club do you support?
I love Manchester United. They are the best team in England.
But they didn’t win the Premier League?
Yes they did not but the Red Devils will bounce back better next season.
How would you rate Erik Ten Haag’s first season in charge at Old Trafford?
Well, 50-50 for me. He has led the team back to the Champions League, which for me is a great step but there is still lot of work to be done. There are still some quality additions that need to be made in the summer so the club can compete for the title. I’m happy we beat Chelsea very well on Thursday to seal our Champions League.
When was your best moment as a Manchester United fan?
The season they won the treble will forever go down as my best moment as a Red Devils fan. Beating the likes of Juventus and Bayern Munich to the UEFA Champions League was a great feat for the club and it boosted their image further.
What about your worst?
I can’t really say I have any worst moment as a United fan, but losing to Manchester City 6-3 this season was embarrassing and I hope we redeem our image in the FA Cup final next month.
Who is your all-time favourite Manchester United player?
I have a lot of them: David Beckham, Roy Keane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke, but I’d still go for Beckham.
Have you watched a live Manchester United game before?
Yes, countless times. My first time at Old Trafford was awesome. It was a game against Chelsea before Sir Alex Ferguson left. I can’t remember the scoreline but a memorable one.
Are you pleased with Manchester United’s form this season?
Yes I am. At least we qualified for the UEFA Champions League despite a tough season. I believe next season will be better with some good signings.
United are reportedly tracking Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen. Do you think he will be a good signing?
Of course he will be a good summer signing. We all have seen his performances for Napoli in the past three seasons in Italy.
If you were a coach and had to pick between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, which player will that be?
Messi of course, he is magical. We have seen his exploits and they are remarkable. Ronaldo has done well for himself but Messi remains the best.
What are your expectations for the club ahead of next season?
The Premier league title should be their target next season and I hope with the arrival of a good striker, United will be better but they must get rid of Harry Maguire. Most Manchester United fans here (UK) don’t like Maguire. They feel he has not done enough to be the captain of the club. I don’t want to talk about his numerous mistakes.
Who is your best Nigerian footballer?
For me, Henry Nwosu and Austin Okocha are the best Nigerian footballers. Maybe because I was a midfielder during my days. Those players made something out of nothing when the going got tough in games.