Five years ago, a group of Manchester City supporters taunted their cross-city rivals by unfurling a poster on Deansgate (a main road in the Manchester city center) that depicted Carlos Tevez celebrating with the words “Welcome to Manchester” written underneath him.
The sign was an obvious jab at Manchester United fans because Tevez had opted to leave Old Trafford to make a big-money switch to the Etihad. It was also seen as a swipe at the fact that United are based in Trafford rather than Manchester, which City is.
Now, a new billboard emblazoned with ‘Welcome to Vanchester’ has been put up in city centre greeting United’s new manager Louis van Gaal.
The poster is being displayed at the corner of Lever Street and Piccadilly, and at this time it isn’t clear whether or not the billboard is affiliated with Manchester United.
The original ‘Welcome to Manchester’ sign was parodied by United fans in the days and weeks following its introduction. The banter between the rival supporters really picked up after Tevez and former-Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini had their “disagreement” in Germany.
The Manchester United Supporters Trust (M.U.S.T.) created a digital reproduction of the original poster with the slogan: ‘Welcome to Carlos, Manchester’ after the Argentina international was suspended and fined following his refusal to come on as a substitute during a Champions League match against Bayern Munich in September 2011. That image instantly went viral.
There is little doubt that this newest billboard will spark off another round of banter between rival supporters in Manchester.