Meet the creator of Surfing Fred: The Red Devil of San Diego

For the first interview in our Proper United Top Reds series, we sit down with Chairman of Red Devil’s San Diego to talk about his love for United and the story behind the coolest United mascot on the planet.
6 minutes to read

Born and bred in San Diego, California, Dakota Green bleeds the red of Manchester United. He’s been running Red Devil’s San Diego – the official United supporter’s group in the city – since 2019. 

Dakota joined us from the supporter’s club at The Shakespeare Pub – a typical British-style establishment that serves traditional food and boasts a great selection of alcoholic beverages (if you’re ever lucky enough to be in San Diego, it’s a no brainer for any Red.) 

We had a top time chatting with Dakota (along with meeting Surfing Fred – read on) and he deserves a lot of credit for the work he does flying the Red flag high in sunny San Diego. We look forward to catching up with you again soon Dakota and appreciate your time.

🇾🇪 Whilst you’re here Reds:

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“First of all, just to let everyone know, I call it football, not soccer,” Dakota makes very clear as we start the conversation. “I’ve always called it football!”

This is a guy who’s office walls are literally covered with United flags and scarves. His clothing rack is jam packed full of United shirts and the morning of a match-day typically involves spending too much time trying to choose which one to wear. A tough decision though to be fair when you’ve got a total of 62 shirts to choose from.

For this interview – held before United played Newcastle last season – Dakota chose the ’05/’06 home shirt with Alan Smith on the back. It’s a special shirt for him as it’s the one United wore for his first ever game at Old Trafford against Liverpool in ’06.

Dakota’s love for United started after he relocated from the US to Manchester for work as an 18-year old. A stroke of luck that put him on a path of pure dedication to the Manchester United cause – and one that he will clearly never divert from.

“My next-door neighbour in Manchester was a die-hard United supporter with season tickets and knew I’d just moved to the area,” he tells us. “He invited me to go to a game with him so I thought ‘okay. cool.’ Little did I know the match was United v Liverpool and we’d be sat in the Stretford End!”

“I was mesmerised by everything,” Dakota says. “We queued up early for the Bishop’s Blaize, and inside was something else. Just listening to all the stories from my neighbour’s friends blew me away… and the singing of course. Then we headed to the stadium, and what a game it was.”

“We were standing all game of course. I’m learning all the songs, it was mind blowing. Then, to top it all off, Rio Ferdinand scores a header in the last minute at the Stretford End to give us a 1-0 win. I was sold.”

The moment that really solidified Dakota’s love for United though was the 2008 Champions League Final against Chelsea in Moscow.

“I watched us win the European Cup at the Bishops Blaize. That was the moment I realised United would be a huge part of my life,” he says.

One to remember: Dakota’s first game was a belter and this is a great time for us to re-live the moment.

Dakota moved back to San Diego in 2008 – and quickly realised there was no official place to meet with other Reds to watch United play.

“I talked to a few of my buddies about the idea of setting up a supporter’s club at The Shakespeare Pub, where most die-hard United fans watched the games, and they said ‘Why don’t you do it?’  he fondly recalls.

“But the straw that broke the camels back was when a good friend of mine from Seattle visited San Diego and asked me where the official United supporters club was. 

I thought, if one person is looking for a place then there must be many others that have the same problem. I had already helped run something similar for a Major League Soccer club, Seattle Sounders, so I applied a lot of that learning towards creating Red Devil’s San Diego, which we officially formed in 2019 at The Shakespeare with the help of some really good friends of mine.”

The San Diego crew at The Shakespeare pub. Dakota is in the middle to the left, just above the lady with the shades on.
Dakota watches nervously in The Shakespeare
They do what they want: Match-day at the Shakepeare Pub in San Diego, California.

Now, we have to make it very clear at this point that we all think Dakota is the star of the show over at Red Devil’s San Diego, however even he will agree there’s a founding member who’s perhaps just a little bit cooler than himself.

In true San Diego style, donning the surfboard and stood in front of what else but – waves – here at Proper United we are extremely proud and privileged to introduce all Reds to the one and only Surfing Fred – the official mascot of Red Devil’s San Diego:

“Surfing Fred is our official mascot and the main part of the crest for Red Devil’s San Diego,” Dakota says. “My buddy Casey is a really great designer, and he and I came up with the concept after firing ideas around for a couple of months when we set the supporter’s club up in 2019.”

“A lot of other supporter’s groups have the devil on their crest, which is fine, but I really wanted to create something that speaks to what San Diego is all about, and surfing is a hallmark tradition here in the city.”

“So, instead of doing the ship on the canal above the devil, we chose waves which really speaks to our beaches and culture. And obviously, Surfing Fred is holding the surf board with the trident. It’s really something unique. I’d love to put him on an actual surfboard and give it to charity or something, that would be cool.”

We’d like to take this opportunity to invite any other United supporters clubs to outdo the story of Surfing Fred. Get in touch by emailing [email protected] if you think you’ve got something unique as we love stories like this.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to speak with us Dakota and shout out to all the die-hard Reds over in the USA. 

Respect! 

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