Thoughts of a Manchester United season ticket holder
Monday, 7 September 2009
Club Versus Country - The True English Disease
dis·ease (d-zz) n. 1. A pathological condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism resulting from various causes, such as infection, genetic defect, or environmental stress, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs or symptoms. 2. A condition or tendency, as of society, regarded as abnormal and harmful. 3. Obsolete Lack of ease; trouble.
I would love England to win the World Cup as much as the next man. To see Rooney dance around a South African pitch with that little golden trophy would be a delight. The feel good factor in England would be immeasurable and we would party like its 1999 (as Prince once sang about)
Us Manchester United fans have been accused of many things in the past. Arrogance correctly being one of those. The one you hear most is how we do not care about the England team (as we used to sing about Ronaldo "making England look shite!"). And in part, this is also true. The river runs deep when it comes to cheering on players that almost every day of the week you wouldn't throw your bottle of Evian on if they were on fire across the street.
That may sound harsh, but it is a huge part of what is the "real" English disease.
And that disease is named 'Apathy'
When England play i always want them to win. But i do not have the same gusto in the lead up to the game as i do with United. There is no silly superstitions. No having to sit in a certain place, wear a certain shirt and pants combo. No nerves. No expectations. As we know England have let us all down on far too many occasions to list here, but the important thing is that those defeats are not the reason for this apathy [towards the national side]
I live my life, like many others, wanting to see the failure of Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, et al.(Its called competitiveness!) So therefore I have zero love for Gerrard, Lampard, Terry, and erm...cant think of an Arsenal Englishman...oh! Walcott! Therefore it is difficult to cheer them on even for the National Team. Yes i want them to score. I have been known to say "Great goal Stevie G" or the like, and clapped my hands like an enthusiastic seal (The animal, not the Kiss From a Rose singer)
As i said, i want England to do well.
The problem is passion. For both fans and the players.
It irks me so, when i see players like Steven Gerrard play so casually for England. Why does he not reproduce his Liverpool superhero form for the country? It is probably because he is human, and like the supporters like me..also alleged humans, it is just so hard to get 100% enthused by the English side.
Another symptom of the disease is the way people bemoan the national side. It is painful. If England were an animal, the RSPCA would be brought in due to reasons of cruelty. If the national team were to win the World Cup, Nobel Peace Prize and Grand National all in one year, all people would want to talk about (in this country) would be Becks' new tattoo or about some WAG's new hairstyle. This is another part of the disease. Winning just isn't enough for the English..we love a good ol'soap opera..the ups and the many downs. It is "Eastenders Culture"... If it doesn't taste bad, we get suspicious. If there isn't a villain, its just not pantomime enough for us.
In part i blame the FA and Premier League football for this apathy. The focus in this country is all about club football. We play too many club games. If we had a 32 game season we could actually have time for the England side. The players could have more time together..the same as other national sides do (See South America for examples) We do not nurture and encourage this togetherness. For as we know, any sort of nationalism is frowned upon in today's society, as idiots think it fosters racism or the like. But money is king. So we will continue to play a billion league and cup games a season, and that is where all the excitement will lay.
And being brutally honest i do not mind! I have part of that disease..
I support United. I have never "loved" another team. I liked the way Juve played back in my youth, and also had a fascination with Martin Vasquez of Real Madrid when i was 12, but it was always just one team for me. I had no leanings towards Crystal Palace when i lived in the area, just as i have no love for Lincoln, where i live now. I travel from where ever i am in the country back to my Old Trafford Mecca, come hell or high waters. It is the only football that really matters to me (tho i would watch River Vs Boca, or Barca Vs Madrid, or Torquay Vs Exeter, happily if it were on the telly)
Manchester United fan since the age of 9 when he saw Norman Whiteside curl the ball into a Wembley goal in the dying minutes.
He is an Old Trafford season ticket holder in the North Stand Tier 3...and cried tears of joy, on his knees with the many in Moscow.
Rob is a contributing author/editor at Man Utd blogzine 'The Faithful'