The Stretford End

The Stretford End was once one of the most famous stands in football. It was never the largest standing are, the Holte End the Kippax fought for that award but the Stretford End for many years was hailed at one of the nosiest vibrant stands in Britain. On a Saturday the turnstiles would open at mid-day and the fans would already be queued up in their thousands ready to find their favourite place and stand with their mates, later arrivals had to contend with the youngsters in front of the fence immediately behind the goal.

The place to be was over the main entrance where a famous United flag draped over every game, unfortunately for many of us this place was all but reserved by reputation and age and more often than not was the starting point of most songs.

While probably the Stretford End’s only major competitor the Kop had a history and tradition of humour and friendly banter the Stretford End turned away from any such pretensions. The Kop had earned a reputation of clapping and cheering goalkeepers as they came towards their end, the keeper would put is arms up in recognition or clap the stand, the Stretford end took note of this tradition and clapped and cheered the keepers, the keeper naturally obliged with a thankful gesture only to be booed whistled at and heckled by every fan once he had made the acknowledgment, keeper often looked bewildered as if they had done something wrong. But the Stretty only cared about United it didn’t care how the world saw it.

The turnstiles would click for the first time for a 3.00 kick off at 12 and thousands would be waiting already, the fight to obtain the key positions began. The most prestigious spot was over the entrance to the goal where a large United flag would be draped every United game no matter what, these positions were held by the main men, youngsters would often try their dandiest to take them but were shoved aside. The terraces were usually full by 1.30 and you daren’t go for a refreshment or use the facilities as you would be lucky to get back before 3 and with little if no chance of making it back to your original position.

From 12 to the end of the game song after song would be sang getting louder and louder as more people entered, we were the 12th man and we knew it. The songs usually elevated from the converted position from above the tunnel, many of those songs still live on over 3 decades after they came in to being. Hello Hello we are the Busby boys, We are the Pride of all Europe….etc.

Today the Stretford End is no more it is known as the West Stand it is still the main area for singing and will always be known to some as the Stretford End but it has lost the fear factor, the reputation of yester year which it fought so hard to obtain. The King of the Stretford End – Denis Law has a proud statue at the top of Tier 2 a fitting tribute to a great man.

Many United fans have fought to bring back standing and have fought the authorities and stand up all the game for certain games especially Champions League games it is a tradition, the fans only sit down at half time.

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One Response to “The Stretford End”

  1. terry walsh says:

    the stretford end, that was powerful..some of the euro nights in the 70′s was beyond todays efforts (exept away) and the reason is the cunts on the board at old trafford that dont give 2 fucks about home support and how its so important, and heres why.Whatever season (bar a few in 80,s)united were pretty much the best sopported team in england, they were the best supported team in england in div 2..and at a shout i would say 85/90% were from gtr manchester with the faithful 10/15% from ireland and wales and all over england..and im talking regulars..if you dident get to the ground on time the stretty was closed and you tried anywhere else.when united like the other clubs had to go all seating they only had eyes on money which is fine as long as you take care of the young supporters who should be the life & blood of the club..but no plans for that was there? there are a hell of a lot more united fans where i live but the kids may have been to a testimonial match for the head ballboy and thats it.a lot of these kids are living in one parent families who dont stand a fucking chance with a season ticket.when they built the quadrants why did they not consider a section then? all the prawn faced fuckers who have the money but not the love wont be there if united should ever slide-”it wont happen to united” prawny, it allready has! add to that the times fans have contacted united to consider a seat swap so that mates will be with mates and the ones who are called willhelm can get some peace & quiet elsewhere.but no, no, no the money is safe so why go to extra trouble? sir alex should grow up when he’s demanding the fans to sing, you could be sat next to a lithuanian nun and an incontenant 20 stone beckham loving 80 year old virgin who thinks he’s still playing..what fergy wants is what we cant get and its a fucking disgrace..imagine if the last part gets built and its 100,000 seater like planned the silence will be even louder..its strange how all my happiest memories at old trafford are not the 90′s onwards but the mid to late 70′s and going to the game in a gang not waving each other off at different parts of the ground..dont these fuckers know what love is?

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