An appeal to lunacy*

13 04 2011
* A Polite Warning – this post is full of bile and poorly hidden prejudice

  

Yesterday morning the Daily Post, a newspaper with strong roots on Merseyside, made an appeal towards north Wales’ Manchester United fans. They, and the Welsh book publisher Quick Reads, want to hear from north Wales’ number one Manchester United fan, and they want them to communicate in THE contemporary style as well;

“…….please RT (Retweet) Competition in today’s @dailypostwales to find North Wales’ biggest Man U fan. Prize inc Old Trafford tour passes”

I see a few problems with the idea of proclaiming yourself to be north Wales biggest United fan.

Firstly, I can’t conceptualise how a north Walian United fan would start to think of themselves being north Wales’ number one United fan. I mean how exactly do you think that you’re above other fans?

“Well I’ve been to 10 games this year and you went to seven”

     – “ Well I was more upset about losing to City than you were”

“But when we were in Junior 2 you supported Aston Villa, then you changed when United got to the Cup Final”

    – “Yeah, well I’ve got more programmes than you”

 

Secondly, quite a few of my Manchester United supporting friends on Facebook describe their religious beliefs as “Manchester United”. But as a lot of them are believers how can one be better than all the others? How can there be a “Number One Religious Believer”?  

Wait a minute how can the hell can football fans ascribe religious qualities to a multi-million pound generating football behemoth anyway? There’s no redemption, there’s no offer of a place in heaven. If United is a religion then Sir Alex Ferguson must be some kind of Saint within its belief system. If this is the case Manchester United must be a very vengeful, “Old Testament”, sort of religion. Do these people actually want a religion like that? The fact I’m talking about people I actually know, and actually like, in this context is a little upsetting.

The problem is that if the common-or-garden fans display support of religious fervour for United how is the “Number One Manchester  United Fan in North Wales” going look different enough to be judged “Number One”? Will a supporter have to sacrifice his sister to the Holy Trinty of Law, Best and Charlton to prove how great a fan he is?

Thirdly, how can the United fans possibly cram their thoughts, their essence, their being, their raison d’etre, into 140 characters (the amount permitted for one message on twitter). But let’s not allow that to stop us imagining what the bovine pub bores could say;

“I’m da gretest Utd Fan coz I 8 da Scousers coz de r scum, I sold my cat 4 da nu shirt. lol”

It’s certainly not easy to encapsulate your raison d’etre into only 140 characters . I apologise if that example doesn’t come up to muster but it’s not easy to channel the spirit of the spiritually braindead..

If they wanted I could save the Daily Post and Quick Reads a lot of research. The opinions of the fans will be in two parts, one part will be a rehash of what everybody else says about United’s glamorous history and glory. The second part will be about how much they hate Liverpool. If there is a defining characteristic of north Walian United fans it is an abhorrence of “The Scousers”, even though they live hours away from either city and probably like the Beatles. The trouble for the United fans is getting both of these ideas into 140 characters, the skill to do this well will determine the likely candidates for the title of “Number One Manchester  United Fan in North Wales”.

Anyway back to north Wales’ finest fans. If their prejudices weren’t bad enough most,  they are absolutely certain they are right about football. (but to be fair to the north Walian Utd fans this is an accusation you can throw at most premier league fans in north Wales) There’s an image from my past that illustrates……

……….It was the day of the 1990 world cup final and I was playing for Llandudno U14s in a football tournament on Llandudno’s Oval. During that world cup three of us had picked teams. I had chosen West Germany, Paul had picked Argentina, Mark had plumped for Holland. Therefore I was attuned to any mention of German things.

As it is with these day-long tournaments, most of the day is spent waiting for a match. It was during one of those gaps that I happened to be standing next to a fat bloke, I guessed he was the manager of another team. The fat get didn’t hold back with his opinion; “Well Argentina will just soak up all the German pressure, Germany won’t win, I know this” To my young ears this was the inconvenient truth and my indignation was pricked, all I could think was; “Shut up, you fat get. Matthaus and Klinsmann will show you!” The “fat get” was wearing a Manchester United polo shirt.

This moment was the trigger for several behaviours; Firstly I haven’t been able to truly believe people’s opinions about football – West Germany won quite easily in that final. Secondly I started to link talking bollocks with being a Manchester United fan. My experiences with United fans reinforced my viewpoint. Eventually this eventually manifested in a Pavlovian response; moving rapidly whenever a tosser started “going on”. Unfortunately this conditioning has led to some embarrassing scenes!!!. As far as I could tell all United fans were like that obese loudmouth from my youth; displaying an unshakeable belief in the self-evident truth of their opinions.

Now that I’m a well-adjusted adult I can see that talking bollocks afflicts a lot of north Walian” football fans”, no matter the shade of polyester they wear to the pub. Incidentally here’s a joke, how do you know when people in a north Wales pub are discussing football? You hear the words “Yeah But….” get gradually louder and louder and louder.

It’s odd but I’ve noticed that the only happy-go-lucky United fans in Llandudno are the ones that have moved from Manchester. You can actually have a chat about football with them and it’s like you’re conversing with a fellow adult. Maybe it’s because they feel they have nothing to prove. The north Walian fans seem to be on the defensive all the time, as if they have to prove how great a fan they are all the time or God will take their power to brag away.

The most  interesting question in all of this is not “Why are you north Wales’ biggest Manchester United fan?” it’s “Why is north Wales biggest newspaper helping Manchester United fans justify the fact they are metaphorically shitting on north Walian football?”

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