Why I Support Manchester United

Posted: March 4, 2016 in Football, Manchester United, Opinion
Tags: , , , , ,

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The Manchester United I began supporting as a boy were far removed from the Manchester United of today.

I first started going to Old Trafford in 1965 and sat in the Stretford End whenever United were at home. Deemed too young to go to away games, (that was the excuse anyway), my father would take me to Maine Road to watch City whenever United were away.

City never held the same attraction for me as United. It could have been that they were in the second division, it may have been that they had no “star” players, (although they were to acquire some in the near future). The atmosphere in the Platt Lane End of Maine Road didn’t seem to have the same intensity as Old Trafford. So I looked forward to United’s games with far more excitement than those of City.

Manchester United, at the time, were owned by Louis Edwards, who owned a meat packing company. He was a local as was his son, who would later take over as Chairman of United. City were owned by Peter Swales, a radio and hi-fi dealer from Manchester.

The average match day for me would start with myself and my father walking up the hill from where we lived to catch the number 112 or 113 bus, which dropped us ten minutes from the ground. At that time, I lived in Moston which is North Manchester, so the bus trip was about forty minutes.

We would arrive at the ground roughly two hours before kick-off and then we would queue at the turnstiles to enter the Stretford End. Occasionally, the Stretford End would be full and we would have to watch the game from the Scoreboard End which was fine, unless it was raining!

At the end of the game, depending upon the score, we would either leave five minutes early to try and avoid the rush, or we would wait for an additional ten minutes for the same reason.

If somebody had told us, back then, that United would be owned by Americans and run by a CEO who was an accountant from Chelmsford nobody would ever have believed it. United was one of the local clubs for people from Manchester. If you didn’t support United, you supported City, simple. They were both owned and run by local people and were both very well supported by local people. They didn’t need “cockney reds” or “supporters” from some of the places announced on banners at away games. These people, through no fault of their own, are just keeping tickets out of the hands of genuine United fans.

By not supporting their own local club they are damaging the grass roots of the game.
Don’t try and tell me for example. that London has so few clubs that people have to support United. It is ridiculous.

That identity has now gone. The only connection that either club has with Manchester is the name and the geographical location of the ground.

Whenever I am on Facebook or Twitter reading about United I struggle to find an English name in the comments sections, yet there are always hundreds of comments. Whenever a TV station interviews “fans” outside Old Trafford, I struggle to pick out a Mancunian accent. Sometimes there isn’t even an English accent!

This has all taken the club further away from the fans than ever. Roots have been completely forgotten or conveniently ignored whichever the case may be.

The last time I was wandering round Old Trafford there was a sign which pronounced that the next three games were sold out. What chance of turning up on the day, queuing at the turnstiles, and paying to go in? None, apparently, that is the old fashioned way. Allowing Mancunians to turn up and support their club and pay at the turnstile has given way to letting anybody have the tickets providing they can pay and preferring anonymous season ticket holders to real fans. Going to the ground for tickets has been replaced by going online for tickets.

The suits running Manchester United currently have no idea what they are doing. As they flounder, watching the best managers being snapped up by other clubs, and sticking with a Dutchman who is, like me, still living in the past, they are in danger of being left behind on the football pitch.

This would then be in keeping with their general attitude because, long ago, they deserted their own fans in favour of anybody’s money.

I will continue to support my local club despite it’s shortcomings, as I have done for more than fifty years. I can’t help but feel that there are a heck of a lot more hangers on since the successes of the Fergie era than there ever were when Tommy Docherty was winning the old second division. Where were they all then?

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Comments
  1. RedMe says:

    If the club had remained like it was, you wouldn’t have enjoyed the success and the trophies, the history the club has made so far. All the money poured in to the club didn’t came from the locals but from the millions of supporters of our club. Manchester United is in the same way as Real Madrid, Barcelona to name a few football clubs that people follwed worldwide because not everybody can see his local team playing in the champions league or even in the EPL. So be happy and proud that so many people love Manchester United instead of moaning about something that doesn’t exisit anymore.

    Like

    • Back in the sixties, the capacity at Old Trafford was somewhere on the region of 63,000. This figure was achieved for every home game without the need or ability of people to travel from different parts of the country. In other words, United would have prospered even if they had left things as they were. All the money now is from TV deals and merchandise, whereby shirt sales in China are now relevant. They never were in the past.

      Like

  2. Kevin Porter says:

    Nostalgia is a disease.

    Like

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