Ask any football fan which Premier League club they hate the most and there’s a strong chance that Manchester United will feature heavily amongst the responses.
United fans revel in the mantra of ‘hated, adored and never ignored’, although whether they should be forced to feel that way is a completely different matter.
According to a recent Betway blog, United’s massive global fanbase is one of the primary causes for jealousy from fans of other teams.
A comparison with the New England Patriots appears to be fully justified, with the six-time Super Bowl winners equally unpopular in NFL circles.
Outspoken head coach Bill Belichick certainly has shades of Sir Alex Ferguson about him, while quarterback Tom Brady’s arrogant manner puts you in mind of Eric Cantona.
While United’s despised status is rooted in envy, it is probably fair to say that many fans haven’t really got a clue why they actually hate the club.
From being seen as media darlings to officials favouring them on the pitch, opposing fans will come up with a plethora of reasons why they hate United.
‘Fergie time’, having fans who don’t live in Manchester and being a corporate brand rather than a football club are amongst the excuses often put forward.
However, the reason other fans hate United is due to one simple factor – people generally don’t like it when a club is seen to have become ‘too successful’.
There have been plenty of previous instances where clubs have got it in the neck due to their success – Leeds United in the 1970s and Chelsea’s rise during the Roman Abramovich era being two such examples.
A few more trophy-less years would probably see the angst towards United diminish a little, which is exactly why manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to win some silverware and fast.
‘Hated, adored and never ignored’? Yes please!
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.