United should be proud of local lads and we should support them


AUTHOR: – Doron

657. The number of people who turned up at Moss Lane last night to watch the Under 18s, the Academy side beat Newcastle 1-0 in a dominant fashion that the scoreline doesn’t really suggest. Altrincham’s stadium isn’t half as hospitable as Old Trafford and you can feel the weather on a cold night, but this team deserve more support than that.

It was whilst reading an article today by London-based journalist, John Cross, that I realised I felt a bit proud. The article talks about the need for clubs in the Football League to be protected as Premier League teams poach talented youngsters. Catastrophically, Cross tells us that Hereford and Morecambe have had to scrap their Academies altogether.

There is this perception, this idea, that big clubs like Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool (who’s going to be the first to tell me Liverpool aren’t a big club!?) no longer produce home-grown local talent. To an extent this is true – there has been a lull in young local talent coming through from these clubs; however this year Kelly at Liverpool, McEachran at Chelsea (although he was born in Oxford he’s been with Chelsea since he was eight) and Cleverley/Welbeck at United (although out on loan) have all made big strides in their development and impact at the top level.

The attendance last night at Moss Lane was disappointing. Chelsea played Arsenal in the 4th round of the competition and sold out all the seats they made available at Stamford Bridge – circa. 7,500. It was even more disappointing given the number of local players in the team. Of the XI that started the game, 6 (M.Keane, Thorpe, Blackett, Cole, Tunnicliffe and Morrison) are local lads from the Manchester area. Jesse Lingard is from Warrington – not all that far away; whilst Sam Johnstone is from Preston, just a bit further away. The remaining three are foreign purchases – Fornasier, Pogba and Van Velzen. It’s feasible that if William Keane was fit, he’d have started making it 7 players from the Manchester area.

It’s encouraging that many fans who wouldn’t have paid much attention to anything beyond the first team are starting to take an interest. Twitter has certainly helped with Nick and more recently Ian and Tony in particular sharing their passion for the Reserves and the Academy with other fans (I too hope I’m doing my bit to share my passion along with various club employees who are on Twitter). United have a proud history when it comes to youth football, having won the prestigious FA Youth Cup a record 9 times – no club has brought through more players from the Academy into the first team either.

With so many local players performing well and representing not just the club but their specific areas of Manchester, it’s sad that attendances are poor. The next round match is away at Liverpool (probably at Anfield) and it would be amazing to have as many as possible make 35 mile trip to enemy territory. If we beat Liverpool the semi-final is a two legged affair and by that point the club will hopefully have the home tie at Old Trafford where it becomes inexcusable if whatever allocation of seats is made available isn’t sold out.

Many fans will be aware that after a few barren years in the production line, this is a very talented group of players. It’s time for United fans, and those in Manchester in particular to get out and back the kids. We should be proud that we lined up with 8 players born within 25 miles of Manchester (9 players if you include Will Keane who’d have surely played). By comparison, when Chelsea played Arsenal in the 4th round – Chelsea had only 4 players from London whilst Arsenal had 5 (and London is bigger than Manchester!).

Manchester United and the local areas are still producing talent, we should support them with the same pride that many of us have when talking about the class of ’92. It’s what stands United apart from our rivals today – having that local representation in the first team. It doesn’t matter where you’re from as a fan, the pride in producing local players should still be the same. If we want to continue having that one element that fans can still relate to in the club, we should support it at a grassroots level too.

AUTHOR: – Doron

Follow on twitter

3 Comments on United should be proud of local lads and we should support them

  1. I love Manchester and Manchester is red I’ve probably been to over 50 youth team games but I confess that I have been disappointed in recent years by our turn out in the youth Cup.

    It is in our blood, it is our heritage – all United fans should be aware of how United really developed – Busby saw the opportunity with the origins of the youth Cup to create the club he believed could fulfil his dreams and excite the passions of true Mancs.

    Great youngsters were sought out and brought to the club in the early 1950s and nurtured and developed. Often for the youth games in the later rounds the ground was almost full.

    Yet in recent years my stomach turned when we played Arsenal in the FA Youth Cup and Arsenal got bigger attendance than us.

    I confess this genuinely hurt. We love sport in Manchester – we I believe are the only place to sell out the Common wealth games every day.

    And we are the best supported club in England and before those start going on about our world wide fan base I’d like to remind those that we were the best supported club before Munich, and before motorways were regularly used and people would travel on them to games and during the 26 years without the title and even when we were in the old second division we beat every other club such as Liverpool etc.

    I don’t know why United’s fan base no longer holds the Youth Cup in the awe of yesteryear I find it VERY VERY sad!

  2. Great artcile, I couldnt agree more myself! I go to youth games at altrincham (which is made easier by the fact I live in hale) but I always enjoy them. I understand people who say they have MUTV and can watch games from comfort of front room, but I always like to go. I remember seeing Neville, Butt, Scholes, Beckham, Giggs start their careers back at the Cliff in early 90’s, I saw (world and european cup x 2 winner) Gerard Pique start his career at alti! To watch these kids grow up and become world class is great.

    I can’t wait for ten years time to say I was there supporting these players when they were kids… When Morrison, Pogba, Thorpe and Keane are winning titles in first team for United!

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention United should be proud of local lads and we should support them | Manchester United Blog | The Stretty Rant -- Topsy.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.