10 November 2005

5 Things (Part 3) - Manchester United and I

It was the year 1979 when I started Primary 2 and it was also the year when I started getting interested in football. My cousins and I were glued to the TV every Sunday noon when they showed Big League Soccer. The three of us were absolutely hard-core crazy over football with Nick a die-hard Liverpool Scouscer and Roy a die-hard Aston-Villian then turned ManUtd fan.

Being new to it, I didn't know which team to support. Roy and Nick picked Arsenal for me and voila! I am a Junior Gunner. So there I was starting to learn arm-chair football from the basics. I started by getting to know their players like Pat Jennings, Kenny Samson, Alan Sunderland, David O'Leary and Frank Stapleton, just to name a few.

Yes. Frank Stapleton of The Republic Of Ireland whom later became my boyhood hero. A striker who later on kena traded to Manchester United in 1981 for a then princely sum of £900,000. And so 1981 was the official year I became a ManUtd fan as I crossed over together with Frank Stapleton. What I liked about Frank is his humbleness and work-horse ethics. He may be the top scorer for the first 3 seasons that he was at Old Trafford but he always remained in the shadows of the more flamboyant team mates like Steve Coppell and Bryan Robson. Here is one guy who just keep his head down, pump in the goals and get the job done. Also, this is one guy who die die must tuck out his shirt when on the pitch, which I thought, was way cool. *silly*

Frank Stapleton left for Ajax Amsterdam in 1987 but I stayed on to cheer for ManUtd, although I do keep a look out for him in the papers from time to time.

All these years, Liverpool was the club to support as they were winning the league title year after year. Roy and my only consolation among the jibes from the Liverpool fan i.e. Nick was that we would win the FA Cup and then beat Liverpool in the Charity Shield.

The 1990s were the decade where the tables were turned as ManUtd improved from strength to strenght while Liverpool started their decline into oblivion. Perhaps 1999 was the peak of the ManUtd dynasty when we swept the Treble of EPL, FA Cup and ECL.

This is where it started to get to me. Suddenly EVERYBODY is a ManUtd fan. Damn, where were they when we sucked? Where were they when Cantona was banned for a year for the Flying Kung Fu Kick on the taunting fan? Where were they when we finished yet another season empty handed?

Well, to these fans, I say good riddance and I hope never to see you guys again. Go forth and prosper in Liverpool or Chelsea. Please.

As much as I say it like a true-blue purist, I too, have my crisis of faith. Not so much if the team is performing badly but disheartened at the fact that the over-paid players are all playing without any pride. No more belly of fire. Seeing them on the field playing with such a nonchalant attitude really riles me. Commercialism is a cancer and it has spread throughout the whole club. Will it go down the sewers with the acquisition by the Glazers or will the Americans turn the club around remained to be seen.

The local community are probably a step ahead, abandoning the club whom they deemed, has lost it soul. In its place they restarted a new football club from scratch and named it FC United of Manchester. Currently playing (and if I may proudly add, leading) in the Division 2 of the Moore & Co. Construction Solicitors League, some 12 (or was it 9?) divisions below the English Premier League.

I too, feel that ManUtd has lost touch with what is really important i.e. Play Football.

Truthfully, I am also contemplating shifting my support to FCUM and watch them grow from the ground up. It may take more than a decade for FCUM to rise to the English Premier League and even longer to achieve European honours, if at all. Still, as long as the club remained true to football, it would be worth waiting for.

Image Credit:

- Voxeros

1. zeenie left...
Thursday, 10 November 2005 9:10 am
While I am a Liverpool supporter, i still prefer my soccer live, up close and personal, ie play soccer myself. Good reason to exercise? =)

2. mihuatang left...
Thursday, 10 November 2005 10:55 am
called it soccer or football or whatever, i did not watch any of it. dunno how the game is played. i am a soccer-idiot.

3. Lynne left...
Thursday, 10 November 2005 9:38 pm
I used to be a Liverpool fan!

4. Sheena left...
Thursday, 10 November 2005 10:08 pm
Hey was this inspired by my latest post? =D

5. Zhe Bin left...
Friday, 11 November 2005 1:51 am
I was a Liverpool fan too. When I was 10? Haha. Then when I turned 11, which was in 1996, I became a Man Utd fan. I liked Giggs a lot a lot. Sadly, he's not as fast as he was, and rightfully so. But he's still got the dribbling skills. Not always full of tricks but, reliant dribbling skills. I like! Most importantly, he's not a dirty player.

For the whole of last year, my friend who has now gone to support Liverpool (he was a Red Devil's fan), kept pestering me to follow. I didn't cos I'm still proud of Man Utd. Maybe because over the era when we were Champs peope kept talking shit and giving flak about Man Utd and us fans, and I've never given in. So why should I now.

Just like Swiss SJ, every dynasty has its decline.

6. Sheena left...
Friday, 11 November 2005 2:25 am
Zhe Bin: Hear, hear! That's a marvelous attitude. I've never given up on Man U, and I never will, no matter what sort of shit I have to take!

7. JayWalk left...
Friday, 11 November 2005 8:47 am ::
zeenie: Alas you are saying this coz you are young. Just wait till you get to my age. Just you wait. Grrr.......

mihuatang: I guess you have to play (or played) the game to actually appreciate it more. Just like watching golf on the telly.

Lynne: Ah yes, you have moved from football to American football. My cousins all support USC coz they were all from there. Go Trojans!

Sheena: Nope. Have been wanting to write this piece as early as pre-season when Glazer took over ManU.

Zhe Bin: I hear you about the decline of the dynasty thing. Just like the decline of the ACS SJ dynasty before Swiss SJ came up.

8. zeenie left...
Friday, 11 November 2005 9:59 am
well, the group i play with, the average age is 30, so no aspirations to run like Ryan Giggs or anything like that. =)

9. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 12 November 2005 8:39 am :: 
zeenie: My gawd, you have a bunch of super fit 30-somethings there. Oh dear. This is making me look bad... :(

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