Stand Up If You Hate Man U

From the Rage Online newsdesk Monday, March 1st, 1999  

Stand Up If You Hate Man U


I?d like to think that calling them Man U instead of giving them their full and rightful title of Manchester United (or should that be Manchester United Greedy Rich Bastards F.C) would irritate them severely. Nottingham Forest fans get very hot under the collar when referred to as Notts not Nottingham. County supporters on the other hand would get angry if they were called Nottingham County because their full name does not extend beyond Notts County. The people who claim to follow the two teams from near the Trent are actually true supporters and know something about their clubs? roots and traditions. Contrast this with the current flock of brain dead sheep who walk around all parts of the globe decked out in Man U paraphernalia. They probably think the club magically sprang to life out of a glossy catalogue and would be incapable of spelling words longer than three letters anyway. Hence the Man U ? it?s easy for ?em poor things.

But things weren?t always so. Back in the days of Newton Heath F.C the future corporate red machine was just the tiniest of seeds waiting for the right circumstances to bring it to life. I don?t think that there is much debate as to which incident provided the catalyst for what we see today. No right minded football supporter can have anything but sympathy for the victims of the Munich air disaster and it was only natural that the nation would get behind the club and the team in a time of such adversity. Only the most callous amongst us can fail to have been moved by the story of Harry Greg and his rescue of that young German girl. I confess to having a tear in my eye when I watched a recent TV documentary on the disaster. 1958 was though a very different era than football finds itself in today. There was a certain dignity about proceedings, it was the game that mattered and money largely seemed secondary.

Manchester United, they deserved their full title in ?58, were not the only team to have suffered in similar circumstances. Torino too was affected likewise in this decade but their name is not known throughout the world in the same way as that of the team from Old Trafford. I bet if you asked your average football supporter to reel off a list of Italian teams Torino wouldn?t be in the first few uttered. So why were United able to pull it off? Firstly their marketing has always been ahead of that of their rivals on the continent, although back then this facet of running a club was nothing compared with what we see today. Secondly and more importantly there was the glamour on the pitch. Best, Charlton and Law captured people?s imaginations and to provide Matt Busby with the trophy he craved in 1968 with a dazzling display at Wembley of all places pushed the club still further along the path towards the spot where the huge monstrosity now rests.

Even then I had not fallen out with them even though if asked a little later to choose which half of Manchester I preferred I would have gone for the blue corner containing Bell, Summerbee and Lee.

Given all the atrocities in the world when it boils down to mere football I?m not sure if one can purely hate. On the other hand given the inability to behave rationally once a match starts and the morale sapping or spirit lifting boost one is given for the week ahead depending on the Saturday result perhaps this isn?t so. Anyhow for the sake of argument here I?ll use hate.

I can actually trace back to the very moment that I became a Man U hater. It was at the Manor on September 16th 1972, a split second before Denis Law put his side 1-0 up. I was only a youngster then and it was in the days when once in the ground you could make your way, crowd permitting, to any part of the terracing. Segregation was yet to come. In the build up to the goal it was obvious that Law was going to score. It was one of those goals that everyone?s Granny could have scored. Once the ball had fallen to the Scotsman?s feet there was more chance of a Martian landing on the centre spot than him missing. But before the inevitable happened a voice from the man jammed next to me in the packed crowd yelled out, "Go on stick it in Denis". The accent was not Mancunian it was100% Oxfordshire. I felt like piping up "you should be ashamed of yourself, you should be supporting your local team" but of course I didn?t. I wasn?t as big as he was. It wasn?t only what he said it was also the way he said it. There was a certain arrogance that suggested that he thought it was right that Oxford should be put to the sword by a vastly superior team. If only we had hung on for the 2-1 victory we deserved I?m sure I would have managed a rude sign in the bloke?s face, followed by a "tosser", before rapidly disappearing amongst the mass of bodies that made up the Cuckoo Lane. I?m convinced that a fit Ken Skeen would have cut out the pass to Bobby Charlton which resulted in that still occasionally talked about wonder goal. But that?s the way of the world, even then our squad was so threadbare that we had to pick players that weren?t 100%. Even then Man U could pick and choose from a much stronger squad than we could ever hope to put together so why have they spent the next 26 years trying to make the gap between the likes of us and them even bigger?

Old bloke

This entry was posted on Monday, March 1st, 1999 at 12:00 am and appears under Archive. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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