If you visited Fulham's Craven Cottage on Saturday, you would have been forgiven for thinking that the game was being played at Old Trafford as Manchester United headed towards a 3-1 victory against the struggling London club.
Inside the stadium, the United fans created a phenomenal atmosphere as they saw a first-half rally from their side. As the Fulham fans looked on in disbelief, they did not offer their team much vocal support.
But don’t confuse this as a rant against Fulham supporters. More so, it is a criticism of home grounds across the country.
The days of terraces are far beyond us at the top level, with it being sensible and necessary to choose safety over atmosphere. Rattles have been lost for similar reasons and vuvuzelas were rightly banned as they converted passionate support into what can only be described as a heated traffic jam.
These aspects that have been lost in English grounds have led to most home fans only managing a mumble in reply to the overpowering volume of the travelling away supporters.
Stumped for chants to ridicule United’s success over the last twenty years, travelling fans have found alternatives to gain an upper hand on the 70,000 strong home support at Old Trafford.
Instead of offering chants aimed towards motivating their side, away fans have now made it mandatory to criticise the Old Trafford faithful regarding their support. Chants such as ‘You only sing when you’re winning’ are now very familiar to fans of the Premier League champions.
The ironic thing is, if you asked other Premier League fans from around the country, most fans who live outside the parameters of Merseyside or Manchester would probably agree that United offer some of the best away support in the league.
So it comes back to the simple question of why? How can it be that when you are in the majority at home, support is subdued by what is always a small proportion of travelling fans?
In leagues such as the Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and many Eastern European league, this problem would be alien to them.
Borussia Dortmund, Marseille, Bursaspor, Lech Poznan – the list of greatly supported clubs in Europe is endless.
And although the Premier League is widely considered to be the best league in the world with some of the most passionate support, this is not conveyed thorough many home fans.
So, in the words of Delia Smith, let’s be having you.
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