Football fans can really leave you scratching your head at their attitude sometimes. While Manchester United is without doubt the leading motivator of our passion for it, football itself is surely far bigger than one club and its players. When the greatest show on earth that the World Cup has become arrives every four years therefore, you would think that club rivalries can be put to one side for a month.
Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case however as the following comments which appeared on a Manchester United forum clearly shows. While these thoughts are expressed by a couple of United fans, you can rest assured that there will be many others devoted to various clubs who will feel exactly the same way.
Here’s what one had to say right after Rio Ferdinand was ruled out of the tournament with that knee injury suffered in England’s first training session in South Africa “I’m not that interested in the World Cup as United are not in it but one positive if England were to win it would have been to see the look on John Terry’s face as Ferdinand lifted the trophy. Now that thought is gone and I can’t bear to see Steven Gerrard lifting it anyway”
And here’s another “England have two United connections in the form of Carrick and Rooney – surely the lowest numbers we’ve had for the England squad for a long time and I struggle to support England even with more of our lads in there anyway, so wanting the likes of John Terry, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard etc. to do well isn’t going to happen!!!”
There can be little doubt that national pride is no longer as fierce as it once was, and not only when it comes to football, but how can that pride fail to be rekindled if an England captain is ever fortunate enough to stand in front of the whole world lifting a trophy to signify that England are World Football Champions? Does it really matter which club he plays for?
It may seem old fashioned in today’s society to hold such sentiments but even though I’m not English, I am passionate about a particular English football club who happens to play at Old Trafford and would love to see England win every one of their matches EXCEPT!
That’s where national pride raises its head once more because having spent virtually all of my life in Australia, there is no way known that I will be supporting the English in the unlikely event of the two countries having to meet each other in a later stage of the tournament. Of course national pride is obviously the major reason for hoping that the Socceroos do well in the World Cup but there’s another which is just as important.
Football in this country has battled for as long as I can remember to be accepted as a mainstream sport until Australia qualified and progressed to the last sixteen in Germany four years ago. It had finally made its mark in this sports obsessed country and another good showing in South Africa will guarantee that the game will finally be given the recognition that it has long struggled for.
You see, before anyone can become a Manchester United, England, Australia or any other supporter, they must first be a football fan above all else.
How important is it for Manchester United to be better represented in the England squad?