Who's this then?

My photo
Stebbing, Great Dunmow, Essex, United Kingdom
The occasional blog of an Anglican priest in rural Essex

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Ch ch ch ch changes ...

Phil won't like it, but I really don't like Man U. At all ...

And this was my first conversion.

As a youngster in the late 1970's I was a keen follower of "The Red Devils", with bobble hat, scarf and posters, panini stickers etc. The Greenhof Brothers, Martin Buchan, Alec Stepney, Butch Wilkins etc were the bread and butter of school bus and playground conversations. we watched FA cup triumph and disaster and I can even remember something about the 20th anniversary of Munich '58. But I was not living anywhere near Manchester; my parents supported Liverpool and West Ham because that's where they were from (or near enough). I followed Man U in the same way I followed TV or film or pop stars - from afar.

Then, a few years on, I came to understand the real meaning of football supporting when a friend took me to Vicarage Road to watch Watford, our nearest first division team and I was soon converted from the Red Devils to the Hornets. This was more like it. The pre-Hillsborough terraces were charged with a great atmosphere; the ground was (?is) small enough to mean you felt really close to the action. I remember they beat Southampton 7-1 and at the next home game you could buy a pen with that score printed on it! We'd cheer the names on the team sheet as they were read out and appeared on the electronic scoreboard - Ray Train was always accompanied by a graphic of a steam loco. Being there, being almost close enough to touch your heroes, made for a much more authentic and exhilarating experience.

Of course this was the early 80's and that meant your colours were firmly nailed to the mast. Woe betide you therefore to come upon a crowd of away supporters on the way home - a bunch of Gooners (i.e. Arsenal fans) did for me one wet Saturday. The only time I have ever been physically attacked.

But that was enough. From the commitment of every home game I stopped going, and went back to armchair football. I've been to 1 FA cup game (Millwall vs Oxford Utd, mid 90's, with Graham Tomlin and a bunch of spotty ordinands) and a couple of Pickering Town home games since. So I became a supporter of "anyone but Man U".

And they make it easier for me almost every week, with their designer arrogance and their manager's blotchy-nosed strops at the referee or the groundsman or anyone else who's fault it might be other than his or the team's that they didn't win. I think it's great now that Quieroz has left, Sir Alex has to talk to the TV and press again. There is an air of assumed invincibility about the whole industry that is Manchester Utd, which my Christ-inspired tendency to support the underdog really rails against, so like 'King Kev [sic] I love it love it love it when they lose.

Just like someone who's stopped going to church and turned against Christianity, I've turned against Manchester Utd.

Mind you, should anyone from the Monotheistic faiths put their name behind a team called The Red Devils? I did once meet their chaplain though.


  1. In the 'Lost Commandments of Moses', number 47, it reads, ...and tho shalt not support the Premiership. Then later in number 62, it reads, ...for the Lord thy God is a Rugby man and detests all forms of football where they cannot use their hands.....

  2. Phil,
    it's not just me, check out http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/robborobson/2008/09/hacking_off_hackett.html


This is the Friends' Meeting House, so please remember 1 John 4, verse 11 when commenting!
Anonymous commenters need to be prepared to face rejection, so please consider leaving your name, thank you.