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Fans need to learn to separate sports from real life

by Matthew Ohayon February 11, 2020
Fans need to learn to separate sports from real life

Soccer supporters are known for many things, but above all, being absolutely insane about their respective favourite clubs.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United at the end of the 2013 Premier League season, it hasn’t been easy being a fan. The club is throwing money at transfers that, for the most part, haven’t worked out. They have had four different managers and haven’t placed better than second (19 points behind Manchester City in 2018) in the Premier League since Ferguson’s retirement.

Manchester City has since won three league titles, Liverpool has won the UEFA Champions League and are currently on the verge of winning the Premier League for the first time in over 30 years in historically good fashion.

To put this in perspective for non-football sports fans, imagine two of your favourite team’s greatest rivals playing at the top of their league, year after year, while yours struggles to make any impact.

It’s not fun.

Manchester United supporters have stuck by the club through it all. However, the fans protest against the team’s owners, the Glazer family, at matches by wearing green and gold scarves.

The symbol of protest against the Glazers became the green and yellow scarf, the club’s colours when United were initially formed Newton Heath back in 1878.

They’ve called for the Glazer’s to sell the team and fire Ed Woodward, the chief executive overseeing the club’s operations, or in other words, the man responsible for the current state of the club.

On Jan. 28, some fans took things way too far. Some 20-odd fans attacked Woodward’s home with flares. Thankfully, neither Woodward nor any members of his family were home at the time.

As a fan, I too am incredibly frustrated with the club’s executives who have been borderline incompetent over the past seven seasons, but there needs to be a line. Fans of any team, under any circumstances, should not be tracking down a player, coach, executive and hell, even the waterboy’s house. In response to the attack, the club put out a statement condemning the attack.

“Manchester United Football Club have tonight been made aware of the incident outside the home of one of our employees. Anybody found guilty of a criminal offence, or found to be trespassing on this property, will be banned for life by the club and may face prosecution. Fans expressing opinion is one thing, criminal damage and intent to endanger life is another. There is simply no excuse for this.”

The last part is bang on.

“There is simply no excuse for this.”

If it hasn’t been made clear yet, I love sports to my core. They are a part of who I am, as is Manchester United.

When the news broke out about what had happened to the Woodward home, I was not only ashamed of being a United fan—but a sports fan as a whole. I thought to myself there’s no way Montreal Canadiens fans would do anything like this. Impossible.

Well, not so much. It hasn’t happened in recent years, mostly because they haven’t had much playoff success, but Canadiens fans aren’t exactly the most gracious of winners either. Who can forget the riots after their series wins against Washington and Pittsburgh in 2010? What about the riot downtown after beating the Bruins in the 2008 playoffs?

Fans who took part in either events mentioned would argue that they are just showing their passion. Well, passion is one thing, hooliganism is another.

Nobody wants to be associated with the latter—it is shameful behaviour that makes the club/team bad, and more importantly the individuals. It says a lot more about you, who was a part of the chaos, rather than “the team who made you do it.”

There are many ways to deal with frustration caused by clubs. Maybe time for a new hobby?


Graphic by @sundaeghost

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