Manchester United have the best fans in the world.
OK, so this article is going to cause some controversy because loads of fans think they are the best in the world.
The most commonly stated observation about United fans is that most of them come from outside Manchester...or outside the UK.
Frankly, that's stating the obvious, because you can't fit 333 million into Old Trafford. What's wrong with people from outside Manchester supporting United? Everybody who loves football has a favourite team, but for how many is it the hometown team, if there is one?
The English Premier League is the most watched in the world. So why should it be a surprise that the most watched team is the most successful and most people's favourite? It's no accident because for at least the last 66 years, United have played attractive attacking football.
It's taken several managers and millions for Roman Abramovich to find one who will do the same and Villas-Boas for the time being at least is playing attractive football. So is Mancini. Will it last? It will at Old Trafford, because that is the legacy that Sir Matt Busby laid down and passed on all the way to Sir Alex. Whoever follows will be expected to do the same.
So then some say that Old Trafford is like a cathedral, populated by what Roy Keane called the "prawn sandwich" brigade. Certainly, it was quiet against Basle last week, because United were playing badly.
The trouble is that when you are a passionate supporter of United, used to so much success, such as winning the last 19 Premier League home matches (a record), you sit there with a feeling of nervousness or even dread until the first goal is scored. We're just not used to losing, especially at home.
One of the reasons for United's abiding widespread popularity is the aftermath of the Munich air crash. The disaster captured a nation's attention, and much of the world sat up and took notice. There was a universal mourning, not only for the deaths, but for the loss of possibly the most talented generation that ever wore the red shirts.
Overnight, the Reds became most people's favourite second club after their own. This remained largely the case until United's burgeoning success in the Premiership years.
Sadly, resentment is part of the "British disease." While in countries like the US, success is recognised, applauded and celebrated, in Britain, people and teams are put on pedestals so that they can be smashed off.
Luckily, Mr. Abramovich saved the day and Chelsea became the "most hated" until Sheikh Mansour poured his millions into City, who now have that mantle.
Whether a club has the best fans in the world is a subjective opinion difficult to back up with facts. So, as just one measure won't suffice, we have put forward a number of factors which collectively make Red Devils fans the best in the world over the last 60 years or more.
If you disagree, fine, but please give counter-arguments and facts to support them.
We start with the overwhelming case of sheer global support.