Are You a Proper United fan?

Sir Matt Busby

AUTHOR: – Mancunian Red

What right do I have to ask this or judge anyone which of course is a fair response. While I don’t think there is black and white answer to this question I do believe that people have the right to judge and there are certain criteria which defines a true fan from a glory hunter. I will try to explain my reasoning.

Many people believe the myth United became the biggest British club because of the Munich disaster. This is false United had become the best supported club after the war because of the great football we played. Prior to the war it could be argued we weren’t even the biggest club in Manchester. It was only after Busby and Murphy took over the club and put the emphasis on attack and style that United’s support started growing.

Prior to Munich in the season 1956/7 United had become the best supported team in the country:

Top 5 1956/7 season

1 Manchester United 45.481
2 Tottenham Hotspur 43.280
3 Arsenal 41.093
4 Sunderland 36.145
5 Newcastle United 35.202

After Munich and with United rebuilding United were no longer the best supported club in England

Top 5 1960/61 season

1 Tottenham Hotspur 53.124
2 Everton 43.448
3 Manchester United 38.888
4 Arsenal 34.138
5 Aston Villa 33.599

Top 5 1961/62 season

1 Tottenham Hotspur 45.576
2 Everton 41.432
3 Arsenal 34.447
4 Manchester United 33.491
5 Aston Villa 32.056

Top 5 1962/63 season

1 Everton 51.603
2 Tottenham Hotspur 47.342
3 Liverpool 42.971
4 Manchester United 40.329
5 Arsenal 32.288

Top 5 1963/64 season

1 Everton 49.401
2 Liverpool 45.032
3 Manchester United 44.125
4 Tottenham Hotspur 43.800
5 Arsenal 34.793

Clearly had Munich been the major driving force for United’s fan base it wouldn’t have dropped off after Munich and been so prominent prior to the horrific event. Moreover a little thought in to the decision making process and we know people will make a decision which football club to support on the basis of their home club or another factor which will attract them to the club. I think first young kids fall in love with the game and then choose a club if it isn’t following the club their father or another import figure in their life supports there must be a reason for someone to relate to that club.

With United it has been the Busby Babes, Best, Charlton, and Law, attacking football and playing football the right way. Leeds and Liverpool dominated football but always felt unfairly treated by the media as they concentrated too much space to United. The reason they did this was because fans loved United’s football philosophy and were drawn to it. The hatred Leeds and Liverpool fans have towards United nowadays is due to the love and respect United achieved playing football the right way even when we weren’t winning trophies!

As a youngster history or sympathy aren’t as important as watching someone do something which you dream about doing and it takes your breath away, you love to feel excited. Why support football if it doesn’t excite you? By the late 1960s United have a London supporters club with over 10,000. With the rebuilding of United after Munich and the return of attacking stylish football, United returned to being the best supported club.

Top 5 1966/67 season

1 Manchester United 53.854
2 Liverpool 46.388
3 Arsenal 42.606
4 Tottenham Hotspur 41.988
5 Chelsea 35.591

Top 5 1967/68 season

1 Manchester United 57.552
2 Everton 46.983
3 Liverpool 46.755
4 Tottenham Hotspur 42.608
5 Newcastle United 37.239

Top 5 1968/69 season

1 Manchester United 51.169
2 Liverpool 47.348
3 Everton 45.958
4 Arsenal 38.423
5 Chelsea 37.613

Top 5 1974/75 season

1 Liverpool 45.966
2 Everton 40.021
3 Leeds United 34.822
4 Newcastle United 34.614
5 Manchester City 32.898

United were in the old 2nd division Average home attendance 48.388.

The essence of United is style and attacking football. And that is why we have become the best supported club in the world. I have no doubt we also have glory hunting fans that support United because the clubs success they associate with their success. But most fans support United because of the football we play and how we play the game.

I don’t think it matters a jot where you come from whether its Manchester, Birmingham, London or Africa I think what is important is that you understand the history and ethos of the club and desire it to continue.

I would hate the special one to become manager, I have no doubt he would win lots of trophies but at what expense? I think often his antics are unacceptable and his brand of football should be kept away from OT. I think the glory hunting United fans would love him but those of us who care and cherish our history would hate it. I also think the reason Arsenal’s fan base has grown so big is again the type of football they play over the last decade I think they have been the most attractive football team to watch in the prem and this hurts me to say. And is also a reason their youth team attendances put United’s to shame.

Football is the beautiful game United’s main objective should be to win trophies being the best exponent of attacking attractive football.

I mention this because I’m proud of United’s history the Busby era of course the fact we stuck by the Doc despite being relegated and watched a return of wingers and attacking football. The fact we got rid of Sexton because of the dour football despite the fact he took us to the highest place in the league for a decade a year before he was sacked.

And that we stuck by Fergie, many other club fans would have made sure he had been pushed way before we won trophies. Fans opinions matter I just hope it is the true fans and not the glory hunters who are heard loudest when Fergie decides to retire!

BTW as a side note this is the best evidence to prove Manchester is Red, not one season since the last war has City had a bigger season attendance than United even when both clubs shared Maine Road. And this was before social mobility, motorways or many people even having cars. How can City fans explain this……simple they cannot!!!

Would you be willing to see United win trophies at the expense of attractive football. If so why do you support United is it just because you like to wind other fans up and support a club which wins a lot?

6 Comments on Are You a Proper United fan?

  1. Comment by manuste — April 6, 2011 @ 6:59 am

    I don’t think there is anything natural about United playing attractive football. It is something that is in the ethos of the club but we have certainly lost it at times such as Tommy Doc’s early years at OT and the Sexton years.

    Moreover I’m 90 odd percent certain the special one will be the next United manager and the days of attacking attractive football will be lost to tactical battles. My guess he will win lots of trophies with United especially the CL many times. And for the heart and soul of United that would a big part of the club would die.

    Regarding Barca of course they are a better passing side than United and in truth probably a better team. That does not mean we have to try to beat them playing negative football. Arsenal are a better passing side than United but we know how to beat them by attacking with pace on the break. That doesn’t mean we only play on the break.

    And regarding only playing 4-4-2 When have I ever said this is the best system? The season we had Tevez and Rooney and Ronaldo as the front three I thought was brilliant.

    Of course tactics are important, however when you combine tactics with worrying more about stopping the opposition than how you can hurt them isn’t the way I want to see United teams play.

    Barca aren’t unbeatable, and if you are saying we should think about beating them by stopping them playing rather than trying working out ways how we can hurt them then it isn’t the true united way.

    Alves for example was allowed against Arsenal to play as a winger and didn’t have to worry about his defences duties, I’d like to see United attack him and force him to concentrate on things he isn’t as good at.

    Tactically the special one is brilliant it wouldn’t surprise me if he really worked barca out for the cl as he did with inter but if he does that with united and we win trophies it will be hollow victories imo.

    Fergie once told a United centre half that if you need a defensive midfield player to help you cope you are at the wrong club.

  2. Busquets for Barca and Spain, arguably the 2 best attacking teams in the world.. he is a 1st team regular and gets a nosebleed if he moves over the halfway line! And just because Fergie says it, doesn’t make it right!

  3. Comment by manuste — April 8, 2011 @ 11:07 am

    Fergie has changed tactics since he originally said it, Hargreaves, Carrick, Keane in his last few years and Scholes have all played as a defensive midfield player.

    The point I was trying to make was that you can tactically beat an attacking side and great side such as Barca not just by trying to work out how to stop them. You can also work out their weaknesses tactically and attack them.

    The best example is Arsenal we know that Arsenal are great with the ball we don’t try to stop them but don’t allow them in areas where they can hurt us and we know they struggle with pace and quicker counter attacks.

  4. I don’t love this club because of the trophies. Neither because of the exciting attacking football game we play. I love this club, not sure why.

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