OK, from Manchester; my little boy was born in Trafford General. No London connection so might be able to talk about things with a little perspective.
Yep, United for many years - season ticket holder and most aways and unlike most people commenting on this thread I was there on Saturday along with a great many coachloads actually from Manchester. Firstly, to answer one comment; the United fans got out of there as quick as possible to attempt beat the traffic (which was horrendous) and to avoid gloating fans of the worst kind - has anyone else not left as quickly as possible for the same reasons? I did however stay to clap the team(s) off. What happened after the final whistle did delay my exit somewhat but I was still on the coach before the blue horde emerged.
It is true that the team has a large countrywide and worldwide support but I think you might find that an awful lot of this is due to the sky effect and being the most successful team during this era. Everyone at an impressionable age wants to follow. It has however created a sizeable bunch of ABUs to go with it. Funnily enough, when I was little everyone was a Liverpool supporter - go figure.
I applaud the great following that city had for this game - shame it doesn't reflect in their attendances at Eastlands. 27,000 turned up for the 4th Round of the competition that they are now in the final of.... that's 20,000 less than the capacity and included 4,600 Notts County supporters. In the next round, just short of 75,000 were at Old Trafford for the Crawley game. Yep, 9,000 were Crawley but there it is. If city fans all come from Manchester, why didn't they come to support their team in a game that has turned out to be a very important one in their season?
"We're not really here" indeed....
As for the calling of names and I hear them all - puerile nonsense. All footballers have their charities, things they do to help etc. What they do on the pitch is what they do. Try Ryan Giggs for example - UNICEF ambassador for Sierra Leone as well as being a great player. Hell, even Wayne Rooney has done work for Children's charities such as the Starlight foundation (as well as onfield exploits - good and bad...) What has the way they look got to do with it?
I am pleased that nobody here mentioned the M word though. That does wind me up especially if they were born after 1958 (in fact even if they were born before that but at least they will know what they are talking about). There were many neanderthals with their arm-waving expliots on Saturday. The loss of life is not to be taken as a joke no matter who it is and in the name of football is quite simply disgusting. Any Liverpool, Leeds or Bradford supporters on here? Quite. Still just me venting off steam here and thankfully not anger. Also hopefully very off-topic.
The disturbances at the end of the game, Mario Balotelli needs to sort his act out as well as the United players. There is a rule about "goading the crowd" and that's what Balotelli did. Several players including Emmanuel Adebayor and Gary Neville have been charged with this "offence", mostly because they had themselves been given constant grief from the crowd, in those cases Arsenal and Liverpool fans. That's not to say that Rio Ferdinand and Anderson should have done what they did but when passions run high it happens. Patrice Evra will probably get a 4-game ban (sorry, in-joke).
Al - I think it's fine to say you hate the reds as can others with you being a lifelong blue but people do get jealous of success which is why so many people hated Liverpool in the 70's and 80's (as I did and still do). I don't so much hate city, I laugh at them and their efforts to rid the world of red (blue ketchup? Not allowing the players or non-playing staff to have red cars...?). There are reds in Manchester same as there are blues (but not as many in Stockport
) I know I might not be laughing so much anymore as long as the man keeps plugging his oil billions their way.
A poor game for united and a good one for city but it was coming. However an observation - if results go badly for them city might well end up winning the FA Cup but not getting into the Champions League which imo is a poor result for an excess of £300m outlay. More work needed I think. Thursday night, Channel 5 beckons once again...
I'll add my own personal comment to the end just to prove that I'm not all serious.... Hey Al: United - not arrogant - just better