“Your support is f******g s**t!” the away end sing at Old Trafford every week. It doesn’t matter how many songs we’ve sung or how many songs they’ve sung, within the first ten minutes or so, it’ll do the rounds.
You see, Old Trafford is a ground full of “prawn-sandwich eaters” and you can “hear a pin drop”. That’s what I get told anyway. Our support was “f*****g s**t” when Everton, Spurs, Chelsea and Newcastle came this season, and we don’t show up for European games.
Now, I don’t get to as many away games as I’d like to these days, but from Goodison Park to Wastelands, Ewood Park to Anfield, I have been part of a crowd that outsung the home team with ease. I was puzzled last Saturday when the Blackburn fans started criticising the atmosphere, thinking back to every visit I’ve made to their place. “Come on Rovers! Come on Rovers!” is about as creative as they get over there and even that will only be heard a couple of times. Now their support is f*****g s**t, averaging just 20,668 match-goers this season, meaning there’s been an average of 10,699 empty seats every home game. They’re only a few minutes down the motorway and couldn’t come close to selling all their tickets on Saturday. £27-£31 for adults, £13.50-£15.50 for kids. I know people are suffering with the credit crunch but we’re talking about the price of a night in the boozer. Don’t shun coming to support your side at Old Trafford and leave your fellow fans to make mugs of themselves singing about our support being rubbish!
Regardless, this isn’t a dig at Blackburn and it isn’t me getting giddy over United’s support, rather a look at the atmosphere and support of club’s in this country, which is becoming a growing concern for all teams.
United fans planned to replicate the great ‘flag days’ of days gone by, a move which started at our recent trip to Derby, and was hoped to continue at Fulham. However, Fulham’s safety officer, Bob Morrison, got in touch to confirm that no flags on sticks will be allowed in to the ground due to them being considered a ‘safety concern’.
Last week, Middlesbrough supports received a letter in the post about their standing to get a better view of the opposite goal mouth. They’ve been asked to sit down promptly, with it being not just a request from the club, but others fans in the ground making complaints about standing.
Birmingham fans aren’t happy, neither are Liverpool fans, who booed their players off the pitch despite their team going top of the league, Arsenal are struggling, like West Brom, and the list goes on. The atmosphere at grounds up and down the country isn’t what it used to be and despite some fans’ best efforts, there’s been little success in improving it.
Rising ticket prices, the increase of ‘trendy’ fans, corporate seats, Sky Sports and less entertaining football are all to blame and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Essentially though, the support in the ground is merely reflecting too many of the players we see wearing our shirts on the pitch. Fickle, demanding and uninterested.