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There’s only one ‘United’?

6 years ago
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The other day I found myself referring to Manchester City FC as “City”. This has got to stop.

Although this is what the pundits say, there are several other ‘Cities’, such as Swansea and Cardiff. In fact the plethora of ‘Cities’ is one of the reasons Assem Allam has given as to why Hull City AFC should be renamed Hull Tigers to keep its identity, although there are other sporting tigers, such as rugby’s Leicester Tigers and the Bangladesh national cricket team.

No, the main reason why we shouldn’t call Man City ‘City’ or even ‘Citeh’ is because that normalises calling Manchester United FC ‘United’.  All the former Man U players on the telly, including both the Nevilles and Rio Ferdinand, are calling Man U ‘United’. I’m sure I even heard Alan Shearer refer to ‘United’. Alan Pardew once even called Man U ‘United’ when they were playing against us!

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So why are these teams called ‘United’?

Newcastle United FC, with its proud footballing history, was formed in 1892 by the merger of Newcastle West End and Newcastle East End. These teams united to form a team based in St James’ Park in the centre of the city.

Newton Heath LYR (Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway) FC were founded in 1878, renamed Newton Heath FC in 1892 and then renamed Manchester United FC in 1902.  Why Manchester United? No real reason, they just thought it sounded fancy.  They’re probably named after us: three syllables followed by ‘United’ scans nicely.

Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool may be bigger cities, but the loyalties of their citizens are very much divided between rival teams. Newcastle is one city, with one team. We are truly united. Newcastle United weren’t the first ‘United’ football team, this honour goes to Sheffield United FC, as it was formed by members of Sheffield United Cricket Club. Newcastle were the second, and the first to be named after an actual unification.

Luton Airport, by virtue of being near to London, renamed itself London Luton. Trafford, where Man U are based, is right next to Manchester. Why don’t Luton Town FC rename themselves London United? They have as much right to that name as Man U have to theirs.

So how are non-Manchester, non-United known as Manchester United?  Because they have been so successful. They were the dominant force in English football for two decades. They are famous all over the world, and sell shirts across the globe. How can we compete with that? How can we become ‘United’?

Start winning some trophies.

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