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Manchester United Supporters Will Lift Their Club To One More Night Of European Glory

StretfordEnd 600x415 Manchester United Supporters Will Lift Their Club To One More Night Of European Glory

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Manchester United is staring at what could be its last Champions League home match for some time when it faces Olympiakos in the second leg of their European tie. United is facing a 2-0 deficit against the Greek champions and would need to score three times without conceding if they hope to advance to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Of course, the club is not mathematically eliminated from finishing in the top four (or five) in the Premier League, a position that would secure European football for next season. But the Red Devils are being handed their coats and told that the bar is closing. In other words, it’s only a matter of time.

In a season of record breaking lows on the pitch, Manchester United’s traveling supporters (The Red Army) have proven time and time again to be an unwavering source of inspiration for the club. Despite the sputtering performances of United’s players and their manager’s inability to galvanize the team or engineer winning tactics on any kind of consistent basis, Manchester United supporters have continued to fill every seat allotted to them at away fixtures. They have barely warmed those seats while continually standing and singing encouragement to their faltering idols.

The response of these fans shows in the club’s results. Manchester United actually has more wins on the road this season than they do at home.

That steadfast loyalty has been on display at Old Trafford, largely in the form of the Stretford End supporters. But the entirety of the Theatre of Dreams has occasionally fallen flat during several home contests this season. While United’s most passionate supporters have remained resolute and focused on lifting up the players and their manager, large sections of the adjacent stands have stuck to groaning and criticizing the club or just leaving the stadium before the match has ended.

But Sunday’s match against Liverpool was a turning point for United’s home support this season. With their club trailing Liverpool 2-0 and the away supporters looking to revel in their team’s triumph, United supporters burst into song and subsequently drowned out any attempt by their rival supporters to rub more salt in the wound… even as Luis Suarez tucked Liverpool’s third goal past David De Gea.

For the final 20 minutes of the match, 70,000 Manchester United supporters took the opportunity to remind their North West rivals (in unison) how many English top flight titles their club has in its trophy case.

“Twenty times, twenty times, Man United! Twenty times, twenty times, I say! Twenty times, twenty times, Man United! Playing football the Busby Way!”

Of course the song refers to Manchester United twenty league titles and was a reminder to rival fans that Liverpool may have won the battles this season, but the Anfield club still trailed United’s trophy haul while being stuck on eighteen league titles (their last was in 1990).

The chant was repeated continuously until the final whistle blew and the passion behind the words never dropped off in intensity. Any viewer just turning on the match would have assumed that United were the team leading the match. That’s how amplified and unified the masses were at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The noise at Old Trafford on Sunday didn’t go unnoticed by the players.

Juan Mata took to his blog to voice his appreciation for the fans and his disappoint in letting them down:

“There are no words to describe your support in the stadium. In games like yesterday it makes me mad not being able to give you what you deserve. I know there is nothing I can say right now, but at least I want you to know how I feel.”

Wayne Rooney took to his Facebook page to add:

“Yesterday was one of the worst days I’ve had in football and was hard to take. Having said that the fans were brilliant right until the end under difficult circumstances so I would like to thank them for that. We need to move on as we have a big game on Wednesday. If the fans can repeat an atmosphere like Sunday, then we will have a good chance of going through. Thanks again for all your support.”

There are moments when an individual’s efforts or a manager’s decision can propel a club to victory. But there are also times when fans, as a collective unit, can lift a team’s performance and push them to new heights. Even with players performing at their worst, resolute support from the fans can bring something out of players that an athlete didn’t even know was inside of them.

Wednesday evening will be one of these times.

Manchester United supporters will cause Old Trafford to shake its foundation, while making every effort to raise the performance level of the players and their manager. Should Manchester United end up being knocked out of the competition, it will be by no fault of their supporters. Those fans have been the only constant in United’s year of transition.

During a season which has been filled with inconsistencies on and off the pitch, the one thing that has remained steadfast at Manchester United has been the loyalty of its supporters.

Those fans will ensure that Wednesday will be another magical European night at the Theatre of Dreams.

For more Manchester United news, analysis and opinion, visit the Manchester United team page.

About Peter Quinn

Although a college basketball coach for sixteen years on the NCAA Division I and II levels, Peter has been an avid football fan for more than half his life. He considers himself a student of coaching and team management. As well as coaching, Peter has spent time working in Sports Information at various colleges and universities. His articles on European football have been picked up by International Business Times UK and USA Today. Twitter: @CoachPeteQuinn
View all posts by Peter Quinn →

26 Responses to Manchester United Supporters Will Lift Their Club To One More Night Of European Glory

  1. Flyvanescence says:

    Instead of “more” the headline should say “last” ;-)

    • Jack says:

      How many have City had? How’s that 100% losing record in the KO Rounds of the UCL with such a star studded and expensive squad? That’s an even bigger failure than United has been.
      If City were actually a threat and won something useful and trash talked I’d take it on the chin but come on your team hasn’t even won a game in the KO round. You guys acted as if beating Bayern in a nothing game should’ve gotten you a trophy.
      Make these comments when your side has actually WON something of Note and is a real threat in Europe.

  2. Smokey Bacon says:

    I wonder how the Greek version of “you’re getting sacked in the morning” goes. Expect to hear it by the end if tomorrow night.

  3. Mufc77 says:

    Its been a tough season yet as a fan I still expect us to win on Wednesday. You have to take the good with the bad in Football and god knows we have enjoyed enough highs over the last 20+ seasons.

    Let the papers talk about our impending doom but any fan will tell you one bad season in 20+ years isn’t the end of Man Utd just like one fantastic season for Liverpool doesn’t make them top dogs. Changes will be made in the summer and i have no doubt we will be competitive again next season.

    • Smokey Bacon says:

      Liverpool fans probably said the same thing in 1991 before their long walk in the wilderness.

      Danny Mills on the BBC said it best. Moyes (and to some extent Ferguson) have set them back 10 years.

      • Mufc77 says:

        You can’t compare football in 1991 to today’s game. The game has changed even in the last 10 years. Having money and being able to spend your way out of trouble by bringing better quality players makes one hell of a difference. If you go 3-4 years having seasons like the current one then yes it’s a slippery slope but one year out of the champions league and the top 4 doesn’t signal the end for Utd no matter how much fans of other teams want it.

        • Eddie says:

          You are assuming the Glazers will be able to, or willing to, spend absent CL money. You’re right, this isn’t 1991. It’s even more difficult now. The top players have an increasing number of clubs with sugar daddies and CL on offer from which to choose.

          • Mufc77 says:

            Man utd rely less on CL money than any other English club. The clubs income is split almost evenly between TV income, match day income and merchandising. Unlike other clubs when you take away the TV money it doesn’t have such a massive impact on the bottom line. Also remember the financial results of this season won’t be felt at all going into next season its the end of the 2015 season any lost income will be felt having not played in the CL in the 2014/15 season.

            The good thing about the Glazers is they are only interested in money and they are smart enough to know if they want the value of the club to increase they need to be successful on the pitch which means spending money.

  4. Rob says:

    Yes what great fans, most of their songs were about Liverpool fans dying at Hillsborough.

    • jtm371 says:

      and liverpool fans sing about Man UTD Munich disaster so a pox on both your sides.

    • Taylor says:

      There will always be stupid fans. As a United fan, I hate to hear United fans singing about Hillsborough. I hate other fans singing about Munich.

      It’s just plain despicable.

      • jtm371 says:

        I agree 100% so one side pointing at the other is just hypocritical.Because any pool fan knows what they sing as any UTD fan knows what they sing.

  5. Dean Stell says:

    I can’t believe it but I want United to lose this game. I want them to lose away to West Ham and then I want them to lose the Derby. That should finish off Moyes…..and then we can get back to normal life.

    I know that the side has holes in it, but even as crappily as the players have played, they are still niffing around those last European sides. Add in a manager who the players are just neutral about and they probably are sniffing around fourth place.

  6. IanCransonsKnees says:

    They’ll have to resort to celebrate finishing 4th rather than winning trophies.

    It seems to work for Arsenal.

  7. Eddie says:

    That’s funny, Peter, I could hear the Liverpool supporters loud and clear on my TV.

  8. Auslander says:

    Sixth place also secures European football. Probably better off finishing seventh and avoid the distraction.

  9. Frill Artist says:

    This author is so delusional.

  10. goatslookshifty says:

    Three more losses this season and Moyes will be out. He’s out of his league with the big name managers and I think the board won’t risk the history of success Utd have had all these years just for the sake of Ferguson’s bad choice of successor. With the door being wide open for the old guard players to leave, it might be a good idea for the manager to leave too.

  11. jtm371 says:

    If MUFC can not do any better then they did on Sunday, how delusional are you if you think they can turn a 2 goal difference around.

    • Mufc77 says:

      I must be extremely delusional because I know they can do it but whether they will or not is a different question. Its not like they’re playing Barcalona or Real Madrid where in current for it would be impossible.

      Looking a the first leg Utd played the worst game in Europe I’ve seen since the early 90s when we played Gothenburg at old trafford. We literally couldn’t have played any worse in that first leg and we got what we deserved. There is no way the performance on Wednesday can be as bad because 75000 fans wont stand for such a gutless effort again. These players are more than good enough to overturn a 0-2 deficit at home if they play to their potential but that’s been the problem all season they are a team of individuals right now with no ideas and a clueless manager.

      • jtm371 says:

        I guess my point was if they can’t get up to knock off Pool why would they get up to beat OLY.

        I don’t think your delusional your more a fan then a fanatic.

  12. Jay says:

    In 5 years we will be back on our purch.

  13. Martin J. says:

    Olympiakos are a very average team and if United cannot beat them tonight and progress then one would have to ask questions about both Moyes and the players.

    Tonight we will see if Moyes has lost the dressing room or not. If United don’t put in a good performance then I think it will signal that the players are not on board with the manager and it could be the end of Moyes.

    • Frill Artist says:

      We lost to West Brom…AT HOME. If that doesn’t tell you all you need to know, I don’t know what will.

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