Whenever I’m outside of Manchester and I get talking to whoever, the topic will usually turn to football. It’s not long before I’m talking about United. “You’re from Manchester? I thought proper Mancs supported City.” If I had a quid for every time I heard this I’d be almost as loaded as the Arabs at Wastelands!
Let’s be honest, the idea that Manchester United can draw in fans from all over the World, but repel support from Mancunians, is plain and simply totally idiotic. It doesn’t make any sense! People don’t assume all scousers support just one of the Merseyside teams, people don’t assume all Brummies support just one of the Midland teams, people don’t assume all cockneys support just one of the London teams… but because United fans have fans all over the country and all over the World, for some reason, it is assumed by those outside of Manchester that Mancunians support City. Moronic.
I’m not sure how this myth spread so rapidly, I have my suspicions that bitters on their jollies perpetuated the lie, but I honestly can’t get away from Manchester without hearing I can’t be a ‘proper Manc’ because I happen to support the team of my father and grandfather etc., and that team happens not to be Manchester City.
Whilst City fans might enjoy going down south or abroad and claiming all Mancs support City, they’d be embarrassed to make such a claim within the city. You only have to go to a pub on match day, in the centre or in the suburbs, to see just how many United fans there are in Manchester. Head out to Stockport and it’s a different story though!
A report in 2001 showed that 7,808 of the season ticket holders at Old Trafford lived in ‘M’ postcodes, compared to the 6,678 Maine Road season ticket holders with ‘M’ postcodes. Obviously, proportionally, that means City had a higher percentage (40% of their season ticket holders were from Manchester, compared to the 29% of United’s), but it does show how many more Mancs have season tickets at United compared to City.
The most popular area for United season ticket holders was Sale (M33), with 3% of all holders coming from this area, which is roughly five miles from the ground and about 10-15 minutes in the car, and just three stops on the met. The most popular area for City season ticket holders was Cheadle (SK8), with 4% of all holders coming from this area, which is also roughly five miles from the ground.
Comedian Jason Manford, who you’ll know if you’ve seen 8 Out Of 10 Cats, is a Salford-born blue. Last night he was on Jonathan Ross and was asked about his football support. After already taking the piss out of the City mugs who showed up with the tea-towels on their head, doing their very best ‘walk like an Egyptian’ impressions, he had to explain the differences between United and City to Ross.
“City is the team for proper Mancunians though, right?” Ross asked. Manford paused rather awkwardly and confessed that actually there were loads of United fans in Manchester (comparing us to rats, saying you were never more than a few feet from one of us!) and that the myth about City fans and Manchester wasn’t true.
If even the City fans are fessing up, then maybe we are actually getting somewhere. But I won’t rule out the chance of ignorant southerners again questioning my support or giddy bitters continuing to spread the Manchester myth!