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Green and gold until Park is sold…

Submitted by on July 8, 2012 – 8:41 am64 Comments

Leafy Cheshire

There are United players past and present for whom I have zero or close to zero affection. Some are obvious – I think of Neil Webb skulking off against Forest as the world caved in on us in April ’92. He’s one. But some are not so obvious – I confess to having watched the ’99 European Cup final on video and almost wanting Janker’s overhead kick to go in off the bar, leaving the soon-to-sign-for-city Peter Schmeichel stranded. Yes, I know, that’s extreme but he didn’t have to go there and he didn’t need to celebrate in front of us at the North Stand end of Maine Road, the bad, legacy-murdering knobhead.

It’s not necessarily about talent. There are United players who wouldn’t get in many people’s best eleven but who you know would jump in and start giving Anders Limpar and Nigel Winterburn (or their equivalents) a crack in the name of MUFC. Or just for the hell of it. The Brian McClairs and Nicky Butts of this world are alright by me, although keep your mouth shut about the Glazers though Nicky, yeah.

Unfortunately, all of the signings made by United since the Glazer family stole our football club from us in 2005 fit into the zero affection category. It’s not because I believe they should have gone elsewhere, refusing to help United achieve anything under such a blatantly destructive regime. It is, quite simply, that I don’t go and watch these players live so my only frame of reference is bitterly watching them in pubs or at home whilst surrounded by the kids that will probably never sit with me week in week out at Old Trafford as I’d envisaged when I was in my teens and twenties. I can’t get attached to players I only see on the telly.

I have affection for Ronaldo. I have affection for Veron. I even have affection for Beckham, not least of all because of that barmy day in May 1999 when it seemed as though we wouldn’t find an answer to Les Ferdinand’s Spurs goal and the league would go to Highbury and the Treble wouldn’t happen. But to me the players signed under Glazer are just blokes in crimson billboards advertising the names of “Official Partners of Manchester United”, a Manchester United desperate to have anyone’s name plastered on anything if it gets them through another round of debt payments. I feel nothing for them. They may score the odd goal or make the odd tackle to make me almost spill my brew or the pint I may be having in a pub only a couple of miles away from the football ground I feel I can no longer go to, but I just feel nothing.

Nani – nothing. Carrick – nothing. De Gea, those Brazilian twins <pauses and struggles like fuck to think of anyone else>, Wesley Sneijder… I feel nothing for any of them. However, one player more than any other symbolises my post-2005 disaffection from Manchester United. One player in particular makes me grind my teeth at the enormous fall from cultural grace that Manchester United have endured. The style of football – gone. The away support – eroded and infected. Old Trafford – Jesus, where do we start. I associate it all with Ji Sung Park. Ji Sung Park? Yes, I know you think that’s a bit harsh but let me explain.

The averagely talented, wouldn’t-swing-a-punch-for-United John O’Shea wasn’t hounded out of Old Trafford by angry fans for two reasons – that last minute winner in front of the Kop and his catchy theme tune, “when Johnny goes marchin’ down the wing”. The former needs no explanation. The latter engages that goony part of the brain that’s in all of us. You know, the bit that lets you have those moments you wouldn’t normally have in life but that are ok about two or three times a season during moments of heightened football pleasure. Whilst not in the throes of such pleasure, say it out loud now “when Johnny goes marchin’ down the wing, O’Shea, O’Shea”. It’s not right is it? It felt ok at the time though didn’t it? That’s why he stayed at Old Trafford for as long as he did. A catchy theme tuned does wonders for a player.

Park falls into the same category – not really that talented, not going to fill Graeme Le Saux in going down the tunnel at half time and never really going to do anything that causes you to twinge in the groin or the brain. “But what about the goal against Arsenal… in the European Cup semi final?”. Well, as I said earlier, the fiscal destruction of my football club was something I couldn’t support so I was at home instead of at the match, which is where I definitely would have been if certain people of immense power at United had called everyone out and given Malcolm Glazer the get-to-fuck message that would’ve made him look elsewhere in 2005. But that didn’t happen did it Sir and Malcolm Glazer did take over and I did withdraw my season-ticket support, the loyalty pot privileges that went with it and the ticket I would have had probably went to the sort of person who Ji Sung Park sadly reminds me of. I accept my point is not very clear up to now. Bear with me.

Park, like O’Shea, has a catchy theme tune. For many Reds, a song to the tune of that 70’s and 80’s school assembly classic, Lord of the Dance, brings memories of Rotterdam – “We don’t give a shit and we don’t give a fuck, we’re going home with the Cup Winners’ Cup” and all that – so by extension the Ji Sung Park-dedicated version gets people off their seats and singing away, fully engaging that goony part of the brain that says “it’s ok, sing Johnny goes marchin’ down the wing”. Park’s song is a United favourite. One that everyone can sing because it contains no expletives. It’s a song those in South Stand can sing knowing they’re not going to offend any of the priests sat around them or the old dears that Busby’s young players lodged with.

But it’s not ok to me. It’s not even ok to that goony part of the brain that forced me from my seat two or three times a season to proclaim in no uncertain times how much I knew “Johnny” was “gonna score”. It’s symbolic of everything that it is wrong with United seven years down the line from waiting and seeing how loading the club with £700m worth of debt would work out. It hasn’t worked out, clearly, given that it’s absolutely fine in the minds of 70,000+ United fans to sneer at a Thatcher-ravaged city just 35 miles from our own Thatcher-ravaged city.

It goes like this, for those of you who might not know what I’m on about – “Park, Park wherever you may be. You eat dogs in your home country. But it could be worse, you could be Scouse, eating rats in your council house”. It’s shit isn’t it? I mean, it’s generally shit but it’s shit on a specifically shit level. It’s not the “you eat dogs” bit, which is bad enough but on balance just ignorant. It’s the “eating rats in your council house” part which upsets me and brings into focus the drastic change in United’s support.

It represents a class of United fan that has crept towards Old Trafford, using a number of arterial routes from Cheshire and the leafier parts of Greater Manchester and of course includes those from all over the country that day-trip to Old Trafford because they want a piece of the United brand. Oh and before you start to pen a reply as a disgruntled out-of-town Red, this is not about YOU, this about THEM. Those clueless “ha ha Scousers live in council houses” knobs, who have a United season-ticket as much for their own vanity as out of any love for MUFC and who think they have to tick certain boxes to validate their United-ness, like hating Liverpool without any knowledge or understanding of the historical significance of the two cities’ dislike of each other. And if you are a Bramhall, Macc, Bowden or Marple Red and you understand the Manchester and Liverpool rivalry and its proud working class origins then this sweeping generalisation of mine excludes you.

What gets me is that they are the sort of people who really don’t get the Manchester Liverpool rivalry. You might be from Essex or Carlisle or Hull or wherever but if you do get the Manchester Liverpool rivalry then you’ll know that it is a rivalry between two proud working class, Tory-fighting, London-bias opposing cities. It’s not a rivalry built on who may or may not rely on the oft-failing state for support versus those who can afford their own Barrett Home in the sticks or their BMW saloon which enables them to commute to and from their middle-management job.

I’d say it was a betrayal of their working class Mancunian roots to revel in the “eating rats in your council house” line of this shit song but the truth of the matter is that too much of United’s support (not all) neither have Mancunian or working class roots because too many of those who do have been pushed away from the club. Too many decent people have been forced out of their long-held seat at Old Trafford because the price or the experience of going to the match is better suited to the sorts of people whose first job of the any matchday is to roll out their official United scarf along the parcel shelf of their car so everyone else on their well-to-do street knows they’re off to the game at “The Theatre of Dreams”.

The people who stood or sat until the 90’s where you’re forced to sit at Old Trafford in 2012 would be ashamed of you. They’d most probably give you a posthumous slap for travelling in to our city from the suburban safety of your quiet, leafy street in your shared car with three other middle-management, been-into-footy-for-years-had-a-season-ticket-since-’06-let’s-laugh-at-people-who-live-in-council-houses knobheads and acting like a cunt. And you’d fucking deserve it an’ all.

You’d deserve it for going along with the Manchester Liverpool rivalry because you think that that’s what you have to behave like in order to be recognised as a proper United fan. You think you’re better than Scousers. You know a few verses to the “Massive Club” song but hate Arsenal and Chelsea more that City because no one talked about City in the office when you started getting really into footy, which coincided with United season tickets being more readily available after Glazer took over. You have a pint in the Bishops Blaize and Tweet that you’ve just had your photo taken with Jimmy Nesbitt.

You get in the ground and moan like fuck because you’re not being entertained by a 4-0 win against a team who’s ground you’ll never actually go to because it’s not one of the ones that will feature on “Top Four Sunday” or whatever Sky call it. You applaud Sir as he walks back to his seat in the second half. You get excited by the anti-Scousers songs and laugh at those scumbags who rely on the state for support. When you’ve done all that you’ll get back in your shared car (hopefully Jeremy would’ve drove and you could have had a couple of bottles of Bud) and you’ll talk about the Grand Prix. You’ll hit a bit of Traffic getting from the cricket club into Stretford – god, doesn’t it look rough round there? – but you’re on the motorway before you know it and back in the suburbs.

You could only have come up with or enjoy that Park song if you have no clue about Manchester and our proud rivalry with Liverpool. You probably have as much knowledge and experience of seeking help from the state as you do getting from the Arkles to Lime Street on foot after a night game and your lack of both means you have no fucking right to sully the name of our football club with your shit, historically ill-informed, Tory-assault-on-working-people supporting song.

So, I’m sorry Ji Sung Park, you remind me of a United that has forgotten its roots. You remind me of a United that dull people need on their social CV because their boring, materially driven, passionless lives contain little else of any interest or note. You remind me of a United where effort goes into making some really shit banners but where virtually no one seems to be arsed about forming any genuine opposition to a regime which is killing our football club. You remind me of a United where less and less know what that walk to Lime Street is like. But more than that you remind me of a United where less and less know what it would be like to walk from Old Trafford to Collyhurst or Monsall or Miles Platting or Moston or Moss Side or Longsight and all those many other places in inner city Manchester where people do live in houses provided by the council. I’d like to see you stand in the Spanking Roger and laugh at people who live in council houses, you dick.

They’re the places where people used to be able to go to the match as a release from the day to day struggle to look after their families. Those “sink estate” places where people understand the Manchester Liverpool rivalry because, before Margaret Thatcher started dismantling their industries and their lives, their families probably played a part in building our proud city so, by extension, recognise the struggles faced by ordinary working class people in Liverpool and understand what it means to rely on support from the council, not sneer at them for needing it.

Park will play his football at QPR now, a club in a city where perhaps his “eating rats in your council house” song has a more fitting home. You know, with all that wealth down there and all those pre-existing didn’t-we-do-well-under-Thatcher states of mind, where it’s ok to kick people when they’re down because your sole objective in life is to get as far up the ladder of life as you can, putting your boot in the face of those below you.

What will the Korean leave behind? A club on the road to ruin. A club that will, by virtue of City and Chelsea’s wealth and its own legally mismanaged finances, endure a period of relative failure, the likes of which ninety percent of current season ticket holders have never known and may not hang around to see. A club where opposition to the owners exists in the form of a futile campaign of scarf wearing, which benefitted a few swag sellers but certainly not Manchester United Football Club. A club about to be floated on the New York stock exchange in another effort to entirely de-risk the Glazer family’s investment. A club wide open to more asset stripping if that doesn’t work out. A club which may ultimately rely on but not get the support of people who turned their backs a long time ago after United turned its back on them.

Anyway, you keep laughing at Scousers. And their eating of rats. In houses provided by the council.

 

PS, for those of you who think nothing good can come of people from council estates:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu2iv-vMKT8

http://the-end-fanzine.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5Oe1Oc62f0

Oh, and this;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HoZVBkdjE0

 

 

64 Comments »

  • TH says:

    Excellent piece that. Spot on. The Park song is awful. Sadly, I seem to remember it being praised in the editorial of one of United’s best selling fanzines (not red issue). Sums up what has happened to MUFC.

    Saying that – I remember being a kid and United singing songs about how poor scousers are even in the 1980s when Thatcher was in her pomp. My dad always pointed out that the singing of these songs by working class adults from a similarly ravaged city was proof Thatcher had won.

    As J Stand points out, however, it is snobbishness rather than division that gave birth to this particular racist, xenophobic and ignorant ‘eating dogs’ nonsense.

  • Talkative says:

    great stuff – i think you’ve accurately captured what’s happened to United’s support there. I especially liked the image of fans laying their scarf out on the parcel shelf for the neighbours to see, cos that’s what the anti-scouse performance is about for many. Plenty of council-housed united fans sing that stuff too though, the same level of class-consciousness that produced the ‘Boris for PM’ signs a few years ago.

  • jstand says:

    Indeed there are plenty of people from council estates singing it and that’s probably because people no longer give much of a fuck about their class and care too much about their own four walls, their own pockets and nothing much beyond. That’s a wider problem for which politicians, be they of Tory or quasi-Tory New Labour pursuasions are responsible for. What people – not least of all those still watching United – need is good, strong leadership and to start recognising there is another way.. Don’t they Sir Alec?

  • AdidasCrumpsallGreen says:

    Crackin’ stuff, that. Like every bad knobhead I happily sang “Sign On” whilst doing very that at Cheetham Hill Job Centre. It’s the same United mentality that saw Scousers dismissed as thieves whilst eulogising every Collyhurst grafter as a veteran of the Somme on our European away days. But there is something about that Park song that represents a virulent ‘anti-Scouse/working class’ attitude that is a cultural and political change in United’s support and is largely shown by those with no genuine experience of Manchester, let alone Liverpool. Dropping the ABU 1990′s celebrity crew in a north Manchester boozer to do their ‘no Reds in Manchester’ routine used to be a dream of mine, now I’d gladly drop 90% of United’s current support in Plattin’ and see how many make it out alive.

  • teddy says:

    Out of towner that I am, Ive probably ticked the odd box or two of those. I was always quite happy to sing along with those songs (obviously no Hillsborough etsech). Never went to Old Trafford after 05, so never sung the Park song. I objected more to the dogs line than that about the scousers.

    As for those songs, the irony of songs about crime/poverty when Manchester has a higher rate struck me only in recent years. I do think there is room for distasteful songs about the opposition. In Germany they don’t have so many of the songs about “hatchets and hammers” and other threats that no-one is ever going to carry out, and as distasteful as those songs are, I miss them to an extent over here. A lot of scourers stuff though is just shit. Embarrassing particularly, when the songs are sung when LFC aren’t even playing. The fact that a lot of the London clubs seem to have adopted so many of them for when Liverpool visit says it all.

    As a general point, one thing thats definitely missing in the UK is that there is little “payback” for fans singing those sort of songs. You can sing all you want and then be escorted safely out of the town you are playing against. Over here, knowing at the odd game you might get something thrown at you or in some instances a rocket fired into your section, you tend to think twice before acting up too much! I’m not suggesting more violence would resolve things, but at present the songs are sung, no reaction follows and so the whole process goes unquestioned by those singing it.

    • AdidasCrumpsallGreen says:

      Was never an out of towner issue for me, got plenty more in common with non-Manc Reds and non-United fans than I ever had with Reds and Blues that I grew up with. There is sommat about that Park song tho’ and the Council house line that says much about United’s current support regardless of where they come from. In fact, can’t think of anything less ‘Mancunian’ in football terms, other than City’s open air blow job on Sinawatra and subsequent “Manchester Thanks You Sheik Gallagher” banner. In short, get up off your knees.

      • jstand says:

        Standards have been forgotten and anything goes so long as people’s vanity get the kick of success, some way somehow. That’s the precise reason green and gold (as farcical as it was) went quiet – because United did OK in the immediate aftermath and people thought that success was more important than the obvious peril we are in financially. Not enough people have said “fuck it” and stayed away, the only thing that will drive those fuckers out. Instead they have been prepared to wait and see if success can come out of this appalling mess of a football club. Sadly, those who have took a stand have been replaced by fucking idiots and no one’s keeping the standards up. I took my lad to Bolton away last year and we got off our train the same time United’s “lads” got off theirs coming in from Manchester. A load of Stella can lobbing, GStar Raw jeans wearing, clueless young knobheads, by and large. Abusing shirt-wearing Bolton fans, shouting at the police behind the safety of their 200 fellow mobsters. It’s the norm though, go to the match and act a dick, airing whatever prejudices you have and knowing you face no consequence. We’d have got a slap. Oh, I’m weary…

  • Kelly says:

    Cracking piece mate. I’m a United fan going back 50 years and I remember many a mad trip to Annie or Goodison, especially in the 70s and 80s.

    However, most of the lads who went to the match with me had that deep respect for Liverpool. On the pitch, they were imperious at the time and off it most of their fans were the type of lads you would happily booze with and the sort you spent the week working with. To be fair there was awful agro at times like at the 85 semi and I’m not going to act the responsible old grandad who says bad things didn’t happen between the fans, but most got on with supporting their own team, rather than singing songs about Munich or Hillsborough.

    They call Liverpool the capital of Ireland because of all the Irish and I always thought that Manny with its own huge Irish population was so similar. There was that two fingered salute to the establishment of the south with its boring no mark suburbs full of shitheads who would run over their grannies if it meant getting up the career ladder and that rebellious streak of our two cities with its vibrant music and brilliant humour. We also had two of the greatest clubs in the world.

    Nowadays, most of these idiots don’t realise that we are only Fergie away from slipping down to Liverpool’s standard on the pitch. Most will probably sod off back to support whatever team is flavor of the month when the shit hits the fan as it will.

    Sadly, alot of the working class youngsters have lost the understanding of what it means to be working class. Ask the Scousers – their “friendly derby” is no more.

  • wearenotabrandliverpool says:

    One of the best football articles I’ve read in a long time.
    I know some Man Utd fans, working class “background” tho they got scholarships to private schools in the area. Their obsession with LFC and class hate is incredible. Even more so, when you consider they’re actually from working class families. Its all “chav” this ( re Manchester), and “Scouse peasants”(for Liverpool).In short, its absolutely pathetic from them. I don’t think they’re even arsed about MUFC, just want to spout bile and venom. And at AFC United they only sing anti LFC songs.

    However, my club Liverpool has a huge amount of idiots too. All they are about is “maximising the brand” and some such shit.You don’t see many working class Scouse Liverpool fans either.

    Its clear both clubs have been affected by gentrification and hideous Americanisation. Its like having a religion turned into a “brand”. Whether its John Henry or Malcolm Glazer, the whole thing is just money these days. Maybe fans from different clubs could work togther and sort out the mess our clubs have become.

  • catcastle says:

    I have a enormous problem with this article to put it mildly. I’m really having to put a lot of effort controlling my emotions to not just go on a profanity laced rant and try to present a logical argument.

    1. You think Glazers are destroying United and the real fans are priced out by rich, poser fans. Agreed. Nothing new if you’re a American like I am.

    2. “I can’t get attached to players I only see on the telly.” #FirstWorldProblems

    3. “Park falls into the same category – not really that talented” Yes he is. He’s talented in the way superficial fans don’t notice but the people who care about players who help the team win do but I don’t even care about that, I’ll concede this point for now.

    Now here’s where the fun begins.

    4. So let me get this straight. *deep breath* You have a problem with Park Ji Sung. And your problem with him is that he’s been subjected to a racist song directed at him, insulting him and his country which he’s never once to my knowledge complained about

    You are bothered by this because it insults the english working class with the rats line.

    5. I understand your specious argument linking Thatcher, with the Glazers with newer fans, with rising ticket prices and public housing.

    Let me give you one of mine pal.

    South Korea use to be one of the poorest countries in the world after the Korean War, as Obama likes to say it use to have a lower GDP than Nigeria. It was so bad orphans were running around the s*** stained streets like packs of wild dogs and outsiders called Koreans the n****** of the Orient.

    Fast forward to present day South Korea is a affulent, modern, democratic country. One of the symbols of that is Park Ji Sung, who overcame racial stereotypes (asians aren’t good enough to play football in the Premier League) and not only got a spot on the team but has contributed MIGHTILY. SAF use to play him in all the important games, his defense, workrate, (NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT BLOODY GOALS) were very important part of MU success.

    So MUFC got a lot of Korean fans who bought a lot of MUFC merchandise and filled the Glazers coffers. But, I’m sure to you they’re just subhuman beings who could never be “true” fans. They’ve never even seen the team in person only though the TV, scandalous!

    Well what I have to say to that is those Korean fans are as loyal and dedicated as any other fans, born and bred in Manchester or otherwise. And I find your article as just another example of a close minded englishman who still sticks to obsolete values in a increasingly globalized world.

    And more to the point I am absolutley disgusted by the fact that instead of showing respect for Park Ji Sung you use him as some grand symbol.

    That song about eating dogs and rats hurts your white privileged working class sensibilities? OH BOO HOO. Let me get my violin.

    You are a pathetic excuse for a MU fan and it would serve the club and most of the supporters to not have your ilk as a fan on the team.

    So effing typical. Any black player gets racially abused and it’s a national emergency and people are charged and suspended. A asian player gets racially abused nobody talks about it and instead it’s somehow used to explain why a fan is dissatisfied with the team.

    Absolutley disgusting piece of writing.

    • kai says:

      Hello.

      I’m actually South Korean myself and I don’t think you should be angry at the fact that he chose Park as an example.

      He really isn’t stressing that he hates park because of his nationality; hell, I don’t even think he “hates” park personally. I think jstand would agree that Park is one of the more humble, more down-to-earth player.

      He hates what United and its fans (or as jstand said, the new fans) have become, and he is illustrating that point by using that disgusting Park song as an example. (I hate that song more since I am Korean)

      It wouldn’t matter if Park was from South Korea or South Wales,
      as long as that disgusting song was still being sung, it wouldn’t make a difference to jstand. At least I hope anyway.

      ____

      After I got into premiership football, I visit a lot of english football forums regularly, and the consensus among local fans is that the sport has changed dramatically in last 20 or so years. Some fans have “adapted” to the new game, while others have not. jstand clearly hasn’t. People like him are in the minority now and he (probably) knows it. But those fans built and maintained English football for last 100+ years. If they want to vent out a little bit, they have right to imo. Well, if they are not racist or xenophobic that is. Which I don’t think jstand is. He is not singling out a racial group.

      He is saying he hates “tourists” who say they like Manchester united but know nothing about Manchester as a city. english fans (at least some) consider the club city relationship inseparable; see how american sports teams frequently move to other cities but in england its a huge taboo.

      I think I wrote too much, apologies for making anyone read this long.

    • jstand says:

      “You are a pathetic excuse for a MU fan and it would serve the club and most of the supporters to not have your ilk as a fan on the team.” – Yes, it would absolutely serve the club not to have me “on the team”. That’s the point, you moron.

    • Milt says:

      I love the fact that you have horribly missed the point of this article in such a self-righteous, outraged and indignant manner – thanks, chief, it really made me laugh!

      The saying “it’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at” has become a cliché in itself, but behind every cliché there’s at least a modicum of truth.

      This article isn’t about offended working class sensibilities in the slightest, you fanny. It’s highlighting, rather deftly, that the make-up of the fanbase has changed to such an extent that listening to knobheads singing about signing on, living in slums, eating rats etc is actually more offensive now than it ever was when it was sung at its most venomous – precisely because the whoppers who are singing it have no idea why they’re doing it.

      Mancs and scousers have always enjoyed/endured an ace/unhealthy rivalry/obsession with each other. The point is that, when you strip away all the trappings of being from either city ahead of the other, by’n'large you’ve got two very similar sets of people, with similar cultures, similar backgrounds and similar outlooks. I generalise to make this nice and easy to follow.

      Then you get some tit from Essex on his first trip to Old Trafford giving it the “sign on” shite, and signing about council houses and dead rats. What the fuck would he know?

      It’s not the songs or their content that are offensive (although they are largely shite). It’s the lack of understanding by a happy-clappy crowd slowly replacing the old guard, from a game which has deformed horribly since its re-invention in 92, that is most offensive.

      You should need to earn the right to sing that sort of song. I don’t care where you live, what your circumstances are, whether you’re a southern-based Tory earning £200k or a Joe Schmo jobbing week to week to make ends meet – the point is that you either get this rivalry, or you act like you do and make yourself look a tit doing it.

      Or, to put it another way – it’s fine for me to call my bird a pig, but I’ll smash your face in if I hear you say it.

    • argaluza says:

      “Well what I have to say to that is those Korean fans are as loyal and dedicated as any other fans, born and bred in Manchester or otherwise.”

      But why?

      The reason a Mancunian supports Manchester United will have been passed down within a family or that the team represents their city.

      What would be the reason a Korean or an American for supporting a club thousands of miles away in a country they have probably never been to?

      I have lived in South Korea myself and didn’t see anyone with a Plymouth Argyle shirt on – why on earth not?

  • catcastle says:

    Oh and one last thing. Absolutley false that the Park song is a result of more affulent fans or whatever.

    If you take off your nostalgia tinted glasses you’d know how racist England use to be. If PJS signed during the 1910′s, 50′s etc I’m sure he’d have to endure a lot more than a song like that.

    I’m sure the working class would be more racist than the affluent fans.

  • TH says:

    “You are a pathetic excuse for a MU fan and it would serve the club and most of the supporters to not have your ilk as a fan on the team.”

    The internet eh? Bloody hell…

    Go MU!!!

  • Talkative says:

    catcastle, the epitome of an american neoliberal apologist. and before you get mock-offended about xenophobia or anti-americanism, i know that your country has a proud labour movement history and some great cultural traditions, that often the british could learn a lot from.

    your not-at-all composed or logical rant reminds me of the jihad vs mcworld hypothesis – ‘if you stand up to neoliberal exploitation, then you must be a regressive fundamentalist’ (see Glazer spokesman Bob Leffler’s comments back in 2004-5). you’ve completely missed the point of the article, which is focused on a lack of working class consciousness and solidarity, so any critiques should at least recognise what the article was trying to say, rather than whatever it is you’ve read into it.

    not sure either what you tried to get across when educating us on the recent development of South Korea, but if the aim was to show what American (or British for that matter) imperialism has achieved (“so you foreigners should be bloody grateful when we encamp in your backwards country to bring progress”), then your views on how locals should respond to neoliberal globalisation are as valid and informed as those from a Fox News anchorman.

  • raygreen100 says:

    Catcastle, I’m glad you support Man Utd (or rather “are on the team”). You don’t really seem to be in tune with what the writer of this great article is saying, and your post crystalises his argument perfectly. You utter buffoon.

    Sky stole our game, repackaged it and sold it back to us at an inflated price. And, encouraged by the British press, we lapped it up.

    We had one chance to stop it, but in 1992 we were still shooting for the aspirational castle in the air, riding the pipedream sold to us by the tyrant. Protest was for unwashed lesbians.

    If you see Sid, tell him the left is dead.

    As a Liverpool supporter (I was at Goodison in 85, too) I’m torn between wanting to see your team rot and being genuinely angry and empathetic with your plight.

    Maybe I want the Glazers out and a return of Ron Atkinson to the helm. A nice compromise.

    By the way, two million quid? How many ex-mancs can the manager count on to fill the coffers for mediocre surplus?

    Anyway, Back to the Old (council) House…

  • kmjunk says:

    As a Liverpool fan who has recently left a rat infested council house, I can honestly say this is one of the best articles I have read in a long time, football or otherwise.

    Liverpool & Man United in particular have always had massive support whether home or away. With that level of support you will always get a certain percentage of knobheads especially at important games like cup finals.

    The link you make to the working class mentality between the two cities is so right. A lot of fans no longer see it at all, this is why there is no mass movement against this government and its policies against Liverpool & Manchester with both cities facing the largest cuts in the whole country.

    Thanks for a brilliant article.

  • medmaz says:

    As a Liverpool fan I feel sorry for Manchester United. The article above mentions the decline but Glazers have killed an institution and in a very Rangers like way Glory Glory Man United could we be a resident in bottom division when you go bankrupt and need to start over – due to asset stripping. Very nearly happened to LFC.

  • [...] I say Ji-sung Park split opinion amongst United supporters, you have those that didn’t rate him at all and those that over exaggerated his capabilities. Park was a good squad player. When called upon, [...]

  • mossga says:

    Had to register just to reply to this simply fucking superb diatribe.

    First off I’m a Liverpool fan who stood on the Kop when we were the preeminent pompous bastards in the country, casually responding to shouts of ‘sign on’ with a resounding blast of ‘We are the Champions, Champions of Europe’.

    I then watched our wine turn to vinegar and our club lazily hitch onto Sky’s reinvention bandwagon which was already quite sensibly plastered with Manchester United livery…. I hated you for it, hated you for it for years. Then I began working with good manc lads, lots of them good reds. The banter was still there, but what developed and has continued to develop is a sense of mutual detachment. What fucking sport are we all watching now?

    What sums it all up for me is this: In the late 80′s you could have scanned both the Kop and the Stretford End and seen the aame thing, gangs of kids from 10 to 17 grouped together, learning the songs and the banter… Honing their wit for away trips and finals laden with working-class, irreverent sarcasm that would stand them in good stead for the rest of their adult lives.

    So what have we got now??

    Pamela and fucking Zara checking their iPhones whilst little Tarquin and Oliver, club-merched up to the fucking eye-balls, casually ‘watch’ the game whilst gasping at the naughty men swearing at their own players and desperately try to get their ugly little grids onto the Sky cameras.

    Lovely fucking stuff.

  • Boyle says:

    What a load of precious nonsense. I grew up on a council estate and I sing it just how I sang ‘sign on’ despite hating the tory government in the eighties. It’s called banter regardless of what class you are from just like working class visiting cockney fans waving £10 at us in united road in mid eighties.

    I notice the original piece is being praised by high profile Liverpool fans who will of course deny singing ‘shipman’ songs against united like they deny 40,000 sang munich songs for twenty years.

    If it gets on their tits then count me in.

  • OnlyOneUnited says:

    I know a United ‘fan’ who writes articles, doesn’t go anymore and still hasn’t paid his mate the grand sum of £12 for a nou camp 99 ticket.

  • TH says:

    Banter – the last bastion of the bellend…

  • Boyle says:

    Let’s remember not to upset any LFC fans boys and girls. According to them we are obsessed with them and it’s all one way. I suppose them carrying MUNICH 58 banners all over Europe in the eighties is a figment of our imagination? Just like that big MUNICH 58 banner visible on all the heysel clips as disaster was happening in 1985.
    That’s not obsessed is it?

    • Milt says:

      I hate people who hate Man United “because that’s what you do”. I hate people who hate Man City or Chelsea because of the money, etc. Mainly because it’s new and faddy, baseless and shite, and it’s because it’s the message that the media has pummelled us with for god knows how long. It’s fodder for sheep.

      Liverpool/Everton have hated, for as long as I can remember, the Manchester clubs, and it’s been reciprocated. If you want to hate the scousers, then fine. Go for your life. Judging but what you’ve written, you feel you have good reason to.

      That’s the point, though. It’s not affected, or assumed, or something you’re doing because that’s what you’re meant to do. You’re not some Essex bellend who hates scaaahsers cos vey nick everyfin, or woteva.

      You’re a manc who gets the rivalry. Personally, I think there’s a line that needs to be drawn somewhere even when you “get” it – you haven’t met us all, so you can’t really hate us all without being a bit of a knob – but at least you don’t hate scousers just because someone’s told you to.

  • GatsbysTailor says:

    Good article and well written. Doesn’t quite add up though, I remember going to the match in the late eighties and early nineties and plenty of United lads singing “Liverpool Slums”. That song is very rarely sung now (only by a minority of older fans) and is more insulting to our scouse neighbours in terms of class/income and all that badly observed nonsense.

    I, like most Mancunians, have no real problem with scousers. I enjoy the rivalry, believe in the superiority of our city and love to see United get the better of either Liverpool team.

    I still go to Old Trafford (can’t quite give it up but respect those that have and probably will soon)and to me the most vehemently anti-scouse United fans are those that don’t come from Manchester, it’s all part of the posture.

    I’ve lost track of my point a bit but basically I’m more offended by the “Super Danny Welbeck”, endless Sloop John B shite and the death of originality in our collective song book.

    Cheers anyway, good read.

  • Sparts says:

    Meh, what a load of pish. What you are accusing these fans of being and in turn your club of becoming, is reflected entirely in your rant. You are no different to your opinion of others. Intolerant, small minded and judgemental. Not to mention lacking the intellect to understand the finances of your club. Your blog reeks of the implication that unless you are Manchester born and bred, male, preferably from a council estate, preferably white and are a hard grafter than you have no right to be at Old Trafford. Utter pish. You are jealous. You’re life is shit and you want to moan at someone. You’re that cunt that can’t help but blame others (usually ‘the establishment’, whoever that may be) for all of his/her faults. You are the pub bore. Get a life.

  • TH says:

    I have been reading a good book of late, admittedly it has been out for a while and has therefore gone a bit mainstream, but I am busy grafting hard and struggling to live in social housing and stuff so only just getting round to reading it while spending too much of my life on privatised public transport.

    It is called ‘Chavs’ and it is a very interesting take on the way middle class people and, in fact, some working class people, look at those less well off than themselves.

    Sparts would do well to read it and take the blinkers off for a peak at what is actually going on in the world, rather than taking for granted the narrative presented by those who rule over us.

    Spart’s post above exemplifies the views of the millions of brainwashed civilians of this country who believe that each person’s lot in life is their own fault and has nothing to do with outside influences, such as social class, unemployment and above all else, establishment policy. Thatcher’s biggest success, alongside smashing working class solidarity, was to instill this view so forcefully.

    All this is nicely linked into J Stand’s article.

    Thanks for visiting the site though Spart, hope it helped you question a few assumed ‘truths’.

    I am sure we are all hoping to get a life sometime soon.

  • argaluza says:

    Up until 1945 – Manchester and Liverpool were both solidly Conservative cities and the ‘tory hating working class’ were in places like Wigan, Leigh, St Helens etc. Working class solidarity has always been a myth where reactionary attitudes and bigotry such as racism, sexism and homophobia exist. And to say you can never be a true red because you live in a Barratts built home and have a middle managment job is pretty pathetic.

  • argaluza says:

    Here you go – from the Trafford Borough website.

    “Metropolitan Borough of Trafford

    The Metropolitan Borough of Trafford is a metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, England. It has a population of 211,800, covers 41 square miles (106 km2), and includes the towns of Altrincham, Partington, Sale, Stretford, and Urmston.

    The borough was formed on 1 April 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972 as a merger of the municipal boroughs of Altrincham, Sale, and Stretford, the urban districts of Bowdon, Hale, and Urmston and part of Bucklow Rural District. All were previously in Cheshire, apart from Stretford and Urmston which were in Lancashire. The River Mersey flows through the borough, separating North Trafford from South Trafford. Historically the Mersey also acted as the boundary between the historic counties of Lancashire and Cheshire.

    The Trafford area has a long heritage, with evidence of Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Roman activity. Amongst the relics of the past are two castles – one of them a Scheduled Ancient Monument – and over 200 listed buildings. The area underwent change in the late 19th century and the population rapidly expanded with the arrival of the railway. Trafford is the home of Manchester United F.C., Lancashire County Cricket Club, Manchester Phoenix, and formerly Sale Sharks. Also in Trafford is the Imperial War Museum North.

    Trafford has a strong economy with low levels of unemployment and the Trafford Park industrial estate and Trafford Centre – a large out-of-town shopping centre; apart from the City of Manchester, Trafford is the only borough in Greater Manchester to be above the national average for weekly income. Socially, the area is middle class and contains commuter towns. Altrincham and Sale West is the only parliamentary constituency in Greater Manchester to be held by the Conservative Party. Trafford has the best record for education in Greater Manchester.”

    No wonder the Prawn Sandwich brigade feel at home there!!

  • argaluza says:

    “What gets me is that they are the sort of people who really don’t get the Manchester Liverpool rivalry. You might be from Essex or Carlisle or Hull or wherever but if you do get the Manchester Liverpool rivalry then you’ll know that it is a rivalry between two proud working class, Tory-fighting, London-bias opposing cities”

    Tory-fighting – you probably hate the tories as much as we do, however, Manchester and Liverpool were solidly conservative up until 60 years ago and politically neither had any solidarity with the mining towns who fought for the rights of the workers during the 1920s and 30s. Glasgow was also a historically Unionist/Conservative city with the die hard labour trade unions being in the mining towns outside of the cities in place like Lanarkshire and Fife.

    Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool have this reputation of being solid, working class socialist cities when history proves this was not the case. Thanks for reading.

    • jstand says:

      This is a more engaging level of discussion rather than the “you’re a cunt” response a small number have had. Interesting historical info. Appreciate the input. Whilst it may be true that 60+ years ago the Tories had support in Manchester, that’s not true of the modern period during which Manchester United and LFC have shared their football rivalry. Overall though, it’s healthy if you disagree with me. I’d like to think that United fans start to debate more about where the club is heading under Glazers and how the core support has been driven away, maybe taking action to resolve both problems at some point.

      • argaluza says:

        The intense rivalry started in the 1960s and that is fair enough – it is not that I disagree with you per se, it is just that United have always had a traditional fan base from London, Ireland and Norway (Since the Busby Babes anyway)and it is now spread to South and East Asia which is down to technology and the spread of the internet and satellite tv. Wherever we like it or not – the club is now a multi national PLC and it was only until I went to live in the far east that I found out why there were midday kick offs in the UK. The football experience has changed for us as it has created millions upon million in revenue for the club in far away places. It is a double edged sword, the best foreign players we were able to attract back in the day were the likes of Sivabaek and Olsen (who were decent but slightly over the hill) whereas now we can get more or less anyone we want. If the likes of Zico would have come to Old Trafford in the 1980s, wouldn’t we have all been dancing in the Stretford End in our sombreros? Thanks for reading.

    • GatsbysTailor says:

      Defining Manchester and Liverpool as Tory cities pre-1945 is a bit misleading though. The Labour Party only became the opposition in 1922, and government a couple of years later. They became government for the first time because of the necessity for free trade, not a majority. Also, pre-1945 Britain still saw socialism as an extremist form of politics. It was only the horrors of World War Two (which had profound effects on cities like Mcr, Liverpool and Glasgow)and the subsequent economy that created the support for the more modern Labour Party in the cities. My point is that defining places in the way you have doesn’t account for countless social and historical factors. Intelligent as your argument is, it’d be interesting to see how many people voted in elections pre-’45 and from what backgrounds.

      You’re right though, the Conservative=middle class/ Labour=working class is not always the case. Speak to many working class people of my grandparents generation (80+) and they don’t trust Labour governments at all.

      As mentioned before, for centuries the working class has been frustratingly politically unaware and apathetic, whether Manc, Scouse, Scot or Cockney.

      Where does football come in? The opiate of the masses probably, whatever your job.

      • argaluza says:

        I go along with this and there are still towns in the north west that are historically conservative (Bury, Bolton and Stockport are three within Greater Manchester)That is what I am talking about in regards working class solidarity being something of a myth.

        I remember having a debate with a scouser about Wigan being a racist town and though racism in Wigan exists. The town also celebrated mixed race Billy Boston as a sporting legend decades before Liverpool or Everton signed any high profile black players as well as it being an epicentre of Northern Soul.

        Where does football come in? It is interesting that in South America, a club will be defined by class (In Argentina, River Plate are known as the middle class club whereas Boca Juniors are know as the immigrant, working class club) whereas in England – all clubs are working class or were until the middle class started taking an interest. How long will it take before Manchester United’s identity is intertwined with class identity? It is going to be interesting. Cheers!

  • TH says:

    If you want to take it further, you could argue that the changes to the Labour party under Blair (and prepared by Kinnock) mirror in many ways what has happened to Manchester United and football in general. Both institutions have forgotten their cores, preparing to engage in popularity contests – United to make money (whether to feather nests or service debts), Labour to win votes.

    More fool us for falling for it, wherever we hail from.

    • argaluza says:

      That is a good point also, people will say that change is organic anyway and that Labour had to change if they were to win back power. The facts are that without an industrial base(which has gone east) which was their traditional backbone – Labour had to change their raison d’etre.

      Manchester United has also changed because there is money to be made, let’s not forget what the club is now – a capitalist, money making PLC and you can as easily watch a game on the tv in Malaysia as you can back home. This means the identity of Manchester United has to erode but the Glazer’s will not care as long as there is big money to be made, and even if we get rid of them then somebody else will take over.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0dcdoU51rk

      If you talked to these ladies and gentlemen about the building of the Manchester Ship Canal. I don’t think they would understand nor care. Cheers!

  • Talkative says:

    Working class deference and lack of class consciousness has always been a problem everywhere, yet both Manchester and Liverpool (and other cities) do have proud traditions of fighting against this. Neither has a perfect track record, but it can not be denied that the changes described in the article are part of wider transformations for the worse (as far as class consciousness and solidarity go).

    It’s all very well to point out where there’s a danger of straying into uncritical nostalgia, but we have to be careful not to drown revolutionary aspirations in stifling negativity. This is something football fans are proving themselves to be very good at – convincing themselves that they can’t change anything, while sitting back and letting the likes of Murdoch and Glazer change things at will.

  • BestisBest says:

    Had to join in. 25 year old Man Utd fan.

    Mixed feelings on the article. I did get a little despondent after reading the author has affection for Ronaldo, and even some for Beckham. Even some for Beckham. Well congratulations David, alongside Gary Neville with his love for the club.

    If you pride some guy who clearly couldn’t care less about United alongside a guy who loves the club (as much as Gerrard does LFC for those hundreds of LFC fans who have seem to be fascinated by this article) & should never have left, then I have to question your opinion.

    Fair point about certain players, Nani Carrick etc, they don’t seem to be overly bothered, Nani’s recent lack of commitment especially.

    Far too much emphasis has been put on the council house banter. I’m not old enough to know first hand but from reading comments here and articles throughout my life it seems mocking LFC about wealth is not a new thing. And certainly not something that was started by United fans.

    Catcastle although missing the point of the article, does make a few good points especially about Parks ability ‘(NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT BLOODY GOALS)’ and given the actual point of the article which again, Catcastle missed, I fail to see why criticism of his ability is necessary.

    Finally, there is so much love for this article, anyone notice that numerous ‘Great Article’ posts seem to be from LFC fans ? Don’t know why they love an article so much about the club imploding.

    You make a fair point about a lot of the fans, god I’m best friends with one & I can hardly sit in the same room as him when the United talk starts. I do believe this is partly expected when a club has as many fans as United, but the over elaboration of the council house banter is not to blame. And leave Park Ji Sung alone.

  • Boyle says:

    You make some valid points. Especially re the scousers mainly being the ones who are saying what a great article. Must be pleasing for some people seeing real united hating high profile Scousers back slapping the piece on twitter.

  • duns says:

    United fans are, always have been, and probably always will be a big collection of predominantly cheese-riddled bell ends, once you pull back the foreskin that is the match and the mentality and solidarity it falsely affords. This is based on the fact that as a group they are made up of human beings.

    The only difference nowadays (and this may or may not be down to the great schism of 2005) is that there is a single pube caught under the eaves of each of these bell ends and when the foreskin is rolled back upwards, that pube has ended up stuck to the purple crown – all the way to the jap’s eye – at which point it extends upwards, away from the bell end altogether, and curls into the shape of a question mark.

  • duns says:

    Incidentally I’ve haven’t seen this much consternation over a j-stand article since the great Norwich match preview of 2004. Well done.

  • Denis says:

    No denying it’s a well constructed article.

    But let’s not get above our station. Some people slagging this song will definitely have sung Liverpool Slums, and will possibly have sung Hillsborough songs.

    I know I’ve done both. Not proud of it, but I’ve done it.

    Stop trying to change the world.

    MUFC – one love.

  • jstand says:

    Some good, interesting and enjoyable responses.

    A fair few people calling me a cunt for writing it. An even greater number asking why I’m targeting Park or why I’m saying it’s ok for LFC to sing Munich or telling me they live/lived in a council house and so haven’t forgotten their roots or accusing me of being racist or prejudiced against out of town reds. All well wide of the mark and in a lot of cases being MUFC defensive for the sake of being defensive, which kind of proves my point. Read Milts’ responses above. Says all that needs to be said in response to these odd interpretations.

    For those of a more constructive outlook, you’re welcome to pen a response and we’ll post it on the site. Send it to content@afinelung.com or just call me a cunt on a message board somewhere. MUFC

  • Fraudulent says:

    Good article, makes a lot of valid points about the gentrification of OT and our game in general. I think it’s a bit harsh on the great many (in number, if not %)good reds who still go to United though, there are still plenty of pre 2005 ST holders there. Diluted they may be by the more visible JCL dickheads, but still there. They may be local and working class, they may not. There have always been middle class heads at the match, like it or not. The real problem is how divided we are as a fanbase these days – give up your book in ’05 and you’re a splitter who doesn’t care about MUFC, keep it and you’re a Glazer stooge who’s killing the club. We’re all so intolerant of each others’ decisions, and all it leads to is resentment. The fact that some of the comments on here have digs at another United fanzine is proof enough of that, it’s a shame.

    The Park song isn’t great, that much is clear. But is it more culturally offensive than the Russian submarine one, which I’m prepared to bet most of us sang? I did. Would I sing it in the presence of someone whose dad died on the Kursk? No. That, rightly or wrongly, is football and football crowds. Others have mentioned longstanding songs like Sign On, In your Liverpool Slums etc and it’s a fair point. I was on a tram back to Piccadilly after Norwich at OT last season (a rare visit these days) and we were all treated to a lovely range of racist ditties and also Hillsborough songs from a dozen white, working class (a guess) local lads. Maybe a few years back they’d have been shouted down, who knows? I’m rambling now, and I’m not even sure what point I’m trying to make, and like I said I do agree with large parts of the piece. I blame Gill.

  • Fraudulent says:

    This is just my luck, missing the banter cut off by one minute. Horrible echoes of May.

  • kstand says:

    The song is wrong if your stupid enough to take it as anything more than United fans trying to get one over on Liverpool. The working class football culture is dead. It was that way in the 80′s, not anymore. A lot of that brigade has moved on, now live elsewhere (suburbs), and pass their team and tickets onto the next generation. The modern general working class has little interest in going to games even if they could get in free. So keep slagging off everyone else who has the cheek to be interetsted in football. Why don’t they just let it die off altogether?

    I suppose you tell everyone you can too that you’re a “real manc” who refuses to go into that soul selling stadium. You’re as bad as the scarf wielding suburban you’re slagging off.

    The United/Liverpool working class city rivalry is dying, replaced by something different that’s mostly bourne from the media and football. Either let it go or continue being that annoying bregrudger sipping his pint and muttering about the teens outside in replica shirts.

  • [...] days ago, which I’m sure most of you have read – “Green and gold until Park has been sold” http://www.afinelung.com/?p=4394. Reading it, I felt like someone was filming my brain. It hit the nail on the head perfectly, [...]

  • vanderwaar says:

    At 25, i’m guessing that I am considerably younger than jstand and the majority of comment-makers here but I would like to think that my opinion would still be valid.

    To understand the context of my fandom, my earliest memories are of Sparky, Bruce and co. winning the first Premier League and my family’s wild celebrations that followed. The rest of my time as a fan has been typified by a vast increase in money, glory and ‘history’, coupled with a worrying spiral into moral bankruptcy. A spiral, which jstand rightly points out, is summed-up by the ignorant chants and plastic nature of any protest towards the Glazeropoly.

    My problem with this article is that although my parents are from working class families, as a result of the wider gentrification of Manchester and it’s satellite towns, I would now fall into the category of ‘suburbanite’ and thus be subject to some ‘banter’ verging on abuse from ‘real’ fans. The reference point for the generation that preceded mine is a North West dominated by the working class, with a leftist lean and a middle finger to the capital city. But I am a product of Thatcher’s Britain, and my generation exalts money, consumer goods and careers, something MUFC were good at selling to lads like me in the 90′s.

    So my question is, where do I lie in your cutting analysis of United fans? I’m a manc with a genuine passion for United. I’ve been brought up on my grandad’s stories about the busby babes and the days of yore. I can’t afford a ticket to Old Trafford, so I watch every game on TV. I enjoy watching football, but lament the vacuous nature of the sport.

    In short, it’s alright to hate on the nouveau-riche fans, cos that’s what a good working class boy does. But the reality, as jstand rightly points out, is that my generation have been trained to aspire to be nouveau-riche, so many of them can’t understand why chatting shit about council houses is offensive.

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  • tfish11 says:

    I read the article and many of the replies and as I worked through them I had a mixture of feelings and had many different thoughts going on in my head. I was asking myself was the author having a dig at the: Glazers, Park, Thatcher, the shedding of old working-class rivalry, Man Utd fans who live in suburban areas, Man Utd fans not from Manchester, or possibly the global capitalism that has engulfed the game. It strikes me that the author was having a dig at all of those mentioned, but did he/she go about it in the right (write) way. It certainly fuelled stacks of support from Liverpool fans that’s for sure, and it certainly fuelled many comments that were probably written without engaging the very few brain cells that the respective authors had. The article was well constructed and made some great points, but I feel a lot of what was written will be misconstrued and that the author will be labelled an ex Man Utd fan who now hates the club/team or even a Liverpool fan in disguise.
    The rivalry between Man Utd and Liverpool has very little to do with history nowadays, and certainly nothing to with the trade war between the two cities or the ship canal. How many football fans do we know that can recite Manchester or Liverpool’s great history or indeed anything about the canal? How many football fans link football to Thatcher, I mean who was she, ‘a get lucky so-called Northern girl who wanted to be Queen of the South’ maybe that’s her only link with football…whatever. I just don’t think it’s fair to label the newer breed of Man Utd fans as glory hunters or people who travel from London or elsewhere as glory hunters. We are all glory hunters but some of us watched from the terraces while we languished in the old second division and I’d rather have my three sons support this Man Utd than that Man Utd if you get my drift. I actually despise the Park song, rats, council houses etc, it’s claptrap but I don’t think Park should be singled out or even mentioned when lamenting Man Utd as a global capitalist wonder. I’m afraid it’s the nature of the beast, the most important thing in football now is money it has been since Sky took over the TV rights at least. Man Utd were caught on the lip of the flood tide making them even richer than when they were owned by Louis Edwards and co. Sink or swim is the name of the game and it’s not the Man Utd’s of the world we should be pointing the fingers at nor their wealthy debt-ridden owners it’s the whole structure of the game. In twenty years or so the money will dry up for so many clubs and there will be little left because money is not circulated downwards to the lower clubs. Player power has taken over far too much; the game is a mess from top to bottom.
    As for the fans singing Munich or Hillsborough songs, well that’s disgusting but it says more about the singer than the club sung about. I had many friends at Hillsborough, and I attended the Hillsborough Mass at my church the following day. I could never hate Liverpool, the city or the club, for whatever reason but I can despise those who hate football by hiding behind another football club’s banner and calling the team that I’ve followed all my life fit to burn. Some of these alleged fans have never been to more than a handful of games in their life, if any matches at all, nor kicked a ball in a local league, but they profess a right to hate Man Utd because they have five European cups tattooed on their arm or that they watch every one of their own club’s games on Sky TV and talk about the game like they’d been involved. Football is changing for the worst on and off the pitch, but I’ll still enjoy it for the best because I’ve watched the BEST and the CHARLTON and many more ‘not so greats’ besides.
    Many will say that club rivalry in the form of hatred and pathetic insipid songs are just good old fashioned banter; well the best reply on the posts that I read was actually ‘Banter, the last bastion of bell-ends’.
    Cheers if you read this.

  • Impressive Tackle says:

    Good article jstand. Intelligent and provocative.

    I think Milt, in his comment above, pretty much nailed what the point of the article was although even then some of his opinions were questionable:

    - “It’s not the songs or their content that are offensive. It’s the lack of understanding by a happy-clappy crowd slowly replacing the old guard… that is most offensive”. < Nope, I'm pretty sure plenty more people rightly or wrongly find the actual songs and their content "most offensive". Offense is subjective and a matter of perspective and unfortunately Milt is only seeing it from his side. It's a silly point when put like this i.e. "Those are our closed-minded chants born out of years of social repression and/or xenophobia and/or racism and/or homophobia etc etc. How dare these middle-class people hijack these chants in our name?"

    - "You should need to earn the right to sing that sort of song". < Similar to my point above, many people would argue that no one has the right to sing "that sort of song". Is it possible the song is the bigger problem and not the suitability of the chanters? I'm not necessarily saying it is offensive, but if it isn't then does it matter who sings it? The reason for it's continued existence remains the same i.e. to wind up the Scousers. To me it doesn't matter whether the new guard or old guard sing it because a) many of the old working class guard grew up and became or gave birth to the new middle class guard and b) believe it or not both guards are full of twats who sing the chants for the wrong reasons.

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