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“We Support Our Local Team!!” – Views of a Manchester United fan

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I must start this article with a sincere apology. It seems that I have committed the heinous crime of living outside of Manchester, which somehow means my support for Manchester United is much less than that of a scouser that supports Liverpool or a cockney West Ham fan.

As a football supporter I am not fit to lace the boots of the “local fan”. You see the “local fan” is a moral crusader, helping to fight off the evils of modern  football by spending his hard earned money at his local club. He sits through season upon season of turgid football just to prove his loyalty for his local team and local area. He uses his “local shops” and baulks at the thought of stepping inside a supermarket. He drives a “local car”, none of this Japanese or French rubbish for our “local fan” you see. He likes to keep things local! It’s just the way it should be!

Or is it? In the mixed up moral world of a “local fan” it is perfectly acceptable to spend 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon berating the opposition support for their choice of team, only to spend 90 minutes of their Sunday morning frequenting the isles of Tescos, that most local of shops, purchasing their weekly groceries.

I should have been a Wimbledon fan they tell me, due to the fact I was born a stones throw away from Plough Lane, now home of an expansive housing development. The question is why? Why should I have been a Wimbledon fan? I first started to take an interest in football when I was 6 years of age.  At this point my living arrangements were not so much a choice as a dictation, given that my security and wellbeing largely depended upon two people I knew as Mum and Dad. It was not my choice to live in Wimbledon but, despite this, some “local team” fans would have confined me to watching the likes of Robbie Earle, Marcus Gayle and Vinnie Jones as opposed to Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona and Bryan Robson.

I support Manchester United largely because of my Dad. His persuasion towards United resulted from a Denis Law inspired 6-1 victory at Upton Park, a game at which my dad was in attendance. He fell in love with the style, swagger and excitement that Sir Matt Busby’s team played with and supported them avidly from that day forward. When it was time for me to make my choice he steered me towards supporting United because of the joy and excitement he had enjoyed following the club, even through the relatively barren decades of the 70’s and 80’s. If we had of decided to follow the mantra of supporting our local teams, we would have missed out on decades of scintillating football, last minute winners and world class players.

When did people decide that their choice of football team should be based solely on the confines of their geographical position? Surely a choice that has such a large impact on your life requires more thought and better criteria than location.  Any credible football fan will choose a team and stick with them for the rest of their life. The choice you make when deciding upon your team determines the football you will watch for the next 60 or 70 years. It seems strange to me that some fans chose their allegiances based on the results of what is essentially a postcode lottery.

I chose to support Manchester United, a decision that has brought me countless moments of joy and happiness. They are not my local team but a team they play the kind of football that I enjoy and believe in. If you support your local club then bully for you, just don’t go round pretending your morals are any grander than mine! I will continue to support Manchester United no matter how loud the “local fans” protest.

 John Hall-Galley

3 thoughts on ““We Support Our Local Team!!” – Views of a Manchester United fan”

  1. I was lucky. Dad was a Salford lad, and I was told in no uncertain terms that I WOULD be a United fan. End of story.
    The fact that my local team now is Al Shabab or Al Hilal in Riyadh, two teams who share the national stadium and teams I've never even seen play, does not stop me being a United through and through.

  2. Here, here! I come from Northern ireland and am a United Season ticket holder. My firdt match was in November 1957! I actually saw the Busby Babes play at old Trafford. In the early days I could only afford to come occasionally – unlike now when I rarely miss a home match. I reckon that my support is as good and true as that of anyone from inside or outside manchester!

  3. Fantastic piece, which I agree with entirely. I'm from Dorset, and the only league club in the entire county is Bournemouth, which is my nearest club but still not the town I grew up in. I started liking football seriously when I was about 8, early in the season that would prove to be our treble season. United's football excited me, the skill of Beckham, Giggs, Scholes, the class of our back line and the finishing of Solskjaer, Sheringham etc. From that moment on United have been my club and it really gets my back when people question my choice. The term glory hunter is so often used wrongly in football. The meaning of it is actually someone who ditches their team for a more successful club when they get money etc. but people choose to brand United supporters, or fans of City who were there before the takeover as being the same as the glory hunters.

    I love the club and hope to get to more games when I have the money (I'm a student in Swansea so getting to OT at the moment is impractical).

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