Date: 6th January 2011 at 8:30am
Written by:

How many times have you seen the phrase “I’m a life-long Man U fan” or “I’m a die-hard Man U fan”? How many times have you cringed or rolled your eyes at such statements?

Though sometimes used in ignorance, any true fan, who learn the history of United, should know that we don’t use that phrase.

Here’s the history of why United fans should never use “Man U”

The Busby Babes, United’s home-grown players, defied objections from the Football League and became the first English team to complete for the European Cup.

In the 1958 season, The Babes triumphed in the quarter-finals of the European Cup by defeating Red Star Belgrade. On their way home, their plane attempted two take-offs before crashing on the third try.

The tragedy claimed  23 lives, including those of eight players – Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Billy Whelan – and injured several more.

The term “Man U” was thus used by rival fans to mock this tragedy.

One of the first chants that emerged was “Duncan Edward is ManUre, rotting in his grave, man you are ManUre, rotting in your grave.”

Later chants mocking the tragedy went

“Man U, Man U, went on a plane. Man U Man U never came home again.”


“Man U Never Intended Coming Homing” (Combine the first letter of each word)

So please, Red Devils, let’s spread the word of not using “Man U” anymore.

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27 responses to “Man United not Man U?”

  1. bhuttu says:

    I knew the story behind Man U and I avoid using this form myself. However, I find it acceptable for other people to use it, especially if they are not as much die hard fans as simple followers. With all due respect to the players we lost in the Munich tragedy, that was over half a century ago, and I don’t think any of the mock chants about Munich have been aired this millenium. Furthermore, it was the bitter rivals City that responded in a proper and admirable manner in comemorating 50 years from the Munich tragedy two years ago.

    The story behind “Man U” is clearly worth telling, but it should not cause any bad blood between fans, be they less or more passionate about United.

    • eric the king says:

      Sorry bhuttu, but “proper & admirable manner”, Munich, & those city tits, your having a bloody laugh ain’t ya? To actually not act like a sick depraved, & clueless animal for just 90 minutes of your life because the nations cameras are all on you at that time to not earn these morons credit. What happened the very next visit to the council house? Same sick crap. So please don’t give those losers the slightest bit of respect that they simply don’t deserve.

    • josh says:

      totally agree about bad blood between fans but the facts dont add up the term was used in vain in doubt greatly that in more than 50 years not one fan reffered to manchester united as man u, i never got taught what to call my team you just do it, someone didnt say it is man u. so i reackon in 50 years one fan would have came up with it and then we have allowed the name to be suppressed by chants and fan claiming to be more passionate by not using it. you get absoulute tits on here claiming no one call teams anything but there names then refer to liverpool as ”pool’ and West Bromwich Albionas both WBA and west brom, not one official or regarded person from united has been recorded saying not to call manchester united man u just because of chants.. and they call them selves a more passionate supporter… but they allow themselves to suppressed by chants ow no i wont do that now… theres more than just solskjaer that has used the term

  2. Prasac says:

    I’ve heard Solskjaer using phrase ‘Man U’ every time he’s talking about Manchester United.

    • Adalmo says:

      Many ex-Reds are using the phrase ‘Man U’.

    • Casper says:

      That’s incorrect. He always uses the term “United” when speaking about the club. As he’s now the new manager of Molde FK, he appears quite a lot on national television here in Norway and he speaks about the club very often. Maybe he has let one or two “Man U”s slip over the years, but in 99,9 percent of the cases he uses simply United.

  3. Kevin Zurich says:

    I even wrote a open letter to two swiss based newspaper..but they don’t give a fuckin shite about having a little respect for our beloved MAN UNITED..

  4. nesa says:

    they were calling edwards as Manure… a way saying that manchester unnited is a manure team….that’s another reason…

  5. ANNA says:

    HOW AWFUL AFTER ALL THESE YEARS I ONLY FOUND OUT ON FACE BOOK AND HAVE BEEN A FAN SINCE THE BEST DAY….anyway I have a TAB on my Giggsy page explaining this to the fans to save keep telling them…
    Ryan Giggs No. 11 Man Utd Legend Now and Forever.

  6. Maria says:

    Man U is not at all connected to mocking the team in Norway. We love Manchester United, and uses all of the following names:
    * Manchester
    * Man U
    * Man United
    * Manchester United
    * United

    I don’t even know which one we use the most.

    “A beloved kid has many nicknames”

    I won’t stop using the frase ManU, and I love the team!

    • Utd1243 says:

      If you are a United fan. It’s still wrong…

      It doesn’t matter what country you are from, it still refers to the english word “Manure”. And as far as i know, Manchester United is a English team.

      I was teached as a young boy to never say “ManU”, and even if i didn’t know why, i never did, and i never do now.

      If you are a Manchester United fan, never say “Man U”.

    • Casper says:

      Dunno which part of Norway you’re from, but here in Oslo we -never- use the term Man U. Just because most Norwegian fans are too ignorant and/or clueless regarding the history of their beloved (?) club, doesn’t make it right to be using the term. You’re correct when it comes to the part about it not being used to mock the club, but it’s still a common term in Norway only because most Norwegians are mainstream fans who doesn’t follow the club that close.

      • MIDGETonAbike says:

        Same here Maria. I am a Liverpool supporter myself, and never use the manu name. No matter if you are from Norway or anywhere else, that is a name not to be used, and it makes me sick that some LFC supporters use that term when Liverpool has been trough the same thing at Hillsborough.

  7. Patrick says:

    Sorry to correct you but you are wrong in your assertion. I have copied and pasted this post made by a guy who knows the history of United inside out….

    “Man U” or “Man Utd” – Where Did it Originate From?

    Once again the old chestnut about the origination of the term “Man U” or “Man Utd” has reared its ugly head. Just a few days ago the following poster was displayed upon a FaceBook Page, and it caused quite a lot of controversy thereafter. The poster was uploaded by somebody in India who goes under the pseudonym of Red Devils In India. The controversy caused did not surprise me, simply because the poster was misleading at best, and at its worst, so inaccurate in its accusations. It is an old chestnut that rears its head, mainly with younger supporters, time and time again. Perhaps it is time to nail this myth once and for all.

    There is certainly nothing sinister, nor derogatory in either term, and neither reflect anything whatsoever to do with the Munich Air Disaster. To find the roots of both of those titles, you have to go back into early part of the 1900’s, and maybe even earlier than that. They are to be found in the history of newspapers both national, and local. Back then when there were no computers, reporters at football matches would telephone their match reports in to the newspaper, and they would speak to a copy writer who would manually type down what the reporter was saying. The copy writer would then send what he had typed, down to the print room where the compositors (typesetters) would set the report manually on the print plates, ready for the presses to roll.

    The reporters were actually in the lap of the Gods where the copy writers were concerned because most of those copy writers would be employed on an ad-hoc or part time basis, and sometimes, the spoken word and what was passed to the print room, differed enormously, and the finished result could be quite comical. For example, the Irish football team Crusaders once appeared in print as “Crewe Sailors”, and “chunky” Sammy Lee appeared as “junkie” Sammy Lee. “Revie shot up in the air” became “Revie **** up in the air”. Years ago when the late Polish international Kaz Deyna was leaving City it was reported that he was “going home to Warsaw because he cannot understand the language” but it appeared in the paper as “going home to Walsall.”

    Probably one of the funniest examples concerned the late Frank McGhee, who for years was the Daily Mirror’s chief football writer, and on this particular occasion was covering a European cup-tie during Shankly’s era. He began dictating copy over the ‘phone to the copy taker at his newspaper; “Liverpool produced another glory night at Anfield when they crushed the pride of Italian football………..” at which point, the copy taker, a “casual”, and an Indian who was as unfamiliar with Liverpool as he was with football, stopped him. “Excuse me Mr. McGhee, but I am stopping you because your grammar is incorrect.” Now Frank was an old school type reporter and could fly off the handle very quickly, and a “casual” copy writer pulling him for grammar was something that very easily lit his fuse.
    Frank roared; “What the **** are you talking about? There’s nothing wrong with my ****ing grammar ……. Just take the bleeding copy ….. the ****ing desk want it NOW!” What dear old Frank had to listen to next was hilarious. “I am sorry Mr. McGhee, but I am insisting that you are very wrong. You are very fine writer but I am knowing from my school in Bombay that what you are saying is, gra – mat – ic – ally incorrect. You can say ‘a field’ or ‘the field’, but you most certainly must not say ‘an field!” But I digress.

    Other news, and results would come in via telegraph etc, and again, these would be put together and sent down to the print room. The classified Football Results would then be set in type and in columns, a separate one for each Division of the Football League. These columns had to be uniformly aligned both horizontally and vertically. It would have been impossible to do this if the typesetters had to set in the full names of most of the clubs concerned. To alleviate this, they would use a club’s nickname i.e. Wolves, ‘Spurs, or they would abbreviate a club’s name. Sunderland for example would become S’land, Sheffield Wednesday would become Sheff Wed, Portsmouth would read as P’mouth. So a result that was to read like Middlesborough 2 Manchester United 2, would be altered to read something like, M’Boro 2 Man Utd 2. However, the end result was that all the columns would be uniformly set out and perfectly aligned when the newspaper was printed.

    It was the same in later years when the results appeared on television screens, although back then, the reader would always read the abbreviation as the club’s full name, especially if it was the BBC. However, as we got into the mid ‘60’s and things got more technical, a new breed of journalist/reporter began to appear. Reporting got more sloppy and lazy, and the terms “Man U” and “Man Utd” started to be heard more and more from these people, and so it was inevitable that opposing team’s fans picked up on this. It was same when the teleprinter became a popular way of showing results on the tv – United’s name would come up and be shown as Man U or Man Utd. But these terms never, ever had anything to do with Munich, nor were they meant to be derogatory in any way. Just like the proverbial rolling stone, they have gathered stories as the years have rolled along through people who have put a slant on it to suit their own ends.

    In the end, on top of lazy, sloppy journalism, it was just what the football fan saw, read, or heard that brought these terms for Manchester United into more frequent use. It is interesting to note that Big Fat Ron, even when he was managing United, has always referred to the club as “Man U.” So the real explanation for both terms is just very plain and simple.

    • Chudi Onwuazor says:

      I’ve read that before and whilst he makes some good points and included a nifty little picture the fact still remains that other teams mocked the club by saying ‘Man U’.

      I have discussed it in the Red Report before and many if not most United fans who are in the know about it’s connotations choose not to use the term.

      It’s always going to be a contentious point but so be it, I won’t look down my very large nose at anyone who uses the term. If you didn’t know then a little education solves this, if you did and still choose to, good for you I’ll just say you don’t hear Chelsea calling themselves Rent Boys etc for me I’ll stick with United or Man United!

  8. pooks says:

    “Though sometimes used in ignorance, any true fan, who learn the history of United, should know that we don’t use that phrase”

    My Dad’s been going to United since the early seventies including the season we were relegated and he’d never heard of the “Man U” story- does this make him not a true fan?

    The really ignorant one here is the author.

  9. Wor Bobby says:

    I’m over 50, supported the club all my life and had a ST for just over 20 years. How our supporters refer to the club is not something that bothers me. Man utd, Man u, united, the red devils or whatever as long as they support the club. To dis any fan for how they refer to the team is in itself disrespectful and indeed “united fan snobbery” We are all Man utd, Man u, united, red devils fans together..

  10. Pez says:

    in papers couldn’t they just put “Man Utd”?