Transition periods are a part of everything: life, relationships, work, etc. Sometimes they can go smoothly, but more often than not they can be tricky. Anyone who has been through a difficult transition period will tell you the best way to navigate through it is to be patient, let go of the past, deal with the present, and move forward.
Sports are not immune to transition periods. Players and managers may struggle during these times but they ultimately have control over their fate; the same can’t be said for sports fans. Ultimately, fans can only stand on the outside and observe things as they unfold. They can’t control player performances or the decisions of the front office and manager. That’s just the hard facts of being a sports fan.
But fans do have control over their emotions and can be a positive influence on their team. They can be constructively critical during bad times while also being supportive. Instead of being another negative influence when their team isn’t performing, fans can provide a lift to a team during difficult times.
At this time, do Manchester United supporters have a right to be angry or frustrated? The answer is “yes”. They are witnessing their club’s fall from greatness. Struggling is something which some United fans haven’t had to endure over their lifetimes. They have grown up accustomed to seeing United finish in the top four and competing in the league until the dying days of May.
But there are other supporters who have been through the bad times. Fans who experienced the crushing heartache of the 1958 Munich air disaster and the tragic loss of the Busby Babes. They were with United as Sir Matt Busby rebuilt the squad to win the FA Cup (1963), the English First Division (1965 and 1967), and eventually the European Cup (1968).
These older supporters have seen United relegated (1974) and had to stand by while Liverpool ran riot over the English First Division and Europe through the 70’s and 80’s. They supported the club during a 26-YEAR PERIOD when United failed to win a league title. Their patience and loyalty was ultimately rewarded during the 1992-93 season when Manchester United won the Premier League title; a feat they would repeat twelve more times.
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Those words were spoken by Nelson Mandela, the late political activist and former President of South Africa in reference to his battle against apartheid but they have been a source of inspiration for many people during different times in their life.