The Faithful welcomes ardent MUFC fan and blogger Scott The Red from the seminal United website The Republik Of Mancunia as a guest writer here on our site. Here’s a great article born of his Red infested mind…
As a child, the summer holidays brought about a family trip to a campsite in Europe. We’d get in the car to travel down to Dover and I would always be wearing my United shirt. After hours and hours of driving, we’d pull in at our designated tin can and the holiday had begun.
It wouldn’t be long before I started mixing with other kids, mainly English, who I’d bump in to at the pool or the kids club. These times were my first insights to what a hugely popular and unpopular club Manchester United were.
I’d meet kids from down south who were there in the latest United strip (shorts, socks and all) talking in their funny accents, calling barm cakes ‘bread rolls’ and didn’t know what I was on about when I said I was off for tea. Still, we could talk about how brilliant Eric Cantona was and imitate the Ince/Giggs goal celebration when we were having a kick about.
But then there was the other type of kid, who had the latest strip of some other club, again, with a southern accent, and again, having several communication problems. This kid hated me though, and only in hindsight I realise this was spawned from the angry die-hard Chelsea/Arsenal/Liverpool/Blackburn/Everton etc. father at home.
It was on one of these holidays that I got called a ‘glory fan’ for the first time. As a little lad, I didn’t really understand this. I knew the song “glory glory Man United” because we sang it on the last day of the season when the players walked the trophy around the pitch (in my boyhood mind, every season, not that I’m a million miles off) but I didn’t understand the concept of a ‘glory fan’.
I am a United fan living and brought up within a 10-15 minute drive from Old Trafford. Manchester United is literally my local team, with Altrincham FC the team falling in closest proximity to my house after United. This is something I have had to explain time and again whenever I’m outside of Manchester.
Within Manchester, you’re either a red or a blue, and the reason behind you supporting the team you do is never assumed to be anything other than your family ties. No self-respecting Manc from a City supporting household would follow United, it’s just not the done thing, and would be frowned upon.
(Fortunately) I’m from the red side of town with all the football fans in my family supporting United. Now, it’s only as I’ve got older I’ve realised I don’t need to justify myself in this way, but it’s something I’ve spent a lot of time doing in the past.
Glory fans irked me for years, these fans from the south who chose to support United, for no reason other than the football played and the trophies won. It was because of these fans that whenever I was outside of Manchester I got a hard time. Like any passionate football fan, United go straight to the bones with me, and having to convince people I loved my team as much as they loved theirs was infuriating.
Whilst the trophies and glory certainly sweetened the deal for plenty of young lads like me growing up in Manchester, our allegiance to our club wasn’t a choice, just as it isn’t for most young lads up and down the country. But because the people who should have been supporting Tranmere or Leicester or Colchester chose to support my local team, my support and passion were questioned.
Now, it’s not just United fans from Manchester who are left wound up by glory fans, but fans of all teams up and down the country. It’s as if the people who are put through the mill supporting their local team, having their heart broken time and again, deprived of silverware and entertaining football, resent those who freed themselves from this cycle. It must be infuriating for die-hard Cheltenham Town FC fans to see their mates at the pub pulling on a United shirt at the weekend. Why should they be forced to suffer the pain of infuriating football and limited success whilst their mates get to bask in the glory of European Cup and top flight titles?
However, as time has gone by, I’ve become a lot more understanding of these people we refer to as ‘glory supporters’. Whilst of course supporting your local team is preferable, I don’t think I am in a position to cast judgment on people who don’t.
You’re in a rather favourable position when your local team happens to be one of the most successful sides in the world, and as much as I’d like to think I’d support United through thick and thin (as my father and grandfather did, through the Munich Air Disaster, relegation and that dreadful period in the 70s and 80s when we were s***e and our hateful neighbours in Merseyside were winning everything), without being given the opportunity to prove my support, there’s not a lot I can say to the lad from Surrey with a United air freshener hanging from the mirror in his car (other than, don’t be such a sad b*****d, use the traffic light air freshener like everyone else!).
If I’d grown up in Peterborough and supported my local team through thick and thin, then I’d be in a position to tell the locals to sort it out when they were parading around town in Manchester United shirts.
Still, if some 20-year-old lad watched Eric the King on Match of the Day and thought ‘I want to support whichever team he plays for’ is that such a bad thing? People were drawn from all over the country in celebrating the skills of Sir Bobby Charlton and George Best, and it was welcomed then. Supporters of other clubs would watch United play and applaud that talent.
Now, football is so much more bitter and cynical. When Cristiano Ronaldo played for us, who most could agree was the best player in the world at the time (or thereabouts), he was hated. He was booed whenever he played. He ripped the opposition to shreds, playing beautiful football, and he was called all the names under the sun.
This isn’t just targeting non-United fans. I’ve hated Denis Bergkamp, John Terry, Alan Shearer, Robbie Fowler, Frank Lampard, Theirry Henry, Didier Drogba, Steven Gerrard etc. and I can give you a good reason for hating every single one of them, but essentially, it can’t just be a coincidence that they have all been very important players to teams that have rivaled United, in one way or another. It didn’t used to be like this.
In Manchester, people would pay in to watch United or City at the weekends, depending on who was playing at home, just to go and watch football live. 1968 was a brilliant year for the city, with the blues winning the league and the reds winning the European Cup. I’m not educated enough in this to say whether the same can be applied everywhere, but I imagine a similar story can be told in two-team cities all over England. It was different back then.
Now you support your local team, otherwise you’re a glory supporter, and that’s the end of it. Being drawn in by exciting football isn’t good enough. There will be 60-year-old men all over the place supporting United simply because of the football George Best played and United were the first English team to win the European Cup. The fact that they’ve been supporting this club for 50 years somehow makes it all right that their initial reasons for supporting United were glory. The same privileges aren’t offered to fans now.
In 2005, after our lads had given a Guard of Honour to the visiting Chelsea, chants were sung to the away end, effectively claiming they used to support us before the money and glory came rolling in with Roman Abramovich. I joined in heartily. Finishing third and trophy-less, which was the case for us that year, would be a position the majority of football fans in this country would happily settle for. But for me, it was gutting.
I’m happy to admit I am a United brat, spoilt by the success from 1990 onwards. So when I saw this collection of Chelsea fans (who didn’t sell all their tickets, I hasten to add!) celebrating the title, I was livid. I was jealous and bitter and angry and upset. Those glory fans, coming to Old Trafford, rubbing our faces in our demise. “Where were you when you were sh*t?” we chanted. Truth be told, they were probably sitting where they were now, traveling up to Old Trafford fully anticipating a spanking. But because of jealousy, I’d brand them all glory supporters instead, just like I had been when United were at the top.
Maybe there were fans amongst them who jumped on the bandwagon when Abramovich came to town, maybe there were some who fell in love with Gianfranco Zola, and maybe there were some who were born a stone’s throw from Stamford Bridge. Does it really matter, as long as they support Chelsea forever?
Essentially then, it is now my opinion, after years of battling with the ‘glory fan’ tag for simply being a Manchester United fan, that it’s acceptable not to support your local team. The reasons which sparked your interest in the club, whether it was your old man, the proximity to the ground, a certain player, plenty of trophies, appealing football etc., shouldn’t really matter, as long as you support that club wholeheartedly.
If you stick with that team through thick and thin, then you are supporting them. ‘Glory fan’ is a condescending term that should be reserved for a person buying a United shirt one season, an Arsenal shirt the season following, and a Chelsea shirt the season after that. Someone who has no interest in their club other than being able to say “I support the best.”
I’ve spoken with people all over the world claiming to support United, particularly since the creation of my United forum, and I cannot say that all these people are ‘glory fans’. Whatever their initial reasons were for supporting United, the way they live and breathe the club, this one I’ve inherited supporting, is enough to convince me.
It’d be far easier for some American to support their local basketball/football/baseball team than it would be United. It would be far easier for them to support the most successful basketball/football/baseball team than it would be United. But if they picked United and stick with it, then that should be recognised and shouldn’t be dismissed.
So United fans will always be tagged ‘glory supporters’ if they’re found outside of Manchester, and if they speak with a southern accent, there is no saving them. However, what is really important is how someone supports their team, not why. But the chances of that opinion being adopted by the masses is slim to none and whoever follows the team at the top, whatever the reasons behind their support, will be branded a ‘glory supporter’, sadly.
Support shouldn’t be dictated by your post code, rather your love and commitment to the club. The sooner people realise this, the better.
As a United fan who lived in the south for many years of my life, this article resonates with me. My accent went a bit ‘cock-er-ney’ and after that youre just damned, having to explain to all and sundry about your Mancunian roots and where your family all live, blah blah. It grates on you after the first ten years! But I firmly believe that United are a global team, and therefore have a global fanbase. I like it when non-Brits have a common denominator with you, whether that be Wayne Rooneys new hairline or about their desire to visit Old Trafford. We dont live in that insular world where Manchester was once a foreign destination for most Londoners, and a place in Outer Space for everyone else on the planet. Geography has shrunk in 2011. If a fan wants to be a part of The Faithful, then as long as they pay their dues…theres absolutely no problem what so ever.
‘Glory fan’ is a condescending term that should be reserved for a person buying a United shirt one season, an Arsenal shirt the season following, and a Chelsea shirt the season after that.
Excellent line – and actually growing up, I saw a lot of this. I never thought I was perfect, indeed as a Southerner, the ‘Glory Hunter’ thing was commonplace. Yet I was infuriated by switches of allegiance; and even getting older, I saw someone who brought an Arsenal shirt shortly after their Invincibles era and was pretty disgusted. These people were the ‘Glory Hunters’.
And actually – it’s difficult to know what gets on in the playground nowadays – but I would guess that if you were a Mancunian kid wearing a United shirt in the South it’d be more accepted and I’d presume less questions would be asked.
Anyway, another point to add is that many non-Brits don’t even have a good local club – you have people from South Asia and elsewhere who don’t have a decent one to support, one without any real direction. I never really got why people were so infuriated with these fans – United were like a multinational “brand” who were televised for all to see. It’s difficult not to fall in love with them and many, whether they’re from the States, Ghana, India or Singapore are really passionate. Course, they wake up and watch “their” team at odd hours so who are we to fault their passion?
I am aditya from far east country NEPAL. I have been supporting man utd frm mid 90’s,firstly due to beckhamn secondly due to SIR ALEX. At those times epl was not so famous in our country but i still fell in love wid aura of red shirt n players wearing them. Most of my frens support chelsea,coz from their winning side under mourinho were the ones who made epl famous in our part of world. But i was already awestruck by charisma of man utd. I love being supporter of man utd n my point is that i m not a glory fan. P.S. I read all posts on ROM
If the fans of a local team should be local fans, then players should come into their local team from the local fans as well. For me that’s local. but when you go searching for international stars you do expect to get some international support, do you?
whats the irony about this?
Scott the red is a fat c*nt from Devon. He knows so much about glory supporters because he is one and he’s a queer to boot. He founded the pink reds, Britains largest gay United supporters club.
Im a regular on RoM and at the beginning it was tough breaking into the mainstream and being a part of the gang, as it were. Not because I was a southerner but because everywhere you go in life it takes time to stake your place in the set up and feel at home or be made to feel welcome. Im a southerner, born in Surrey so Im a posh bloke too. I became a United fan because Im an obstinant bastard to say the least. All my mates were Glory fans and all supported Liverpool, every last one of them except one who supported Forrest. I became a United fan because I loved the fact 1. It would get up their bloody noses. 2. I love the history of the club and the feeling I got from just the term Red Devils and Manchester United. 3. I loved it that it had taken so long from since the last league title, I made it my aim to stick it out untill we won, again stubborness, bloody mindedness. (Im even a Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey fan and as you can google its been a while). Im no Glory supporter I chose my team like men and women up and down the country choose their partner in life. Surely a fan that chooses his partner is of a sounder mind than those who accept an arranged marriage.
I’ve always thought that if you take time to know people then the all inclusive attitude is the one that makes you happier and success follows from such happiness. From the inside the United fans are a great happy all inclusive bunch and this has made the Mancs seem to me the salt of the earth, a great bunch that I want to spend time with and call my friends. On the outside the Manchester United fan base is an unwelcoming biggoted society more hung up on self image than any type of moral code. The Dippers, Bitters, Cockneys all mock the Glory supporters of Manchester United and in general the United supporters shun anyone from outside and agree with these degenerates. I say more of you open up your hearts and embrace your ability to appeal to others rather than agree with the unfortunates of our society just to save face.
A big hello to those who have made me feel welcome. Scott the Red, Cedars, willierednut, King Eric, Kings, Rai, Balaji, smartalex, Jeet and all others that frequent RoM. The internets best Unitedfootball/Sports blog.
I totally empathise with you. I’m born & bred in Manchester & now live within walking distance of OT. I can go back a bit further than you as obviously many can go back further than me. I know for a fact that City fans were harping on about this back in the 70’s so it’s nothing new although it has probably got worse (or is it better?) in the last 20 years. Lets not forget the hooligan conquests of United’s hoards in the 70’s were very heavily allied by the well known Cockney Reds. Without going into my own examples I can tell you that I know exactly what you mean. It is something that I have just got used to now. The fact remains though that there are more United fans in Manchester than there are City & that is beyond any doubt. My primary school there were more, my secondary school – more, my college – more, my family – more, my mates at home when a kid – more, every job I’ve ever had – more, it is just a fact. The harsh reality for Man City fans & indeed most other (if not all) British clubs is something that you & me & the many thousands of other Manc reds even forget sometimes – that we are without doubt the biggest name in world club football & as such arguably the bigget club. When you seriously weigh that up you realise that there is realistically only Real Madrid & Barca who could be argued are as big or bigger. I know they’re not – but that’s another debate. ALL top clubs have out of town fans but at Man United we have to understand the sheer magnitude of our club is going to attract many more than the likes of City. Yes it is a fact that of City’s world wide support probably 90% of it is Greater Manchester based but that doesn’t mean the old myth that “if you’re a Manc you’re blue” but it is where the confusion comes from. I travel a lot around the UK & Liverpool have a huge amount of followers all over. They are probably the closest to us in England but, again on a global level they are no where near us. I havecome to accept that I am lucky enough to be born & bred in Manchester and am a red &, as such am proud that we are known in all 4 corners of the earth. Now that is MASSIVE!
I’m from Orpington in Kent originally and my dad became a Manchester United supporter in the 60’s because of Georgie Best – no other reason than that. I was born in 1981 and had absolutely no choice who I supported. It was United or I’m out of the house!
In the late 80’s, all my schoolmates were Arsenal or Liverpool fans, taking the mick out of me on a daily basis while we floundered around in mid-table (1988/89 was pretty horrible in particular!). By the time I went to my first game, on the opening day of the 1990/91 season, we’d won something (I can’t count ’83 or ’85, too young). I watched the team parade the F.A. Cup round before the game. It was fascinating. I still remember it vividly. Within 3 or 4 years, most of the Liverpool fans had changed to the nicer shade of red before buggering off to support local sides when they were allowed to go on their own (Charlton, Palace, Millwall etc).
The whole time from when we won the league for the first time in my lifetime I have been branded a ‘glory hunter’. It was frustrating but a small price to pay to be a genuine supporter of the greatest club in the country, if not the world.
I have thanked my dad for making me a fan of the club I love. I’ve moved to West Yorkshire and now have a season ticket in the North Stand and (a sign of getting older!) have taken my dad to a game for the first time. Our love for the club lives on and will do forever, no matter what goes on at boardroom level, no matter what happens when Fergie goes, no matter if we drop down the divisions. It runs deeper than that, even for us folk out of Manchester.
Great article, but im sorry If your from down south, I cant accept you as true Manchester United supporter.
when we chant,
“we are the pride of all europe the cock of the NORTH we hate the scousers the COCKNEYS of course and leeds”
what do all the southern fans think when thats chanted? do you join in?, Northerners can understand the Mancunian/United culture, but southerners just arent part of our clubs culture and to be honest I personally dont want them to be.
Scott, it was very nice to read this especially from someone so thoroughly entrenched in the United support as yourself. As an American I have had my commitment to United tested by several people in person and on twitter. I think after talking to me they either realised that my commitment cannot be doubted or they just decided that I was a c*(t and moved on. I can speak for other true reds in America that also wake up as early as 4:45 A.M. to watch their team even after going out the night before (as I did on New Years) to watch their boys play the West Brom’s of the Premier League. It is as the song goes, “we all follow United…”
STR is right, any way who gives a fuck what other fans think about us. I’m not a native of the City though I was born, brought up and still live 30 mins from OT as my love for UTD grew in the 70’s (when we where shite) no one called me a glory hunter until much later I’ll let you guess when that started, funny how I remember a lot my pals being Liverpool fans at the time, though of course they aren’t glory hunters!
I’m from Indonesia who supported United since 1991 when I saw United win Cup Winners Cup, and I don’t support another club since then. I rarely miss a United game, I even watch Champions League match re-run at 3.00 AM and refuse to know the score before I watch it because I can’t afford cable TV and aerial TV here doesn’t always broadcast United’s matches.
Sometimes I feel gutted when someone in a forum blatantly he or she a ‘real’ United fan just because they’re living in Greater Manchester and see the match almost every week, leaving the rest of us just a glory hunters, which I don’t because I didn’t stop supported United when we lost our titles in several seasons. And I won’t stop either even if United relegated to lower division, that’s a fact.
I didn’t feel gutted either when Beckham, or Van Niistelroij or even Ronaldo moved to another club, because I believe we’ll have another players sooner or later. I won’t either if Rooney move too.
Cockneys are actually from London. The South is a pretty big place! Like saying Mancs and Scousers are the same cos theyre from the North. Short sighted.
Great read. I am from California and became a United fan about three years ago. It’s nice to be validated, particularly since so many fans are dismissive. I often times wish I grew up in Manchester and could call them my local team, but I can’t. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that I’m not passionate about my reds. I wake up at 4am to watch games against teams at the lower half of the table and do anything I can to follow United. I was pissed when we lost to City in the FA Cup semis and I welled up when we beat Chelsea to secure our 19th title. Distance means nothing; at the end of the day it’s about passion and love for the club. Just like Charlie, I know exactly what it is like to get two hours of sleep then wake up, watch United play, and go on about the day with no sleep. Every time, win or loss, it’s worth it. As he said, “we all follow United…”
By the way, that West Brom game was a great way to start off the year. More than worth it to wake up and watch Wazza break out of his open play goal slump. Go Reds!
Have been a United fan since ’87 junior school days.
Enjoy this Ferguson golden era while he’s still with us.
No matter what. Keep the Red flag Flying High.
A London Red.
Have been a United fan since ’87 junior school days.
Enjoy this Ferguson golden era while he’s still with us.
No matter what. Keep the Red flag Flying High.
A London Red.
Being older than scott i never had the glory hunting tag-ever..and i was taken to a lot of games by my old feller from maybe 6 or 7 years old (1 was 7 in 68) and mostly night matches that guaranteed ear-ache when we got home,but just to add a strange point to this is my dad was a f*****g bertie! ..and the strange part is this, he never took me to maine road (another belated thanks dad) and i only found out he was a bluenose after he died..hindsight brings a few minor blueishisms to mind but its gonna baffle me forever why he took me to old trafford? its not distance because living in hulme is a 15 min walk to old trafford and 20 min to maine road as it was…anyway glory hunters allways divides mine and a good mates views because i am one of those people who will read who even made the tea in the studio on the back of a ‘stones’ album cover..so all those programmes (where do they fuck off to?) in the early 70’s gave me loads of useless info but the number of fans from around the country that travelled to every home game was big even then..a lot wrote into the letters pages and it sticks in my mind enough to take the their side in any arguments with dan my mate,who simply thinks they all should do one..me, im different, i have nothing but respect for those out of towners in those days of the odd fa cup, and ira warnings advising us to evaquate the ground that just gave way to a few new songs..ok, .as we broke the long wait for title and up to present day the whole thing has become a selfish money making non-concern for young mancunians that at one time was me,and a gang of lads middle left of the stretty and the girls down at the iron bars singing their snatches off..nothing was put in place to keep that support,im sick of writing and getting nish in reply about it over the years and i wouldent buy a season ticket ever to give those cunts (not just glazer scum) more money for doing nothing to ensure the young reds of manchester a chance to go to the home games..it started with the stretty for me when we got our 1st premiership, then the rest and eventually i thought ‘the quadrents’ just maybe they read my letter? well heres 7 more letters ‘wankers’ and i am tempted to write one last letter when they bomb the nearby houses and can then make it ‘100,000’ capacity and say “if you care nothing for locals who love united but dont have the money and sometimes the parents to afford to be put on the old trafford waiting list in the hope of a seat that fits their mancunian arses, i hope that if we become (metaphorically) shit,shite,and cacky i see the glory hunters go a’glory hunting and you the board come a’begging the hulme,moss-side,collyhurst,chorlton,and all the young reds denied..when we went down in 73/74 our support in div2 shit on every club in the 1st div and guess where the majority came from? you dirty blinkered buisness men do not come far behind that repulsive glove puppet glazer quartet..i hope your collective wealth catches fire and your left with a cockle or a bluey between you…dont you know! LUHG-PARTIZANRED M/C15 REDS-NEVER DIE.