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If Only Home Supporters Could Behave Like Away Fans

manchester united fans If Only Home Supporters Could Behave Like Away Fans

One of the most impressive sights from this past weekend’s match between Man United and Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park wasn’t just the grit and determination shown by United, who seemed hellbent on pushing for all three points right up until the final whistle. Instead, it was seeing the impressive support from the Manchester United away fans standing at the Darwen End, twirling their scarves above their heads and creating a wonderful atmosphere.

Man United fans aren’t renowned for being boisterous. In the past, Sir Alex Ferguson compared the atmosphere at a recent home match to a funeral. Seven years ago, former United player Roy Keane criticized the supporters in corporate seats for being more interested in the prawn sandwiches than the football. Plus, on my recent trip to Old Trafford, I was surprised too at how quiet the crowd was.

The problem isn’t confined to just Old Trafford. In fact, the issue of quiet home crowds is prevalent throughout the Premier League. From watching matches on TV, home fans — for the most part — act like they’re watching the matches at home on TV, glued to their seats and eyes glazed over.

Unfortunately the Premier League and individual clubs aren’t too concerned about ensuring the atmosphere at grounds remains electric. Clubs could start by increasing the allotment of away tickets to generate more noise at stadiums. But clubs won’t allow this because it’ll reduce the number of season tickets it can sell.

What’s ironic is that many new followers of the Premier League remark how vibrant and jubilant crowds at English football games seem. Compared to many traditional North American spectator sports, it’s not surprising. But when contrasted against the unbelievable sights of what happens in stadiums elsewhere around the globe (such as in Argentina), the crowds at English grounds seem dispassionate. Except, of course, for the away fans.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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