Manchester United the Beloved Hated

David MaxwellContributor IDecember 23, 2008


Manchester United was once described to me by a woman from Manchester as to what the club was not, not in Manchester, not united with anyone and Old Trafford is not too old.


Now that being said I don’t understand the hatred of the Red Devils. Maybe it is my limited view as a yank but I want to understand.  How can a club that has so many supporters, so much world recognition, such a storied past be loved and hated to the extreme, what is it about the Red Devils that bring out such emotion?


Is it the fact that MUFC has the best staff and management, the best facilities, the best players, and the best grounds?  Or is it not fun to support a club that wins all the time? 


Supporting the underdog is fun, every match; every goal, every injury, and every call from the evil officials feel like a personal victory or attack against the supporter. It makes the supporter feel like he or she part of a unique struggle toward victory. 


Do MUFC supporters feel that way?  No, they know they are going to win, and the whole world outside England seems to agree.  Is that the source of hatred?


I was sitting in a pub in Falls Church Virginia; the patrons were predominately Irish, Welsh, English and American.  Fox Soccer, Sky Sports, and Setanta Sports were all on and everyone was having a good time eating pies, drinking lager, watching football and rugby.


 I noticed that the only people wearing Manchester United Jerseys were Americans and a few Brits.  When I asked the Brits who they supported they all said other teams first over MUFC.  They made excuses why they were supporting MUFC.


“I can’t find Bolton here in the US”, “I didn’t bring my good kits with me on holiday”, “Cause I hate the other team mate”, were pretty common answers.


Americans answered differently.


“I love Rooney, and Ronaldo”, “Manchester United is the Best Football Club”, “The quality of the soccer”, were the most common answers.


Please explain to me why it is embarrassing to support Manchester United as a Brit, I really want to know.  Make this Yank understand.


From what I understand where you grow up in the UK really determines what club a person supports.  If a person doesn'r support a club from the local area everyone of them has a complex reason why. 


I asked one guy at the Reagan International Airport, one sporting a Watford kit his opinion…


“If you don’t know then you are not ever going to know you anorak.”