“Thank you for your fantastic support! Today’s attendance is the season highest!” it was announced over the speakers. The United fans let out an ironic cheer. Who would have thought eh? Manchester City getting their highest attendance when they played Manchester United? The ‘only team from Manchester’ only able to sell out their ground when United come to visit.
Before they welcomed that “human rights abuser of the worst kind” with loving arms, you rarely saw a City shirt around town. That’s not me being an arsehole or me being unfair, it’s just telling it how it is. Whilst of course there’s always been City fans about, it was only when the money started pouring in that they began to wear their shirt with pride.
Manchester United have fans from all around the World but that doesn’t mean Manchester isn’t red. What a ludicrous thought. United can attract fans from London to Lagos, Kent to Kenya, Torquay to Thailand, but they can’t draw in fans from their own city? Oh no, Mancunians would rather support City than United. How obvious!
This season, their average attendance is 42,937, meaning on average, there are 5,000 empty seats at the Wastelands every home game. That means only six teams in the Premiership have filled fewer of their seats than City this season, with their ground, on average, just 89.4% full.
Yet today, Nigel de Jong has perpetuated City’s favourite myth. Honest City fans know the truth. Whilst few if any would admit the city is red, they know that Manchester isn’t inundated with blues. They know they see more United shirts around. They know that it’s only in Stockport and Bramhall they would be guaranteed to go to a pub showing a City game over United. But the lie continues…
“You can see that in the city, a lot of local fans, more blue fans than red fans,” said De Jong. “If I take a cab, the driver is always a City fan. If I go to the shopping centre, all I see are City shirts. There are so many City fans. I was astonished when I first arrived because everyone was a blue fan. And I was like, ‘How does that work? United are the biggest club in the world, aren’t they?’ People would explain to me, ‘That’s just a global thing, the real workers’ club is Manchester City’. And it’s true, it’s a working club. The people in Manchester can relate to this club because they are working people. They are very proud of it. That’s why Manchester City is so big locally, not worldwide, but definitely locally.”