Even Fans of “Crisis Club Leeds” are Laughing at Man U – by Rob Atkinson


Two typical "buzzin', mad for it" Man U fans

Two typical “buzzin’, mad for it” Man U fans

As a Leeds United fan, my sole motivation for watching any Man U game on TV is to see them lose, as heavily as possible.  The enlightenment provided for me by being a fan of the One True United from Elland Road enables me to see things as they are.  Thus I know for certain that Man U – the club, the hype, the glory-hunting “fans” – embody all that is worst about the game of football.  It is right and proper that they should be despised.  I’ve written before about the futility of hating a club because of mere geographical proximity – Newcastle and Sunderland fans waste such a lot of passion in this way.  Hatred should be reserved for those who earn it on merit.  Man U are intrinsically detestable, by any empirical standards – always have been, always will be.  So, although there are other clubs I’m not keen on, I only really hate Man U – and even there the hatred is tempered by the fact that I find them such a kitsch club, so utterly ridiculous.

Some find this rather odd.  With all of the goings-on at Elland Road – our decade of decline, the farcical situation surrounding successive takeovers – my beloved Leeds are, after all, not in much of a position to point the finger and laugh at an undeniably bigger and more successful club – are they?  Well, yes, they are.  WE are.  I’ll explain.

Dr Freud on the psyche of the Man U fan

Dr Freud on the psyche of the Man U fan

The thing about Man U, you see, is that despite the extensive honours list, the huge stadium, the supporters clubs on far-flung planets orbiting distant suns – they are simply a joke of a football club.  They are actually just as funny as they are detestable – especially now, when the evil influence of the Dark One from Govan is fading into the past.  Before, the determination to win at all costs, eschewing the innate class of clubs like Liverpool and Arsenal – this was easy both to hate and laugh at.  The comical desperation to be “biggest and best”, the feverish preoccupation with being Number One – it all smacked dismally of the psychiatrist’s couch and the inner yearnings of tragically inadequate and unfulfilled people.  Herr Doktor Sigmund Freud would have had such a lot to say about this motley collection of hang-ups and insecurities.  But, enough of the fans.

Now, in the post-Ferguson era, the reactions of those on the moral high-ground – i.e. myself and every other football fan who despises Man U – are somewhat different as compared to those Taggart days.  Then, when they let in a goal or slumped to the odd defeat, I and others like me would clench the fist in vicarious triumph, relishing the temporary discomfiture of the media’s champions.  Now, on the other hand, when poor David “Gollum” Moyes’ harrowed and failure-ravaged features grow more haggard with every passing defeat, when his helpless eyes grow ever more prominently buggy in that haunted, hunted face, the skin stretched as tight as his nerves, the lines of worry and insecurity etched ever deeper – it’s not quite as easy to feel triumphant glee.  Now, the reaction tends to be one of amusement, though sometimes tinged with an uncomfortably unfamiliar pity.  It’s stopped being a matter of fierce satisfaction when Man U fail.  It’s simply become funny, in an ever-so-slightly pitiful way.

My own reaction to two recent goals against them has brought this sharply home to me.  When Sunderland scored late on in the Capital One Cup semi at the Theatre of Hollow Myths – I simply collapsed laughing.  There were tears rolling down my face, my sides ached with mirth.  Alright, the nature of the goal was risible, de Gea flapping on his line like some nervous chorus girl – but then the same thing happened when Fulham got their late equaliser the other night.  I just could not stop laughing – it took the appearance of the twitching, suffering Moyes to tone down my riotous good humour into something more approaching sympathy for a man so clearly on the edge.

So what is it about the Pride of Devon that – despite everything they’ve won, and all of the damage they’ve inflicted on their rivals, by fair means and foul – they are still such an object of ridicule and derision?  And let’s not forget, this goes back even over their last couple of decades of success.  Their fans have grown wary even of admitting who they support, fearful of betraying themselves with wurzelly or cockney accents, scared of being laughed at as “glory-hunters” or plastic, armchair types from Devon or Kent.  All those trophies, all that gutter press adulation – and yet so little real pride.  That’s tragic.  But what’s really behind it?

Part of the answer might be the pathological need that the whole shebang still has, despite a current status of also-rans, to promote and parade itself as God’s gift to sport and the last word in hugeness and greatness.  It applies to the club from the very top, this immense self-delusion, right down to those troubled people who are drawn to “support” them.  The most recent example of the lengths they will go to in order to give the outer appearance of confidence and attitude, is pictured below.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is (allegedly) the song sheet for the “Man U Singing Section“.

The Man U "Mutual Reassurance" songsheet

The Man U “Mutual Reassurance” songsheet

As you will see, it is full of earnest advice on how best for their well-drilled singers to comport themselves, with finger-wagging dos and don’ts and even a schedule minute-by-minute of exactly when each distinct song should be sung.  No advice is given as to what should happen if some event on the pitch should threaten to grab fans’ attention; perhaps this is deemed unlikely.  There are stern admonitions about the singing of undesirable, “offensive” songs – don’t do it, chaps, it’s not nice.  The songs and timings cited “must be adhered to”.  Have a look at it.  Some will ask whether it’s genuine – and part of even me hopes that it’s a wind-up.  For football fans to be shackled so, their spontaneous reactions crushed beneath a list of rules and regulations, with a script to rule them?  It’s got to be a sick joke, surely.  But judge for yourselves.  Fake or not, it is funny.  Let’s not kid ourselves either – there’s no smoke without fire.  This sort of thing, if it is a fake, needs a bit of reality to be hung on to; for a club that reckons itself to be the “biggest and best”, with fans to match, even the perceived need for a singing section is rank humiliation.  Do the bulk of the Man U fans really need this sort of sugar-coated reassurance, this spoon-fed “Don’t look at the League Table, guys, we’re still the best”?

At Leeds, the only thing that ever came even close to the ridiculous idea of a singing section was an ill-fated move to introduce a “band” shortly after that laughable notion had flourished into bizarre reality at Sheffield Wendies.  The idea was to get a bit of atmosphere going – which at Leeds was like pouring petrol on a blazing fire.  There may well have been a wistful undertone that the Board wished the Elland Road crowd was as “nice” as those simple Wendy souls at Hillsborough – the rank folly of that!  The Leeds fans wouldn’t have it, of course.  A few peeps were heard, immediately drowned out by a raucous “Stand up if you hate the band”, and the experiment died an early and unlamented death.

Now, if anyone had the sheer brass cojones to try the introduction of an actual singing section at Elland Road, one suspects they would be led firmly away by the throat – for those cojones to be removed with a blunt and rusty knife, braised lightly over a grill and fed to them morsel by morsel as they dangled helpless from the East Stand superstructure.  And quite right too.  There’s just something deeply inadequate and plain wrong about any club which needs such artificial backing – you can understand it happening at the Wendies.  But at Man U?  There used to be some grudging respect there, back in the day, but can any vestige of that survive such a laughable, pitiful initiative as this?

So, yes – Leeds may be a crisis club, we may just have gone through a month which makes a pantomime look like profoundly cerebral entertainment – but we can be tolerably certain that we’d never sink this low.  Whatever else may happen, we’ll still have our spontaneity, our pride.  These things tend to flourish in adversity – and we have plenty of that.  And I do even feel a bit sorry for the genuine Man U fans – there’s a hard core of them out there, somewhere, after all – though it’s much more fun, and better for my health too, that I can now simply laugh at them instead of resenting and hating them.  And of course I still do hate them, just in a different and mercifully less rabid way.  I still keenly want them to lose – but now that this happens with such metronomic frequency, the intensity of the actual hate is diluted to some degree.

And do you know what?  I really don’t miss that intensity.  I actually enjoy my football more now that I’m not feeling all anxious; now that I can usually rely upon them to fail.  And the continuing self-delusion of the whole lot of them – the club, the fans, their media lapdogs – makes it all the more sweetly satisfying every time those blessed defeats happen.

Let’s face it – pity and empathy notwithstanding – it’s still a hell of a lot of fun to laugh at Man U.

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41 responses to “Even Fans of “Crisis Club Leeds” are Laughing at Man U – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Ha Ha, sadist leeds fan. Thank u very much for giving us oh ah cantona

    GGMU

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  2. There’s a Scummer at work who keeps asking why I find it so funny that they are in decline, I can see the pain in his eyes…priceless!! I think the thing that is so funny is the fact teams are winning games at the ‘Theatre of away fans dreams’ in ‘Fergie’ time. Keep your fingers crossed they manage to qualify for the Europa League as they will have to cancel their annual pre-season US money-making jaunt & instead spend Thursday nights travelling to unheard of European outposts! In Moyes we trust

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  3. I thought you were pretty kind……
    The “Chosen One” banners were probably the biggest joke of the season. Every other team gets ‘a new manager’, they get the “Chosen One”, and what a dream manager he has turned out to be :-). Long may it continue…laughed into my curry on Sunday night when that late Fulham goal went it…….even the mighty ‘bottom of league one’ Blades managed to beat Fulham!

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  4. What comes to media lapdogs I usually watch Sunday supplement;whats wrong with scum? Football correspondents using really time to analyze the whole fuzz. but I enjoy that somehow they are trying to advice Moyes and Co. Yes it is a nice way to drink some morning coffee and laugh at those lapdog closet fans of scum.

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  5. Crackin Scouse wigs on the ‘locals’ in the pic above aswell Rob!!

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  6. David Lambert

    Thank you for the post Rob.
    You have, in my opinion, outlined the firm beliefs of all Leeds fans.
    Fantastic read.
    M.O.T.

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  7. Really funny and at the same time insightful article shining a light into the befuddled, deluded and addled mind of a Leeds fan. Pure gold!
    As a United (Manchester that is) fan since the early 60’s who has always lived within spitting distance of OT I have long since sussed the pathological hatred that Leeds fans hold for us. You simply can’t handle rejection.
    Rejection of the notion that we should hate you because you’re a near cross Pennine rival when, but for a few short post-war periods, you’ve been simply an irrelevance as far as the top clubs are concerned. Yes, unlike the scousers and the bitters you don’t have enough about you to be considered worthy of our hatred. We don’t love you either, in fact we’re totally and utterly apathetic to you though the shenanigans of your finances are good for a belly laugh.
    Boy I bet that hurts, just learn to deal with it instead of torturing yourselves. You know it makes sense!

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  8. wow I am a buttplug

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  9. mark benson

    I cannot bring myself to call them anything other than scum. I was there at scum central on 28th Feb 1981. Brian flynn !!!!!!!@@@!

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  10. Not at all mate. Something to do on a pi$$ awful day on the western Pennine slopes. What happened to that nice “world domination” Risdale chap or that business whiz, Ken Bates?

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  11. Billy Bremner's son

    Have you got a massive big dent in your skull.

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  12. Hi Rob, great article which pretty much sums up the feelings of every true football fan other than scum-lovers (no capital S as that would imply respect!)
    I was just wondering how on earth a puerile and factually incorrect 12-yr old can purport to have supported them since the 60’s?? Not only that, he has managed to re-write history in the process; weren’t Man U an irrelevance to just about everybody throughout the 70’s and 80’s?!!
    Indeed I have several friends who are finding it incredibly easy to get tickets at theTheatre of Backhanders nowadays who well remember the time being “5 past ManU” !!
    You were welcome to Cantona ; another arrogant prick who fits the scum prototype. After all, he was such a legend in God’s Own Country he was kept out of our team by Rod Wallace and Lee Chapman when we trounced a nondescript pub team in the title race that year….
    The truth is that in years to come (and even now in some quarters), the AF period will forever be shrouded in suspicion, as it became painfully obvious to anybody who watched any of your games during this period that the red-nosed one quickly cottoned on to the fact that it was cheaper to buy officials than it was to buy players!!!

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  13. Let’s all sit down tonight with glass in hand and hope The Gunners can bounce back BUT put the radio commentary on so as to delete the useless Michael Owen.
    Wins for all the others tonight as well will kill off their season good and proper!

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  14. Good article, but you do realise a high proportion of the Leeds United fan base have no connection to Leeds, but are in fact the original glory hunting plastics (although we are getting on a bit now!) There are so many of us here in Essex and the south, the various RSC’s are testament to this. To have such a diverse fan base is something Leeds United should rightly be proud of.
    We have followed the Mighty Whites through the good times and the bad for over forty years, and maybe that’s the real difference between ourselves and scum. If they were to have a similar decline to the one we’ve had, I can’t see their glory hunters sticking by them.

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  15. Great article Rob, I also hate the scum, and laugh at their every downfall. When they scored against the worst team (Fulham) in the prem, you would have thought that they had just scored the winning goal in the C L final. I love to watch MOTD when the scum slip up, you can feel the disappointment in the voice of the commentator, all the commentators and pundits are in love with them, not a bad word to say against them, its never their fault that they lost, and never give the opposition the credit they deserve.

    When LUFC score a goal, my first reaction is to check that the ref as given the goal, that there is no flag up. I bet the scum fans don’t have that worry.

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  16. All Man U medals and trophies under AF should be scrapped, because they only won them by cheating.

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  17. They bring it on themselves. Remember all the fuss in the summer about David Moyes being ‘The Chosen One’. He couldn’t fail because ‘sir’ Alex picked him ….. ha ha ha

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  18. They shouldn’t need a singing section, with over 75,000 in that stadium surely?
    I knew that everything would start to fall apart, as soon as old “Red Face” left and their time was bound to come to an end sooner or later, just like it did for Liverpool in the 80’s.
    All of the pampered Scum fans must now realise that they are now re-joining the real world of mediocre football, just like in the Ron “comb over” Atkinson days.

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  19. The photo’s from the end of the Fulham game with some bloke, Fergie and Mick Hucknall were priceless. Three smug, smirking faces turned to sullen sulks in an instant. Hilarious!

    Like

  20. Michel Dyson

    It’s brilliant to see scum in decline. What an antidote to see your enemy suffer more!!!

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  21. Billy Bremner's son

    Your spot on with this nobody tells it like it is about the scums betta than you so keep up the good work and keep saying it about the scums cos its spot on

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  22. More fantastick stuff rob and so troo

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  23. Reality Cheque

    Another great read Rob. What really amuses me the most whilst watching the scum (to see them lose again), is the look of total amazement on their player’s faces now that they no longer get awarded free kicks/penalties every time they are tackled (fairly), and lose possession. They slap the turf in a childlike tantrum, or shake their heads in total disbelief for the next 5 minutes. Even chasing the referee doesn’t have any influence anymore Rob, and worst still they are getting booked for their diving and nasty tackles just like any other ‘ordinary’ team’s players always have done. It’s so unfair!!! Referees are no longer scared or intimidated at Old Trafford, they don’t allow the scum a chance to equalise by adding an extra 5 or 6 minutes to the end of every game!! and get this Rob – they award penalties AGAINST the scum!! Its so unfair!!! In summary they are now having to compete on a level playing field with the rest of the Premiership teams (except for their superior buying power of course) and are starting to find their true level. I used to complain about the revenue the scum were getting from being constantly selected for live matches but now I just can’t get enough of watching their demise. It will make fantastic viewing next season if the scum manage to qualify for Europa League and have to play Thursday nights in Russia and Sunday afternoons/Tuesday evenings in Prem before getting relegated!!!

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    • The point you make about the bewilderment on the faces of players suddenly being treated just like everyone else is an excellent one. I’ve observed it in the past with Man U players transferred to other clubs and suddenly realising that the protection from normal justice has been withdrawn from them. It must come as a hell of a shock – and it’s one of the reasons why anyone succeeding Ferguson was inheriting a poisoned chalice.

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  24. Anyone got any idea why scum fan morrissey would have cliff “kitty” richard opening for him on a US gig? The same cliff richard who was a regular visitor to the Elm Guest House in South West London (where local children were abused by VIPs and mps) and was known as “Kitty” whilst there. The same cliff richard who took out a super injunction in the hope that his name couldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence as the Elm Guest House or Operation Fernbridge,which is the name given to the scandalously under staffed investigation into the abuse of children. Always thought morrissey was a twat.

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  25. Billy Bremner's son

    Oh I just notice my second reply is there but with my word replace entirely by your own, blah, blah, blah

    Like

    • I know – it must be so annoying for you. But most of my readers don’t like to see the dribblings of a moron, so I sometimes tidy things up a bit – and if it winds you up as well as exposing you as a clueless twat, well that’s a win-win situation for me.

      What you and the other troll cretins don’t seem to appreciate is that I hold all the cards here. You all pour such a lot of effort into trying to disrupt things, and all I have to do is decide whether to bin your laborious crap, or alter it to my advantage. Either way, it’s your time being wasted – but you all appear too dense to realise that. But it’s your life. If you want to waste bits of it in futile attempts to affect what I’m doing, that’s a matter for you. I honestly couldn’t give a shit either way – I’m fortunate in that I have enough genuine, quality contributors to enhance this blog – whether they agree with me or not. The trolls are just an irrelevant detail – you evidently don’t see this so I’m taking the trouble to explain it to you. You can’t win here. Even when you post your envious shite on other forums, as Chief Sad Act Paul Mcknockiter has done, it only gains more publicity for this blog, which continues to thrive and grow. Everything you do, every mis-spelled word you write in your anger and your frustration, just helps me to prosper. It’s only fair you should know that. Controlling you is easy, but just deleting your crap is TOO easy – like shooting fish in a barrel. So I sometimes get creative, to amuse myself and frustrate poor you and the other saps who back themselves to have any effect on me. You have no chance, you or any of the other dismal few.

      Here endeth the lesson.

      It’s good to be King 🙂

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      • Rob – were the SAW films based loosely on scripts sent in by you? Did the editors then replace the intended Man yoo fans with members of the public who’d perpetrated horrible acts against their fellow men? If so please can you insist that your next script is taken in the manner in which it was intended- I do hate poetic licence!! NUFC.

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    • Incidentally, now that I’ve had my say on this, further input from said trolls will now simply be ignored and binned until I feel like humiliating one of them again. It’s good to be King.

      Like

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