When in England, you’re likely to discover that Manchester United is to soccer – football to most of the world outside of the United States – what the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox are to baseball in the United States: Manchester United is England’s most popular team and the team to beat. A part of soccer’s Premier League, Manchester United is far more than just a team when you’re talking with British football fans; they are the team that is out there are playing as hard as possible.
In recent years, it seems as though many fans of football in England have suffered some disappointment and wounded pride when it comes to the way British teams have played on the international circuit; Manchester United has been the one ray of light. For many, when it comes to World Cup Soccer and other major international competitions, many see Manchester United as the most likely to prevail (some backers as supporting Manchester United as likely to win the 2009 Champions League final in Rome).
Manchester United Fans, of course, have divided loyalties even amongst themselves – and in many cases, this comes down to the players on the team who they favor. For some, Cristiano Ronaldo is the best of the team. Others will tell you that, when it comes to First Team players, there is no one more vital to Manchester United’s centre-forward Dimitar Berbatov who is not only quite talented within the game but who also has a knack for entertaining the fans in the crowd. Still others line their allegiance behind England’s own Wayne Rooney who some believe is Manchester United’s best player.
Regardless of which Manchester United player the fans of England turn out to see, there is a simple reality: the fans turn out. Not only do they arrive at the stadiums to see Manchester United play, but also they are members of online message boards, they write blogs and they also support Manchester United players when they are looking into players as they are choosing members of their fantasy league teams.
Manchester United fans do more than just participate by watching their team play and by discussing their successes and failures. For them, admiring club trophies, learning more about the history of Manchester United and set out to collect autographs and other souvenirs that showcase their commitment to their team. They also read Inside United – a magazine that is focused on providing in depth information about the Manchester United team – and enroll kids who are interested in learning more about soccer in Manchester United soccer schools.
A loyal following in England and elsewhere has led to Manchester United having a drive for success on the field. Fans this year will find themselves rewarded by the opportunity to see Manchester United participate in the Carling Cup against Middlesbrough. While Manchester United may not always be the best team in soccer, the reality is that, to their loyal fans, there will always be a sense that Manchester United is soccer in England.