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Manchester IS Red… Even City Fans Agree

It’s funny how this myth goes around that Manchester is a City supporting location. Mancunians opt to support the blues, whilst United fans claim their fanbase from the home counties. Of course, this is perfect logic, isn’t it? One of the most widely supported clubs in the World couldn’t possible appeal to people from Manchester, could it? We’d all shun United and support City, obviously.

The same myth doesn’t apply to Liverpool, or any other two-team city though. You’d never catch someone saying ‘proper scousers support Everton, not Liverpool’, yet for some reason, the same moronic statement is applied to Manchester and Mancunians.

United fans have glory fans because we’re a glorious team. I’m not of the opinion that fans of our club whose initial reason for supporting the team was ‘glory’ are a bad thing for the club, as long as they don’t fuck off to support Arsenal, or Chelsea, or any other team that happens to be flavour of the month. You wouldn’t catch any self-respecting City fan jumping on to United’s bandwagon, in the same I wouldn’t expect any self-respecting United fan from the south, or any other place for that matter, jumping ship when United go through times of trouble.

However, it is often the retort people who support their local team, whether that be Grimsby, or Peterborough, or anywhere else, use to attack United fans. Of course they do. They’re bitter that they’ve stuck with their local side whilst their mate from down the road gets to enjoy the success Manchester United brings them.

A study from 2001 and a banner at Maine Road in 2003 tell the story in its reality though, as Manchester is Red.

Last season I was reading Red Issue before a game and came across a short little story from one of the regular writers. They overheard a City fan, who happened to be working on his house at the time, speaking to his mate on the phone ahead of the weekend’s matches. They were debating over which pub they would be heading to in order to watch their team play. It made me consider something I hadn’t previously given too much thought to before.

The builder or plumber or whatever he was had a bit of a dilemma on his hands, as United were kicking off at the same time as City. “No, we can’t go there, they’ll be showing the United game,” the Red Issue writer heard. “Nope, not there either…” For a City that is supposedly packed to the rafters with City fans, they certainly do find it difficult to find a pub that shows their game ahead of United’s.

Of course, there are blue areas of town just as there are red areas, where you’ll be guaranteed to watch the club of that particularly district at your local on the telly. However, in all the areas that fall in between, United are the club of choice.

In 2001, a study was conducted by Man Met over where season ticket holders in Manchester lived. ‘Do you come from Manchester?’ it was called.

7,808 of the 27,667 season ticket holders at Old Trafford in 2001 came from an ‘M’ postcode. 6,678 of the 16,481 season ticket holders at Maine Road were from the same area.

1.58% of City season ticket holders came from M14, the area of Maine Road, whilst 0.77% came from M16, the district of Old Trafford.

These figures are the ones United fans may expect, but those who claim United fans don’t come from Manchester might not. Of course we’re going to have a smaller percentage of season ticket holders coming from Manchester than City, given that we do have so many more fans from them in other areas of the country, but for close to one third of our season ticket holders to reside in Manchester goes against the myth.

The study goes deeper, looking in to where the most popular areas for United and City season ticket holders are to live. M33 is where most United season ticket holders come from, 882, which is roughly a ten minute drive from the ground. In comparison, City’s most popular area is SK8, Cheadle, in other words, with 664, which is a greater distance away from the ground, and also, not technically in Manchester. City’s biggest area for fans is actually in Stockport.

So, the biggest red area is in Manchester, but the biggest blue area isn’t, but United fans must have loads of fans from the south taking up the rest of their season ticket seats, right? Wrong.

72% of all our season ticket holders (19,788) come from the North West, in comparison to the 78% of City’s (12,864).

The conclusion?

In terms of the importance of football – and these two clubs in particular – to the city and region, these findings suggest that both retain strong local links and remain embedded in their host areas.

This evidence also suggests that, despite the huge changes in football’s finance, organisation and consumption in the last decade or so – processes which have suggested to some that football has become ‘gentrified’ and has lost its association with ‘place’ – hard core support for both clubs remains strongly regional and local. As such we can see a vibrant and thriving local football culture within what is a globalised cultural form. The tensions between these two forces – one localising and one globalising – will be explored further in future publications.

Further, despite the contrasting fortunes of both clubs since the formation of the Premier League, patterns of Season Ticket holder location remains strikingly similar. For both clubs, there remains very strong support in the hinterlands of Manchester and across the North West, with the heaviest concentrations in Lancashire and Cheshire.

But if that doesn’t do it for you, just ask the bitters themselves…

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.

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  1. AlexOfMancunia says:

    People trying to say that Citeh have more fans than us in Manchester has never washed with me.

    It’s painstakingly obvious to anyone who comes to Manchester (the exclusively Bitter Blue parts excluded) that we have more fans here.

  2. wiuru... says:

    Every time i see the wastelands on TV Its noticable how many empty seats there are.

    I am from Stockport originally but have always regarded it as Manchester When asked where im from .

  3. Col says:

    Of course we can take it as read that, in City’s new-found quest to be the No 1 force in global football, no one from outside Manchester will be welcome at Wastelands, no match tickets will be sold to anyone from Essex and certainly there will be no tours to the Far East to promote the brand!!

  4. Redrose says:

    …. no tours to the Far East or Middle East to promote the brand.

  5. TK 99 says:

    Though i’m not from Manchester,but i’ve never supported any team but UNITED.
    Whether we’re top of table or we’re fightning in the relegation zone,i’ll continue to support them.
    I’ve been doing that for the past 17 years of my life and long may it continues…..

  6. Red-Manc says:

    Im a Manc whos lived in Manchester all my life and without a doubt Manchester is RED.

    how come that banner was held up in the kippax LMAO

  7. propmanc says:

    It seems that u are pretty upset about it all ‘moi san’. The reason why pubs show the utd games is purely financial. ANY landlord (including myself) will tell you that utd on the telly attracts the local ‘Utd Fans’ (never miss a match if its on telly) and the ‘i would have gone but can’t get a ticket ‘brigade’ . You should visit the official utd website for them, ‘BANDWAGGONJUMPERS.COM’.
    See you at the match? doubt it!

  8. reddevil1878 says:

    propmanc ur a tosser u bitter deluded cunt!
    “i would have gone but can’t get a ticket ‘brigade’ ” ummmm, thats because we sell all r tickets and u usless cunts dont. quite simple really.

    blue moon rising? up to 5th… maybe?

    REAL MANCS ARE RED, anyone who says else is just a jealouse bitter shitty supporting knob jockey.

  9. giggs11gerrard0 says:

    That flag being rollled out in the Kippax is shere genious!

  10. Mhd bzew says:

    The whole England is a red, so Manchester couldn’t by anything else

  11. CTID79 says:

    With respect, If someones ground is larger you have MORE season tickets, therefore, proportion is key to the report.

  12. DimbO says:

    Well well well, ive actually read the report now! The ONLY postcods in that report that actucly in Manchester (and not Salford, Wigan or oldham etc.) are M1,M2,M4,M8,M9,M11,M12,M13,M14,M15,M18,M19,M20,M21,M22,M23. So the statistician that I am added them up, and here are my findings….

    Manchester city 2712 season ticket holders in manchester. 1916 United fans In Manchester. Damm im good! here are the links….. please do it yourself, as i think when you do you wil find CATEGORICALLY with acceptably submited evicence, that Manchester….Is Blue.

    Thats the best part of 50% MORE Blues than reds, even though United have more season ticket holders. Funny that?

    Finally I have proof!

  13. Scott the Red says:

    Dimbo – What a waste of time that was. As if just the ‘M’ postcodes are Manchester. I have mates and family in Altrincham and Timerperly and their postcodes are WA. Does that mean they’re in Warrington? Idiot.

    United have been the better supported club in Manchester for the past 7 decades:

  14. DimbO says:

    So Timperly is in manchester? Altrincham is in manchester? Your geography is apalling. If you read the report it itemises places IN manchester By postcode. Your deflecting the issue. Manchester is BLUE. Manchester United is better supported by people, as the report suggests. What it also supports & backs up with figures, is relative proof that MOST of Uniteds supporters are not from Manchester. Call me an idiot all day long, but the facts speak for themselves. The infomation was supplied by manchetser united themselves and suported by a renounded university.
    Both clearly indicate that they are NOT in manchester.

    Please supply me with evidence that Manchester United is a better supported team in Manchester?

    PLEASE NOTE: Manchester does not mean salford/london/ireland or china.

  15. Scott the Red says:

    Dimbo – are you a bit simple? At which point did I say they were in Manchester? I just said they’re not in Warrington, which indicates the letters at the start of the postcode don’t necessarily determine where a place is. If we were to say all M postcodes are the only places in Manchester, then that would mean places like Altrincham were in Warrington.

    Secondly, City bang on about Old Trafford not being in Manchester, with it’s M32 postcode.

    The link I’ve already shown you proves United are the better supported club in Manchester… unless you think we had glory fans from Surrey travelling up to watch us in the 1940′s. What a fucking idiot lol.

  16. RedDon says:

    Of course Manchester is Red. I’m sure that this is something that is particularly hard to swallow for you Blues as your dominance of, and prominence in, Manchester is all you’ve had to cling to for decades, albeit a lie. The sad thing is that certain commentators on tv can’t help but remind us of this ‘fact’. Walk into any pub or workplace and you will know how the Reds outnumber the Bitters. Watch the kids on the schoolfields with their United tops on. Seeing is believing in this case. I don’t blame City fans for perpetually spreading the myth as they have no other ammunition to use. But Manchester is, always has been and always will be RED.

  17. RedMancCasual says:

    United are a massive, massive, massive club. We’re the best supported club in the world, with ‘fans’ everywhere (that is quite embarassing), so why would we be supported everywhere else except OUR city, Manchester?! It would make no sense. I have lived in Manchester all my life, and the only City fan I have ever met is someone I work with (unsurprisingly, he’s a cunt). Everybody I know are paying reds, all my friends, all my family, all my casual acquintances. Everyone at my school were reds, all my teachers, all the pupils, all the administrators. Everyone. Not one Ciddy fan. Some family friends who live in Macclesfield chose to support Villa when they were just lads, for absolutely no reason except for the fact that they were ‘sick of everyone supporting United’. At Old Trafford, you only hear Mancunian accents. I’m sure there are blue areas, but I have only ever seen Red.

    If you come from Manchester,
    You’re sure to be a blue,
    Moston, Collyhurst, Salford, Ancoats
    And if you think that this is true,
    You’re nothing but a fool,
    Cause in this town called Manchester,
    Man United rule,
    Tra la la la….We all hate city…tra
    la la la..

  18. kyometaxao says:

    Manchester Mets mistake was to name the study “Do you come from Manchester” and then gather the data by the M postcode, which includes Salford as well; not by actual addresses within the City Of Manchester borough boundary.

    Given this, as much as it pains me to say it, Dimbo may be onto something.

  19. redmanc56 says:

    I’m collyhurst born and bred and I am extremely proud that my club is recognised throughout the world by the support it attracts…..but citeh have long used this myth that they are the true Manchester club which of course manifests itself out of pure jealousy of their more illustrious neighbours.
    Example you go anywhere in the world and mention you’re from Manchester,whats the response?…ahh yes Manchester united…Bobby Charlton…George Best…Ronaldo…etc..etc…not a mention of citeh!
    They rattle on about how purely Mancunian they are…yeah?…so why are their main offices and training complex in carrington then.
    I remeber going to derbies in the 60s/70s when United had almost half the Kippax and all the seats at the platt lane end,and completely outsung the berties….citeh…little club…little mentality!


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