Most football supporters have, in relation to the team they support, some other team or teams which they like to hate. Local and regional rivalries often come into it, or it could just be the memory of some particular historical injustice perpetrated against the favoured team by the disfavoured one. But those who know anything about English Premiership football will also know that cutting across these particularist influences there is a more general trend. There is one team which people who don't support it especially love to hate, and that team is Manchester United. Reflecting, as ya do, upon some of the prominent themes of this contemporary prejudice, I came up with:
> Wealth, aka money, money, money, money. Manchester United is a rich club - even though it isn't the only rich football club, and even though Manchester United didn't invent the connection between football and commerce.You may already have figured out where this post is going. If so, good for you. If not... OK, let me sum up: money, rootlessness, arrogance, conspiracy, questionable national allegiance, and touchiness.
> Not rooted. That is, Manchester United isn't actually supported by people who live in Manchester. Its supporters are from... everywhere else. This is true only in the sense that, because United is a great club with a world-wide support base, it has supporters in many places. Otherwise it's false, as anyone going to Old Trafford can instantly tell.
> Loud and arrogant. The supporters, that's what's meant. As if these qualities could be a special feature of any one set of supporters. As if loudness wasn't just a feature of football-supporting culture.
> Conspiracy. Manchester United somehow manages to get the referees and other match officials on its side, and these accordingly make decisions in its favour. How does Manchester United achieve this? Dunno.
> Lack of patriotism. The interests of the club are given priority over those of the national team when a United player is needed for the England team and the manager prefers to keep him fresh for an upcoming United game.
> Touchiness. United supporters are overly sensitive when faced with some of the above 'criticisms', and other sniping and griping about their club.
Question: The Jews of English football?Am I serious about this? Not really. It interests me, all the same, and makes me wonder how far it might be the case that prejudiced belief about others shares certain common features, even when the others in question are other others than the other others. Oh yes, and the ABU crowd remind me of Tom Lehrer's great song 'National Brotherhood Week'.