Are You A Supporter Or A Fan?

By on February 8, 2011

manchester united news

After Manchester United’s first loss in 30 Barclays Premier League matches, some of their fans, not supporters, let loose with some verbal garbage. It was not a very convincing performance from the Reds by any stretch of the imagination, and losing is never anything anyone should take easily, however, for the way some of the fans that were questioning the intentions and qualifications of United was down right despicable.

The shocking statements that were being spewed out brings up a much-needed debate about the difference between being a supporter or a fan of a club, and the latter or two showed their true colors after United’s disappointing loss. The disparaging remarks, which ranged from either calling the club a “f*****g disgrace,” or to challenging Sir Alex Ferguson, who is the successful manager in English football, were a real eye-opener since they all claimed they are devoted supporters.

It is very apparent that this disillusioned portion alleged supporters have never been given the lesson on what what it means to actually support a football club, especially one of the magnitude of Manchester United. So what is the real difference between a supporter and a fan?football news

The major difference between the two, which is often mistaken as the same thing, is how much a person actually concerns themselves about learning the legacies, rivalries, the traditions and, most importantly, history of that particular club. People will refute this by saying that it is just the difference terminology, and, to be honest, that is just it, but it is learning the appropriate ways, or words, to describe the club you support.

Words that are often used to describe a supporter are: passionate, dedicate and loyal, and, most importantly, embodying everything that the club is all about. Supporting a club not only demands unconditional love, but it requires that person to also honor and respect traditions, which is something a lot of fans these days do not take into consideration.

Fans, which is short for fanatics, is simply someone who casually watches a match, but does not have the club’s best interest at heart – no matter the result. There is no questioning the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson has upheld level of standards of excellence at United, but if the club falters a portion of the fan-base start ridiculing either the players or the manager.

While it is okay to critique or call out a certain player for not performing to their ability, these fans, if they were supporters, would have already learned that they must take the good with bad. Everyone should know that success cannot be fully enjoyed, or appreciated for that matter, unless the supporter has experienced tough times, and, to be honest, most modern-day United supporters have never seen the club suffer for more than a period of two years.

Unequal

Manchester United is one of the world’s best-supported clubs with approximately 333 million fans worldwide, but not all of them embody the club for what it was, is and will be. If a United supporter from Manchester, or in England, decides to move abroad, he never loses his allegiance for the club he supports, and there is living proof of that with some Reds throughout America.

However, a lot of these new-aged fans do not realize that football is not like any other sport, because no matter whom you support, it should become more like a religion than anything else. As people will witness following conclusion of Super Bowl XLV, fans will jump on the Green Bay Packer bandwagon just because they are the new, hottest franchise.

However, one thing that Manchester United should never be called is a franchise, because the Red Devils are a football club, or as Sir Alex referred to it as the other day, “a family.”

Flavor

Yes, football is only becoming more and popular in the United States, because of media outlets such as Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN, which is England’s version of Sky Sports, showing more and more games every weekend. With the recent media indulgence into showing the Premier League on this side of the Atlantic, Americans are now afforded the chance to pick and choose which English football team that would like follow, which is another thing that they cannot comprehend, either.

As a supporter, you do not pick your club – the club picks you. To be fair, it is much harder for people to support a club like Wigan Athletic or Wolverhampton Wanderers, because they are not on the television week in and week out, so they tend to choose Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool.

When Manchester United toured America this passed summer, some of the people who attended the matches should be considered supporters based on the fact that their either had memorabilia of a rival team, or referred to the club as “Man U.”

It must have been very hard when Gary Neville, who just brought to an end his dignified 19-year playing career with United, came over a few years back, and had people with Arsenal or Liverpool shirts wanting to get his autograph. A lot of these new fans have been attracted to the club because of the popular players like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney, but they tend to leave when that certain play leaves.

While it is good to have highly-marketable players at your club, you would rather see supporters supporting a player that stands for what Manchester United was built on: determination, hard work, tradition and honesty. Another glaring difference between the two is that a supporter values the color of the shirt and crest on the front of it, while a fan values name on the back more.

“I Pledge Allegiance To The Crest Of Manchester United Football Club, And To The Colors For Which It Stands: One Supporter Under Sir Alex Ferguson, United With Pride And Success For All.” – The United Religion, 2007

In closing, ask yourself this question: If Manchester United was to be relegated to the third tier of English football, would you still honor, value and uphold the history and traditions the club has stood for over the last 133 years?

Submitted by The United Religion

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13 Comments

  1. Kevin

    February 8, 2011 at 9:40 am

    this is a brilliant article. Especially for me, as a swiss lad, not been growing up in england or even manchester, it is always hard to be put in the same corner like *glory hunters*! for god sake, sometimes I even wish UTD to get relegated, so I could actually proof my commitment to my beloved club. I hate to be called a glory hunter!just because I travel to OT once or twice a year and to european away games, I don’t run into every Man Utd Shop or buy everything with a crest on it! I have mates in Manchester who are real supporters (RedArmy) I love Man Utd from the bottom of my heart, its in my blood! I feel sick when we lose. I scream, sing and shout when we score and win a game. I love the colors, the spirit, the history! so I call my self with pride a REAL Man. UTD supporter. FOREVER!

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  3. The Man

    February 8, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I consider my self a United supporter because that’s the only team ive ever known, first team that was introduced to me as a youngster, i must have been 6-7..Manchester United makes up 65% of my life, this is what I look forward to every weekend, we win we draw we lose, United through and through, The Emblem is tattooed on every United supporters heart..Glory United

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  5. Lostagent

    February 8, 2011 at 11:48 am

    People judge supporters from other nations as being Glory Hunters. For some it may be true, but for most of us we follow our clubs religiously. Unlike people living in the UK where the games are on at convenient times, for us its not..it airs at 3, 4, 5, 6 in the morning. Still theres never a game I miss..we scream, throw things, get into arguments, sing and go crazy with joy when we score in the dying moments to win it(which for UTD is quite often). And after every loss the next day its like I am a ticking time bomb going off at lil things. No, I have never been to OT or any European match but that doesn’t make me any less of a supporter. A lot of big names have left OT..Ruud, Beckham, Ronaldo..I loved them at the club but never loved anyone more then the club. I have friends who support team like Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle, Liverpool, Blackburn..they still follow there clubs through it all, the lows the highs and everything in between.

    I will be a Red Devil till the day I die!

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  7. DAVE

    February 8, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I SUPPRT MY HOME TEAM WHICH IS DONCASTER ROVERS I COULD NEVER SUPPORT AY OTHER TEAM ITS NOT NORMAL.

  8. carl

    February 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    I support my local team wigan athletic and have done since we where in division 3 when i was about 4 or 5 and will continue to support them till the day i die whatever league we play in i see a few glory fans jumping on the wigan bandwagon but i dont mind because as long as there payin money there putting money into a club that doesnt have a massive fanbase or bank balance but what we do have is passion and fire in our bellies thats why im WIGAN TILL I DIE

  9. DKD

    February 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    look man I support Arsenal and I know what you are talking about.. If you ask anybody who do you support the guy will say Manutd. Then ask him name 5 players who currently play for the club. One guy tells me Ruud VN…are u ******* kidding me ?

  10. Soccerwidow's Bloke

    February 8, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Yes, a true supporter can change his woman/man but can never change his/her team! I began supporting Man Utd in 1977, a glory year for them because the FA Cup Final was the only domestic match one could watch live all season and for some time afterwards too. My mother had been a fan in the 1950’s and told me of the day after the Munich air crash and how many of the boys and girls were crying on the bus to school that day (in London).
    The heritage of your team is just as important as its day-to-day existence and although I knew nothing about the history of my newly acquired team I was excited, interested and determined to find out and soon discovered the moving stories of people like Roger Byrne, Duncan Edwards, Harry Gregg, et cetera. These people are very much etched on my soul although by rights I should really have no business in their stories.
    Radio was the true outlet back at the start of my allegiance and as a young lad, BBC Radio 2 was a weekend or midweek highlight and conjured up images of the magic that one could only read about in newspapers afterwards, especially European nights. My German/Russian wife is astounded at my extensive geographical knowledge of Europe, which of course came from the excitement of European football nights.
    To some degree the magic of imagination has disappeared but the football is more accessible nowadays, although I doubt if there will ever be a repeat of Cup Final “It’s A Knockout” (Jeux Sans Frontier) shown before the game between the players of Liverpool and Man Utd in ’77! (recorded a couple of days earlier of course).
    Keep the faith and one day you will be rewarded like a King even if it is just a short time on the throne. Football is all about hope and I remember the dark days of coming close to winning competitions or not really featuring in them at all. It’s all part and parcel of following a team and I’m just very lucky to have backed the right horse after years of waiting to see football I only ever saw other teams play!
    Liverpool is the team to chase and admire and that 19th title is all we United supporters live for, but I for one will not be unfurling banners announcing “come back when you’ve won 19”! The secret of a magnanimous supporter is not to get too cocky as pride always comes before a fall and I am sure it will happen to United again one day, but hopefully when I’m long gone!

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  12. izairee

    February 11, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    all this time i’ve supported united, and when ever they loose as devastating as it is, i feel glad, i use as a test to see how much i support the club.

  13. comfort

    September 8, 2011 at 2:57 am

    i am a die hard fan

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