Fans Grab the Headlines in a Forgettable Roses Derby

By Liam “Wrestlemania” Brown

Well, well, Elland Road hasn’t changed. The Leeds team (a far cry from their financially irresponsible glory days) hasn’t changed. And neither has the press’ ability to deflect any discussion of a cakewalk of a game into moral outrage too. I’m talking about the “Istanbul” chants, but first a BRIEF summary of the game. Well, it was a fantastic first half display from United, merit badges handed out to Fryers, Valencia, Fabio, Prefect Owen and Head Boy Giggsy. Fryers looks confident, eager, yet composed, retained the ball well apart from a few 40 yard attempts at a “Hollywood Pass” (one which he completed by the way). But other than that a very comfortable first half display. 2nd half wasn’t quite as thrilling yet more an exercise in how to control and see out a victory in a hostile environment, culminating in a bizarre Berbatov/Carrick defensive partnership. 

However, one thing of note, were the chants ringing round Elland Road, of course the customary inflammatory “12 Cantonas”, “Ooh Ahh Cantona” and “Leedscum” were fun for all. However, chants of “Istanbul” crept in to the living rooms of Sky subscribers, and the press has gone straight for the jugular. The witchunt has started, lead by The Times columnist Oliver Kay, all of the Daily Mail and reports of Mary Whitehouse rising up from beyond to join the hordes of people disgusted by a minority of Man Utd fans.

First of all, let me clear the air, I’m not condoning their actions, as mentioned on the Red Dead Podcast, I don’t join in, nor approve of chants aimed at Liverpool fans, allegations regarding Wenger, or mocking the tragic death of 2 Leeds supporters. The common reaction from many seems to be “the Leeds fans were mocking Munich”. As hard as it may be not to retaliate, we are all grown up enough to understand that two wrongs don’t make a right. However, what I do object to, is the medias portrayal of the (usually fantastic) United away support as some sort of gang of sick 80’s hooligan throwbacks, without much of a mention at all to the constant abuse small sections of Leeds supporters dish out. 

It’s not just Leeds fans, year on year, Bolton imitate aeroplanes, I left the Reebok stadium last season utterly disgusted by it, City fans refer to us as “Munichs”, George Best’s minute silence ruined by surprise surprise, Leeds fans in 2005. Even the spokesman for Spirit of Shankley (MUST’s scouse opposite number) was caught on camera leading the Liverpool fans present in a rendition of one of their tasteless Munich ditties. It’s a very sad state of affairs, but all I can say is grow up to that minority of United fans, and shake my head at rival supporters acting the same, this weekend we are away to Stoke, anybody think their usual welcome to Man Utd fans will be noted by the press?

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  • Was it the press who unfurled the Istanbul flag. Or was it Leeds fans or any other clubs fans. No it was your support. Do not blame the press. What your supporters need to do is accept responsibility. You did it you get slated for doing it. End of.

  • As I said in the article, the section of United fans that believe that sort of behaviour is acceptable need to grow up. All clubs can attract the undesirable element, but I also believe the press have created something bigger than it really was, United have been on the receiving end of taunts and also dished many out, yet it’d be naive to think there werent Leeds fans also behaving in such a way on Wednesday, yet the press have been surprisingly muted.

  • Disgraceful from man u fans in the ground,disgraceful from leeds fans outside the ground.Both brought shame on their clubs,catch em and ban em for life and send out the message it will not be tolerated,maybe this would prevent further morons from doing the same.

  • I think the pre-meditated act of making banners before hand was a real low and provoked a lot of the problems. Yes some Leeds fans chanted M58 songs but these were drowned out by the booing of the decent fans around them. When 9,000 Leeds fans went to old trashyard 2 years ago the absence of such chants was refreshing (as was the result!). ManU is by far the worst when it comes to sick songs for other teams which they chant even when not playing them – its about time you got the bad press you desreve.

  • Difficult thing to write abt but you did. All teams have a minority of fans wholet their club down as a city fan I can see this. The issue United have is the fact that they do have a big fan base. And you will notice the lower type games attract the so so called working class fan. Its not working class it is scum class.

  • Society has its morons, many people in society support a football club, therefore some fans of football clubs will be morons. The number of morons at each club vary, but at every club it’s a minority, and whilst the characteristics and songs of said morons vary from club to club, at the end of the day, they’re all the same type of moron.

    For any fan to make out that his club is different from another is ridiculous, I’m sure we can all recount tells of such-and-such a fan from such-and-such a club singing about this and fighting about that.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending the actions of these pathetic United fans who used the death of two men as a stick with which to beat their rivals, they’re simply deluded morons who think that hating your rivals as much as is humanly possible somehow makes you a bigger fan of your club.

    All I know this is such nobs only prosper when good people stand by and do nothing.

  • As said before, Munich chants were heard from Leeds fans, yet (rightly)booed to silence by the more reasonable majority. This principle works at all clubs, although chanting and banners may have been present amongst the 3000 away fans, they don’t represent all United fans, I cant say I’ve heard much worse at Old Trafford other than “Murderers”, and personally I feel that ought to be stopped. I think fans and the media are mixing up the very vocal, yet naturally smaller number of away fans, and the rest of the 76,000 people cheering United on week in, week out.

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