Inshallah United: A story of faith and football by Nooruddean Choudry
Manchester. Birthplace of industry, the Stone Roses, the Class of 92 and, in 1979, a small brown man called Noz. This is the story of how, and why, he came to be a strictly halal Stretford Ender.
Nooruddean Choudry was born in 1979 — the year Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister, Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose, Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the last Shah of Iran, and Tim Martin opened his first Wetherspoons. Also that year, a local football club lost the Cup Final to Arsenal courtesy of a man named Sunderland. That club would become an all-consuming obsession for young Nooruddean, who would one day become a small brown man and, vitally, also a Red.
Inshallah United is the story of the first British-born son of a Pakistani family living in England’s second city. And geography is important, because if it wasn’t for his mum and dad settling in Manchester rather than anywhere else in the world, so much of what makes up Nooruddean’s identity could have been so different. As it was, he grew up as a Muslim, Manchester United supporting, Morrissey-loving, Maggie-hating, working-class Manc.
Inshallah United is about growing up as a strictly halal Stretford Ender; a devout Muslim and diehard Red. It’s about praying five times a day that United would sign Alan Shearer and knock the Scousers off their perch. And it’s a deeply personal account of life as a Muslim Asian Mancunian kid in the late 80s and 90s, bookmarked by the most successful period in Manchester United’s history.
Narrated by Maanuv Thiara