Date: 16th July 2011 at 12:40am
Written by:

Manchester United fans

United fans -still the greatest, wherever they're from.

When lads meet other lads after a few boring ‘what do you do?’ and ‘where are you from?’ questions the conversation usually leads on to the inevitable ‘who do you support?’ question.

This was something that, during my early to mid twenties I always used to dread. That’s because, in order, my answers would have been ‘a student, Cardiff, Man Utd.’

For the millions of working non-Utd fans I was as bad as it gets! A tax dodging glory hunter!
However, I was neither. Well, that’s a lie. I was dodging taxes (through no fault of my own – that’s just the way that the UK education system is set up) but I certainly wasn’t a glory hunter. It just so happened that glory had, through fate’s will, hunted me out the day I decided that Utd were the team for me.
All of my friends were Liverpool fans and a small minority were fans of our local club – Cardiff City. However, during the early 1990s they were in the bottom divisions and weren’t on TV. We, as skint young men, were too poor and scared to brave the terraces of Ninian Park. Christ, we were too young to go it alone! For that very reason we, like many other boys in the South Wales area, followed a TV team. Liverpool were the glory team of the late 80s and, as such, all of my friends chose them as their team.
I was different though. I wanted to be different. I heard that Liverpool’s rivals were Utd. so I decided to follow them. And that, as they say, was that. I was a Manc, a red, a Red Devil.
Just because I’m not from Manchester doesn’t devalue my support of them however. I truly resent any accusation of the kind. As a friend of mine once said (admittedly about Jamie Carragher) if you cut me open I’d ‘bleed red’.
I remember the 1990 Cup Final, the 1993 Premier League and the 1994 double. I was in my early teens for these so my supporting was relatively naive and innocent – limiting itself to cheers followed by a little gloat to friends.

It was as I got older that my supporting evolved into a defence of my position. I knew the reserve team, I knew the youth teams, I could reel off any Utd. stat you wanted. This was because I was becoming aware of the glory hunter title and, quite frankly, it pissed me off! I felt that I had to defend my position as a Welsh Man Utd. fan so I revised United and I become a ‘statto’ to prove my support.
United became, as I entered my late teens, who I was. I would ensure that I wore one of my many shirts on matchday as I listened to matches on 5Live or waited, with baited breath, for CEEFAX’s latest score page to refresh. I began to wear my collar upright at all times, regardless of the shirt. I implored my parents to only buy SHARP electrical goods. Shit, I even believed Fergie when he said they couldn’t see each other in their grey shirts!

Even the 1999 treble was tainted with a feeling of shame. I remember that as my greatest ever sporting year and I will never be able to hear or remember the words ‘and Solskjaer has won it’ without getting goosebumps! But, as I went off to university the following year I was aware, almost ashamed of the fact that, I was going to have to battle off all ‘glory hunter’ accusations.
And I shouldn’t feel shame supporting my club. I’ve been to Old Trafford several times to see them. My debut game was 3rd December 1994 vs. Norwich City. The night previous I was playing five a side football and, without realising, broke my metatarsal (before Beckham had told the world what a metatarsal was!). I spent the following day hobbling around Manchester flowing through seas of red, looking on in awe at the sheer volume of fans that hit the stadium to see ‘Five Cantonaaaaaaaas’ score for a 1-0 victory.

It was only as I hit my mid-twenties that I realised that it didn’t matter where you were from. You could support, with the same ferocity as a Mancunian United fan, Man Utd. I could delight in their victories and wallow in their losses with equal passion. I did and still do. The first thing I do every morning is check the BBC gossip column on my phone in the hope that Sneijder has been spotted at Old Trafford, whenever I play Football Manager I manage United – never anyone else – and live out my dream of managing the greatest team ever, I’ve realised that being a United fan isn’t where you’re from, it’s who you are.

Follow me on Twitter @Matthew_James7 and Red Flag Flying High @RFFH


83 responses to “‘Being A United Fan Isn’t Where You’re From, It’s Who You Are’”

  1. Blooobird says:

    You wanted to be “different” so you decided to support Man Utd!!!!

    Streuth I’ve heard it all now, that’s like a cow who wanted to be different becoming a sheep.

  2. Cheeses of Nazareth says:

    An article that just epitomises the plastic fan. How can United be “who you are” if you pick them off the tv, without before going to a game, or having any links or affiliation with them? Revising Man Utd stats, to “prove” you’re a real fan. PMSL. At first I thought this was a parody article, but the worrying thing is it isnt.

    As Bender from Futurama, once said “oh wait, you’re serious, let me laugh even harder”

  3. Charlie says:

    my name charlie wong and i am new to red frag frying high. i really like mufc and support sence i saw ronaldo. i buy shirt from market and love mufc til i die. i want one day go to old tlafford and cheer rooney and babatov. i wish saf to sign sneider and messi to make mufc greater then my other favorite team, barcelona.

  4. Samuel Harrison says:

    Gloryhunters justifying why theyre gloryhunters..
    whoooooooooooooooooooosh !!

  5. Samuel Harrison says:

    Oh I nearly forgot..all those Manure fans from around the world who posted replies on here that they are not gloryhunters, anwer me this..
    Why did you choose Manchester United rather than say Barnsley, Plymouth, wigan ??.

    I really dont need to ask that question do I.??

    Thats why im a life long City fan.

    • Raj says:

      I’m from Malaysia, and I support City till I die!

      Tevez, Toure, De Jong are my City legends!

      Anyone here from Malaysia? We’re looking for people to join the fan club, we’ll be big in no time!

      Bluemoon is rising, we don’t need history, we’ve won the FA Cup over you, it’s even better than the league itself cos it’s the oldest cup in the world! That’s more historical than your trophies you swamp dwellers!

  6. TheCityIsntRed says:

    Brilliant article. You have really given a voice to all those fans unfortunate enough to not be from Manchester. As evidence of this years title parade I’d say thats a good 90% of you lots support.

  7. Ibmaster says:

    I’m sorry, but this has got to be the most ridiculous article I have ever read. It can’t be real, has to be a wind up. The only thing stopping me from hanging myself is the glimmer of hope that a shitty fan has done this as some sort of joke, embarrassing.

  8. forestforever says:

    No respect at all for this article writer, no connection what so ever to the Manchester, like all those who claim to be die hard supporters from those manchester surburbs of indonesia and singapore!! PMSL at the comments. Face it you guys are 100% plastic, glory supporting bandwagoners, like the the author of this article, they’ll never and I mean never know what its like to be a true supporter of your local team, which is born and bred into you, because your team represents where you come from. Respect to the real red mancs from manchester, no respect at all to the plastics.

  9. Robert says:

    Born and raised in L.A.!! Go Galaxy & the USA!!… Wish the best of luck to all American footballers playing overseas.. Nothing against MUFC fans not from Manchester though… Everyone has the right to support whom they want. I’m sure there’s a lot of Yankees, Lakers, USC football, UCLA Basketball, Dallas Cowboys fans overseas too. Nothing wrong there either.