When you look over what Manchester United have achieved over the past 20 years, it is almost overwhelming. Unprecedented success.
However, looking past all the trophies, world class players and even Sir Alex Ferguson, there has always been something that has gradually dwindled away. Each season you can almost see it disentigrate right before your very eyes. Old Trafford’s atmosphere. Where has it gone? It’s disheartening to say the least. I hear tales of when it used to be rocking. Week in, week out. Flags, scarfs and songs. It facinates me to think of Old Trafford in that way. I have briefly experienced something like this when sat in the Stretford End but only rarely does it ever spread throughout. Even rarer still is it ever happening when it isn’t a ‘big game’. I’m tired of nostalgic tales, I want it myself and I know I’m not alone.
The ‘big game’ theory is one that I, personally, feel is one of the most damaging in terms of atmosphere. Strangely enough, it is also one that has come straight from our own support. It dawned on me before I went to the match against Stoke City in January. I was browsing the blogs and websites and came across people discussing their attendance for the match.
“Not going tonight. It’ll just be a shit home league game. I’m waiting for the big one! Liverpool, cannot wait!”
When did this attitude start to creep in? A snobbery towards the quality of opponent, as if that is a factor in your decision to go and watch your beloved club. Surely the main attraction is going to Old Trafford and watching your heroes play? I completely understand that games like Liverpool are to be looked forward to but I can’t say that I have ever not looked forward to going to any game. I still get that same feeling of giddy excitement when I walk up the steps and look out over the pitch, whether we be playing Barcelona or Burnley. I’m not quite sure how any fans wouldn’t? We need to look forward to every game, go to the ground wanting to get behind the team and come away satisfied with another three points knowing that, in your own way, you’ve contributed.
Many fans I overhear complaining always comment on the ridiculous music played over the tannoy prior to the match. I have to admit that I also despise hearing ‘Glory, Glory Man United…’ being blasted out. It contributes nothing other than to make fans bury their heads in programmes and fanzines. The club will continue to play it though as most fans like to wander to their seats about 5 minutes before kick-off. This leaves the stadium empty and devoid of any type of atmosphere. Why not come in early and build it together? I’ve never understood it. It would be inspiring for other fans and, I’m sure, the players in the dressing room. 2 o’clock onwards; flags, scarves and songs. I’d love it and, most importantly, it would work.
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i dont think they will ever let terraces back in the top flight
It has been poor this year and I reckon the ticket boycott has had a lot to do with it.
We’ve had tickets in the Stretford End for years and had become really friendly with the lads around us — meeting up for drinks and even going to Wembley and away European games together. But after the green and gold protests last year, and the full revelation of the Glazer debts, four out of our seven did not renew their tickets. Their places have been taken by new faces who don’t seem to have the same passion as the others: they don’t know the songs (or don’t join in), and if that’s the same across the Stretford End, it explains why the atmosphere has tailed off even more.
These newcomers are in addition to the extra ‘tourist’ fans who seem to be there this season. You know them: they’re the ones filming the fans celebrating the goals on their mobiles or cameras while the rest of us are up cheering the lads.
I’ve found that it’s only really the stretford end and the west stand that make any real noise, sat in the north a couple times this season and I’ll tell you, heard more noise at a funeral!
You get polite applause and that’s about it, the whole stadium should be rocking trying to get behind the team.
I was sat in North, v Wolves this season, and after Ji-Sung’s 93rd minute winner, was still stood on my feet as Wolves restarted (understandably, given how relieved i was!!)….
….causing an angry man behind me yelling at me to sit down, (first time he had yelled/spoke/sung all day!!)
Whilst the introduction of terracing would undoubtedly improve the atmosphere, the type of fan we get going to home games (only a %), really do not help, i left at the end of the Wolves game, not knowing if there was a greater feeling of relief, or anger, caused by an apparent, fellow red!!!