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Opinion

I only feel pity for Manchester United fans

1 year ago
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Manchester United fans watched their team win on Sunday at Wembley.

Their six year trophy ‘drought’ was finally over.

For Newcastle United fans, their club’s silverware free existence continues.

In my close to fifty years of actively supporting Newcastle United, I have never seen my club win any major trophy.

In those same five decades or so, Manchester United fans have experienced their club win lots of trophies, lots and lots of them.

However, I feel only pity for the Manchester United fans.

I feel so lucky to have been born on Tyneside, born a Geordie, born a Newcastle United fan.

I was a Newcastle United fan before I even knew anything about it.

Manchester United fans in their moment of triumph on Sunday, were focused on singing about a football player, the greatest the Premier League has ever seen in this modern era, who chose his hometown club 27 years ago, rather than a regular trophy winning one that he had zero natural links to.

How close to home is that for the vast majority of these Manchester United fans…?

The idea of pride in where you come from, a love of your city / region that is unbreakable, putting that ahead of simply picking a club where trophies are a guarantee.

No wonder so many Manchester United fans are still obsessed with Alan Shearer. The best striker in the world back in 1996 and he chose St James’ Park over Old Trafford.

As other Newcastle United supporters have already mentioned on The Mag, once you were away from Wembley after the match, no neutral would have automatically known which fanbase were celebrating their club picking up silverware.

Even for the majority of Manchester United fans who had been inside Wembley, seeing them post-match it is almost as if they as well as their red devil comrades who didn’t have match tickets, had also just watched something on the TV, so now it was time to watch something else, talk about whatever. What a joyless experience.

Yes, there will be Manchester United fans, thousands of them, who your average Newcastle United fan would feel very much in tune with, similar character and background, solid decent genuine canny people. However, they are very much a minority amongst the Man U ranks.

For me, supporting Newcastle United and going to matches was / is always something special, following a big / massive club, even during the dark times. I feel privileged to grow up as a natural born Newcastle United fan, that I wasn’t born somewhere horrendous like Coventry, Birmingham, Reading, or any number of other places, where for so many people civic pride just isn’t a thing.

Wanting the best for Newcastle United is no different to wanting the best for Newcastle Upon Tyne and the region generally. They are one and the same.

When I hear news of a serious jobs boost coming to Tyneside, I celebrate it like a goal at SJP.

Imagine you are born and bred in Coventry, or Stevenage, or Plymouth, yet you support Man U. It is just so alien to myself and so many others, a major investment in jobs is potentially going to happen in Coventry, Plymouth, Stevenage and the alternative is Manchester, what do these people hope to see become reality. Jobs for their city/region and friends/family, or more jobs and investment in somewhere (Manchester) where most of them have probably never even visited, never mind going to a match at Old Trafford.

Yes, we have Newcastle United fans who aren’t from Tyneside and don’t have any family, or otherwise, natural connection. I love them all. They chose Newcastle United for any number of reasons but certainly it wasn’t glory hunting, the guarantee of trophies.

Yes, many of them may have first got into Newcastle United due to the Kevin Keegan or Sir Bobby Robson management eras and/or Alan Shearer. However, if 20 or 30 years later they are still supporting Newcastle United, especially after a decade and a half of pointless existence under Mike Ashley, well, I tip my hat to them. If they still support NUFC now, then they are without doubt genuine Newcastle fans. How easy would it be if you live far far away from Tyneside and say you started following Newcastle United when SBR got us into the Champions League, how easy would it have been after five years, ten years, of Mike Ashley to just silently slip away and pick up an interest in another Premier League club. You know, one that wins trophies.

I always laugh when I hear a lot of Manchester United fans trying to justify why they chose a club they have zero connection with. Claims of how actually Man U were rubbish when they decided to start ‘supporting’ them. Well in my near 50 years of active trophy-less NUFC support, before this most recent six year Man U drought, the previous worst in these five decades had been 1977-1983 (six years) and 1985-1990 (five years). Then until this latest 2017-2023 break without trophies, from 1990-2017, the worst had been two years.

For so many Manchester United fans, whether in Torquay, Tromso, Torquay or Timbuktu…I just see countless thousands / millions of them, who on the final whistle on Sunday, went running to update their wallchart featuring how many trophies they have won, which in many cases will be also a situation of comparing the ongoing trophy haul to the glory hunting Liverpool fans leading a similar existence.

I see it very different to your average Newcastle United fan in similar far flung places, their experience and feelings, win or lose, would have been so so similar to those of us who were born into it and were at the match on Sunday.

I would rather be a Newcastle United fan supporting a club who never wins any trophies, than a Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea ‘fan’ who sees his (or her) club win everything.

We (Newcastle United fans) aren’t unique in this, fans of the likes of Hartlepool, Sunderland and many other clubs will be able to identify with this as well. However, Newcastle United is by far, for me, the biggest example of having a genuine (massive) fanbase.

Trophies would be nice as well of course BUT they don’t define me as a Newcastle United fan.

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