Thursday, 21 January 2010

Why I Support Manchester United

(This is the United legend that is Clayton Blackmore, or 'sunbed' as he was affectionately known, he was a great utility player who could fill any position and was flash as 'owt, I used to love to watch him play and bat on down the left-wing and boy could he hit a free kick)

My last post and some feisty commentary there has compelled me to write this blog today, to explain why I support Manchester United.

Yes, I was born in Nottingham and was surrounded by Forest fans (and a smattering of County stalwarts) but my dad didn't care much for footy as he was born in Watford and much preferred Formula 1, athletics and boxing.

Anyway, as a wee child footy wasn't on my radar really apart from finding Nottingham Forest legend Brian Clough really funny whenever he popped onto Central TV but then, one day in May 1985 and no idea why, dad had the FA Cup final on and I was watching it and I caught a glimpse of Ron Atkinson (now outed as a terrible racist but back then was cool as fuck), Man Utd's then manager...

and I decided there and then, based on the facile fact that Ron looked cooler than Brian Clough and Everton's manager Howard Kendall put together...

that I would now support Manchester United, who that day won the FA Cup. It was the last thing we won for about 5 years.

So to be clear, I'm an old school fan and although my initial attachment to them came from such a tenuous place I became an ardent fan and in those days, United were awful in comparison to the great Forest, who most of my mates supported and this led to endless stick and my role as the supporter of an underdog team, who never won much and were living off past glories.

I loved this time because we won nothing, got beat a lot but occasionally did wonderful things and we had a dour and seemingly permanently red-faced Scotsman in charge (still do of course). I saw United whenever I could, which was quite often, the tickets were cheap, Old Trafford (which looked dated even when it was refurbished in the early 90's) was a wonder to be at. The peak for me was winning the (sadly defunct) European Cup Winner's Cup in 1991, me and dad saw all the home games (including a Montpellier HSC side with Carlos Valderrama and a young Laurent Blanc) and a few away matches in France and Wales, before we smashed Barcelona (who I then saw the year after win the European Cup at Wembley) 2-1 in Rotterdam.

This was my era and of course, when we won the league in 1993 after 26 long and painful years (when Leeds United pipped us to it in 92 with a team of real journeymen, I mean, Mel Sterland and Stuart's Pearce's eternal understudy Tony Dorigo, never mind LEE FUCKING CHAPMAN! I never thought we'd do it and we'd blown our chance forever...I cried like a baby) and started to boss English football it was wonderful and all of this peaked in the moment my love for United dimmed...

But more on that tomorrow, for now here is a collection of some images of my favourite United players!

(Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister, what a pair these were and both criminally underrated but it meant they never got called away on England duty, Pally had a deft touch for a big man and I'll never forget the year Brucie got 17 goals in the league from centre-back!)

(Brian McClair, prolific beyond belief, a banker to score and made a wonderful if incongruous central midfielder as he got older) 

(Les Sealey, God rest his soul, was a typical English keeper, a purveyor of a seemingly dead tradition of the English maverick keeper. I remember him screaming at a physio as he refused to come off the pitch for treatment...just mental)

(Old Sparky Mark Hughes, the best half-volleyer of a ball ever? Scored crackers, never many of them but worth his weight in gold up front as he was so strong. Thighs like tree trunks)

(Lee Sharpe was all about pace and 'nowt else and as soon as he had his first serious injury he was half the player but at the time, blessed with Giggs as well, it was like we had pace and youth to burn in them days)

(Roy Keane, warrior king, leader of men, pictured here ending the career of another player, a living epitome of Shankly's phrase about football being more important than life or death. Everyone wanted him in their team)


  1. Well at least you're not from Guildford.

    The line "Ron looked cooler than Brian Clough and Everton's manager Howard Kendall put together" did make me laugh out loud!

    I know a guy who supported West Brom because he liked their kit when he was about 10 years old. He's from Kent, so he had little choice anyway I suppose.

    I have my roots in Sarf East Lundun, so I had Palace thrust upon me. It's good and bad.

  2. Palace always have great kits and who could forget that awesome clash in the in the 90 FA Cup final, reply and all.

    Good team then, fine outfit, shame not so good now.

  3. No one has to defend their love of United in my book. Whether your a seasoned season ticket holder or you've just discovered them, whether your from Salford or Singapore.

    I started in Bromley circa 1978 because my cousin, who lived over the road, supported 'em. No logic but there was a strange attraction to the red, white and black colours.

  4. Highlander:

    Indeed but you feel it now, never used to when United were a laughing stock, my mates felt sorry for me when I was a kid.

  5. I give you that. It never was the easy choice pre-1993. Even the Cup Winner's Cup victory in 91 didn't look like the beginning of an era.

  6. Claude:

    Damn right the 91 win didn't look like 'owt just looked like a bunch of old blokes and some young 'uns getting an easy run and then playing out of their skins. Little did we know...

  7. At least we're top of it

    wv: tessess

    presumably of the D'Urbervillesess

  8. AM used to support MUFC when they were crap too, a little earlier than yourself though to be fair. She used to take the train from Blackpool on a regular basis.

    For myself, I'm a lifelong Stoke City supporter having been bought up yards from the old Victoria Ground. Despite my current location, I have two season tickets and get to games whenever I can. Next one will be against Arsenal at the end of Feb. We've never won much, but I seen to great stuff, including a couple of classics against your lot.

  9. white rabbit:

    True, until Norwich catch you and Millwall away is always a tough one, who needs the Premier League?


    Stoke are a fine little team at the mo, always have one or two in me fantasy team.

  10. I don't know what it is about Steve Bruce, but he always makes me smile. Seems like such a lovely bloke.

    I like Roy Keane too. I remember watching the game where his cruciate ligament snapped. There he was, running ahead and then SNAP - he's on the floor. I almost felt it!

    My dad is an Arsenal fan who also follows Aldershot, Chester and Torquay (where he was born, grew up and spent a lot of holidays, respectively). I've been to a few games, conference ones mostly, and its quite fun. Not enough to make it a die hard habit for me though. I'm sticking with the NHL. even if my team are losing horribly all the bloody time.

    A bit like United in the 80s.

  11. I've only been to Old Trafford to see MU once (it was vs Middlesbrough and a random fixture for the gang of us that attended).

    It was stlll a great sense of occasion for all of us even if we were slightly fraudulent in our support of your team.

  12. Beth:

    Spot on about Bruce, he's a real character but in a nice way, always good for a quote and I think a fine, fine manager.

    Glad you like Roy, he's a legend, met him once whilst pretending to be Mark Draper in a Notts night club, he was a surly and powerful man.

    Ice Hockey is my least favourite American sport but it's the best on game systems for some reason.


    You hit the nail on the head with the phrase: 'great sense of occasion', that's what Old Trafford will always be, even during a dull nil-nil versus Southampton.

  13. Nice blog mate!
    Oh man I will be honest I'm not a manchester united fan but seriosuly great blog about them. You are a true supporter!
    May I ask how you got the casting call pro widget down the side of your blog? I'm deseratley seeking one! Sorry to be rude and ask! I'm hoping to get the widget for that blog! You might want to check it out and tell me where I'm going wrong on the blogging front!

  14. Hi Jessica, I've replied to you over at yours and if you need any help, drop us a line duck!


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