Red Devil Resentment or Barca’s Brilliance?

by admin

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Much has been made of the fact that this year’s Champions League Final will be held at Wembley, with Manchester United supposedly having ‘home advantage’ and therefore an upper hand in their unenviable task of stopping the imperious Barcelona on Saturday.

However Alex Ferguson isn’t sure that such an advantage exists in the modern game in England. He spoke in a recent press conference of the, “tribal nature” of fans in the premier league, contrasting it with the days when European competition brought together fans. He talked specifically about the 1967 final, when Celtic became the first British team to lift the most prestigious trophy in club football. Support was universal with even Ferguson, a Rangers fan since childhood, getting behind Jock Stein’s Lisbon Lions. The same was true of Manchester United’s final the following year, when members of the public lined the streets of North London to welcome and offer their support to Busby’s team.

Compare that to the mood today. The United team bus this weekend is more likely to be showered with bricks and bodily fluids than adoration. While this particular act of dirty protest against Ferguson’s team might be out of line, the more pacific protest of supporting Barcelona is hopefully the strongest declaration of displeasure that will be displayed.

An article written by Marin Samuel in the Daily Mail yesterday seemed to suggest even this was an unwelcome addition to the game. He questioned why any fans in England would want United to lose, seeing as they are effectively representing our nation at the highest table in European football. We should rejoice that an English team has made it to the first continental final at the new Wembley.

However, what he fails to take into account is the fact that they are playing Barcelona. FC Barcelona, arguably one of the greatest teams of our, if not any, generation. A team that boasts the best player in the world in Messi, the best midfield pairing in Xavi and Iniesta, and a coach in Pep Guardiola who believes in playing football the ‘right way’. What is wrong with supporting such a side, regardless of their opponent?

The fact of the matter is that while there will be some hardcore, partisan fans who just want to see United lose through hatred of all things red, there will also be a large proportion of genuine football fans who want to see the team that play the best football come out victorious. And if Barcelona drop the ugly tactics they employed in the semi-final tie against Madrid (who were not entirely without blame, it should be said) then they deserve the support they receive.

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  • Babalola William

    What support? Everybody have his own choice. In 2007, when LFC took on AC Milan, SAF tipped AC Milan to defeat Liverpool. Now he want all fans to rally their supports for his team. Impossible! You reap what you sow.

  • Jay

    Tipping a side to win isn’t the same as wanting a side to win…

  • billy

    0-0 bore draw, Barca win on pens

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