rss twitter facebook mobile

Fergie vs The Fans – Round II

Alex FergusonFollowing United’s boring 1-0 win over Birmingham last week, Sir Alex Ferguson laid in to the fans. “The atmosphere inside the ground wasn’t very good,” Ferguson said. “The crowd was dead. It’s the quietest I’ve heard them here. It was like a funeral, it was so quiet. We needed the crowd today. It’s all right saying the players will make the fans respond, but in some situations, like today, we need them to get behind us. We’ve played game after game in this period and in these moments we need a lift.”

Cue “Prawn Sandwich” headlines and criticism of United fans. What the atmosphere was actually like that day was irrelevant because if Ferguson is going to make a stand against his own fans, then it must be true. The Stretford End sang all game against Birmingham. It wasn’t loud enough and the rest of the ground didn’t join in, but it would have to be a pretty twisted funeral to sound the way the ground did that day. There was a mediocre atmosphere to match the mediocre football the fans had paid £35 to watch on a New Years Day hangover. Should Manchester United need a rousing atmosphere to secure more than 1-0 win at home against relegation candidates?

What Ferguson failed to mention when sticking it to the fans is that we had turned up in droves to Upton Park just a few days before, singing from start to finish. Paying over £40 a ticket, travelling to London and back four days after Christmas, supporting the team for ninety minutes, and for what? To see our team put on a gutless display, conceding two goals from set pieces, and go home with nothing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying fans should necessarily begrudge days like that. It’s part of football. Sometimes your team do the business, sometimes they don’t. It’s frustrating to see your team put on a display like ours did against West Ham, but what can you do? The great atmosphere our fans provided that day did nothing to ‘lift’ the players, but it was still given out happily.

United fans could possibly then be forgiven for expecting some kind of reaction when playing Birmingham a few days later. That doesn’t excuse fans sitting there not singing, but is one explanation. If Ferguson can’t motivate the players to try and score, then it’s a bit rich to expect us to. In difficult games against tough opposition, in important matches when we’re playing like rubbish, then fair play, get behind your team and sing your heart out. Should United need that kind of motivation to see off Birmingham? And don’t get me started on the hypocrisy that comes with criticising the support at Old Trafford whilst publicly backing the Glazers.

However, following our fans impressive display at Villa Park and our players’ less than impressive performance, Ferguson had this to say of the fans. “They were absolutely fantastic. Every time we come to Villa Park whether it be for an FA semi-final or a league match they’re always really up for it and that makes a difference to the team. I made that point last week [after the Birmingham game]. And when our fans are like they were today we don’t let them down.” Now that’s not entirely true is it, Fergie? Again, I refer you to West Ham eight days ago.

Regardless, as the chant goes, which was sung loud and proud yesterday, “every single one of us loves Alex Ferguson”, which is entirely true, even if every single one of us doesn’t always agree with him!

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

View all posts by Scott »



  1. BadRedBoy Macedonia says:

    Im a ManutD fan from Macedonia,and i just wanned to say that i support your post but also you must agree with me that atmosphere in the stadium must be on highest level when our team have problems,and dont playing so well !!!

    happy Christmas and New Year to you and all United fans around the globe from Macedonia,,BadRedBoy

  2. jsos says:

    haha well said, scott. at the end of the day, the man is a legend and we love him. and the supporters, along with the men in the club, want to finish the day with his praises in their favour.

  3. craig mc says:

    You all love on Ferguson if you like, even if he wants to make muppets out of you all!!!! I have a bit more respect for the loyal ManU fans he has yet again dismissed and disparaged. I am not a member of the IMUSA, but know the majority of them are season ticket holders, and are fanatical to a man. So for Ferguson to say that they are not the conscience of MUFC and lightly dismiss there genuine concerns, he should be friggin ashamed of himself. Fergie should look at himself and the board if he wants to understand fans backlash against being treated as soul less people there for commercial gain only. Shame on him. There rant over!!!!.l

  4. Tom F says:

    This has gone on long enough, I understand both points of view and whether it’s cool or not will remain on the fence. Whether certain things were said or not I still believe Manchester United shouldn’t be expected to sweep aside every random team week in week out, our team did fantastically well last season and this season, like every other Manchester Uniteds fans have expectations that can sometimes be way over the mark. It won’t be 4 goals every week, we as Manchester United fans are spoiled rotten, so when the days come and we don’t score four or even don’t play ery well and even lose, I am gutted and I do moan but I will not go on about it forever. West Ham like beating us but I am glad it is them and not Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal so far this season. It’s obviously odd to think we couldn’t get any points at Bolton but whether winning by four or losing by four, having the fans on your side will always help. This is not aimed at SAFs comments just at the view on how fans should behave. When things are all plain sailing and running smoothly its easy to be a fan, but when things aren’t going too well thats when the real support matters. SAF is a football man and if you want to complain about comments, yes he should’ve worded things differently but if you want to complain about anything else to do with Old Trafford or Commercial gain, you need to send your letters to the men above SAF, with my support.


You must be logged in to post a comment.