Y.O.U.N.G Chez Davis, lead singer of Manchester five-piece Y.O.U.N.G, reveals his love for the Reds…

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On Old Trafford as a second home…

I am a massive red, season ticket holder. My dad’s been taking me since I could talk. I don’t remember my first game, my dad would know, but I was probably about four-years-old. I try and make every game I can, until we’re on the road. That’s when I start to appear to have more friends because they all know I’m going on tour, so they all ask about my United ticket: “what you doing with it while you’re away Chez?!”.

My friends always take the mick out of me for this, but I sit just behind the bench in the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand, where all the quiet and old people are. The fish finger sandwich crowd who all sit down, so I don’t really hear too much criticism. It’s normally all positive and two-finger claps!

“They actually played our single at Old Trafford. I’m looking around shouting to everyone ‘it’s me, it’s me!’.”

On football as a career…

I started out at Man City, I signed for them when I was nine, up until 14/15 years old. I actually loved it, I never had the whole rivalry thing between City and United because I was at such a young age and I got to go to the games every week at City, so when I was growing up I was a blue and a red. Until I became a little older in my teenage years, that’s when I became a big red.

I played with Jesse Lingard for years, Ravel Morrison, Zeki Friars, and Wes Brown’s brother Reece. There’s a few more Championship players who I played with as well. I played for Fletcher Moss Rangers, they’re like United’s feeder club. Danny Welbeck played for them in his youth as well and I actually hold the top goalscoring record for that club, beating Welbeck. I am officially better than Danny Welbeck, noted!

After I played for City, I went on trial at Bolton, got picked up by Burnley and they offered me a youth team contract and I lived there for a little while.

On sporting sacrifices…

At City, already at that young age they were pressurising me with regards to which one do you want to choose, music or football. They said I couldn’t do both. I was coming in to training with bright red hair, it didn’t go down too well. And I didn’t want to make any decisions then, I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket because I’ve seen that you can get injured. And I’ve been injured now so I did make the right choice. I believe in fate, and I always believed my Achilles tendon was going to go at some point.

When I watch football documentaries it’s always about sacrifices, like Gary Neville would say “I had to give up going out with my friends” and I think that’s the bit I lacked. It’s the not seeing my friends and not going out. It’s definitely those little split decisions that separate a good footballer to a professional footballer. I wouldn’t mind the money of a footballer mind!

I never really gave it in, it was more through injury I was forced to give it in. I snapped my Achilles tendon twice, and I relied a lot on my pace. If I could I’d still play with my friends, I’d still love a kickabout. But it’s not worth going through six months of not walking again. It really affected the band, we couldn’t perform for a long time, so it’s not wise.

Sometimes on a Sunday I go in net so I don’t risk any injury, with my mates in a six-a-side game. The aim is to one day be fit enough to play in the Soccer Aid that Robbie Williams does. I’d love that.

On the memories…

There’s a few great games but one that really stands out for me was when Paul Scholes scored a screamer from outside the box against FC Barcelona in the Champions League in 2008, the stadium had such a sick atmosphere it will be tough to beat that.

My favourite away trip was against Chelsea a few years back when Ricardo Carvalho gave the ball away to Wayne Rooney and he neatly tucked it away. I always remember I was with my Grandad and Dad at the time and a couple of pissed-up United fans knocked my Grandad’s glasses flying off his face in celebration!

But Ruud van Nistelrooy man, that was a heyday for me that. That was my teens, so I was really passionate about football back then. So it was good to see him bagging every week, left, right and centre. Phenomenal.

As for memorable kits? There was one a few years ago, when we had Diego Forlan. It was all white, and it had a tiny little red V-neck, it’s always stuck out for me that one. Or the reversible one when we signed Juan Veron, and it reversed into gold. It was too thick, I remember playing a game in it once and it was like wearing a thermal sweater.

On combining two passions…

The band started with three of us originally, Me, Ben and Jamie, we’re getting on for five years together now. We found our sound with heavier guitars and the rap coming through, like rock rap.

We’re all massive Reds, and just a couple years ago we wrote a song for United, the official derby day song. It’s a bit borderline cheesy but it’s still pretty cool. They posted about it, it was on MUTV, and got played at Old Trafford. We got a few fans from it.

They actually played What I Gotta Do, which was our first single, and our second single Exposure. I’m looking around Old Trafford shouting to everyone “it’s me, it’s me!”.

On match day traditions…

My Dad’s a bit more superstitious than me, he’s sat in the same seat for over 30 years! We like to grab some food on the way down to the game, either from a local near us in Hyde, the Rising Moon, which does lovely pub grub, or at one of the burger vans on Sir Matt Busby Way. No onions for me, thanks love.

If I was to give some advice to visiting fans, it would be to bring a coat and some Bovril! It’s freezing 99% of the time. As for places to check out, Affleck’s Palace is good for shopping and Northern Quarter has some good bars. Even some of our photo shoots are taken around that area.

Y.O.U.N.G’s latest single ‘Lazy’ is out now. For more head to their Facebook page.

Thanks to:

Chez Davis, YOUNG
Tom Roberts, Shoot Music


Adam Simmons (Flickr)
Leslie Vella (Flickr)