7 Reasons Why Being a Manchester United Fan Is Amazing
This summer has been an incredibly serious one from Manchester United's perspective.
With the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, the potential exit of club talisman Wayne Rooney and the stress surrounding the transfers of Thiago Alcantara, Kevin Strootman and Leighton Baines—to name just a few—United fans haven't been given much time to think straight.
That's not to say there hasn't been positives also. The appointment of David Moyes as their new manager and the announcement yesterday that Ryan Giggs will become a member of the coaching staff (Independent) should both please fans of the Red Devils.
However, with all these serious news stories bouncing around, I thought I'd take a more light-hearted approach today, and analyse exactly why following England's most successful football club can be so great at times.
While I am a Manchester United fan, for the purposes of this article I am going to attempt to be a third party looking in (as much as this is possible), so that my own personal views don't cloud my judgement.
Remember this is just a bit of fun and hopefully something to perk up any United fan's day.
Why seven reasons you ask? Well, what more fitting a number to list the best reasons to be a United fan than the famous No. 7?
So, in no particular order, let's begin!
The 1999 Champions League final was the moment I fell in love with Manchester United. Those goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer resulted in one of the greatest turnarounds in the history of sport.
What's brilliant for United fans is that—while perhaps never again on the same magnitude—the Red Devils have made this a somewhat regular thing, with comebacks happening on a near weekly basis at the start of the 2012-13 Premier League campaign.
As a football fan, supporting a team with the ability to do this time and time again fuels your love and passion for the game.
It's all well and good to go out and win 5-0 every week like Barcelona do, but where's the drama and excitement in that?
Not every player who dons the red shirt and white shorts of Manchester falls into this category.
There have been those who, when other clubs come calling, decide that they want to move away from Old Trafford.
United fans who think they are hard-pressed when this happens to them should remember what happens to Arsenal nearly every summer and count their blessings!
On top of that, Manchester United, perhaps more so than any other club in recent history, has made a habit of holding on to some of the world's best for the near entirety of their career.
Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are obvious front-runners in the camp.
While these days the two are shadows of their former selves, back in the late '90s to early noughties, Giggs and Scholes would have made it into any starting XI.
As it was, they stuck with United. You don't see that kind of loyalty and love for a club from many other players in the sport.
Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson has (need I even bother saying?) finally decided to retire from football.
While this was a devastating blow to all United fans across the globe, it was nice to see so many putting aside their feelings of concern about the future to respect and praise this wonderful manager.
For the past 26 years, Sir Alex has changed not only the way people see Manchester United, but how they see the English game itself.
Fergie wasn't always the most popular man if you didn't follow the English champions, but you would be hard-pressed to find someone out there who didn't respect him for what he had achieved.
Having the honor to have been shepherded by him for over two-and-a-half decades is something that any United fan should consider themselves incredibly lucky about.
He leaves the game and, more poignantly in this case, Manchester United are better off than when he joined. Not many managers can say that after moving away from a club.
There's Always Other United Fans Around
Someone once said that United fans are like rats—you can't throw a rock without hitting one.
Unquestionably, there are more fans of the Red Devils than any other team in the country.
What makes this a good reason to be a United fan is, despite all the teasing you might receive if you're not actually from Manchester...or even the North, you always have other fans to discuss tactics, players and general United going-ons with.
One of my best friends is a Blackburn Rovers fan (don't ask me why), and living in the south of England, there naturally aren't that many (well, any) other Rovers fans around.
As such when his side were relegated last season, the poor fellow was subject to a little bit of what is now being commonly referred to as "banter" from myself and our peers.
United fans do receive this stick, like any football fan, but the sense of a worldwide community makes it a lot easier to deal with.
You always feel like there are "brothers in arms" around to support you, and you're there to support them.
People can say what they like about supporting a team that you are geographically not that close to, but for me it's one of the best perks of being a fan.
World-Class Talent on Display
This is true of any top club, but it still doesn't detract from why it makes it a great reason to be a United fan.
Eric Cantona, Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Robin van Persie, Edwin van der Sar, Riod Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Jaap Stam, Eric Djemba-Djemba (just kidding).
All world-class talents who have graced the Old Trafford turf.
And that's only naming a few. United have been blessed with a variety of amazing players over the years and will continue to be for the seasons to come.
Very few clubs will ever get to say they saw Ronaldo and Rooney in the same starting XI.
Again, every club has rivalries, but perhaps no team has as many as Man United do.
This is primarily because of the success they have achieved in the last 26 years.
It doesn't really make much sense why a team as far away from London as United are have two of their fiercest rivals in the forms of Chelsea and Arsenal.
Manchester City have always been a foe of the Red Devils, but it was only recently that they really stepped up to the plate to compete with them.
Liverpool and United in the classic grudge match; England's two most historical football teams vying for the chance to outdo each other.
So why is having so many teams hate you a good thing?
Well, it harks back to that idea of solidarity at the club: You're in it together against everybody who wants to bring you down.
Also, having so many games that both fans and players want to go out and win only adds to the magnificent spectacle that comes from watching United play every week.
United's rivalries are part of what has made them great.
They Win...a Lot
It's never nice to be called a glory-hunter (especially when it isn't true), but at the end of the day, it's probably one of the most backhanded insults a fan can receive.
Whoever is calling you it clearly acknowledges that Manchester United have won an unprecedented amount over the past 26 years under Sir Alex, and that's great news for any fan!
Winning isn't everything, but you would be lying if you said you didn't care about it at all.
This is sport after all, and the whole point is to compete to be the best.
United do that time and time again, and their record in the Premier League is going to take some effort to topple.
Thirteen titles out of 21 since the reformation of the league in 1992 has seen the Red Devils become one of the most successful teams in the history of football.
Understandably, that's a pretty nice thing for any United fan to contemplate.
Winning is a nice feeling, and with it becoming somewhat of the norm at Old Trafford, many fans should consider themselves lucky to have a club like Man United to follow.
And speaking of following, if you enjoyed this article and want to read more from me in the future, follow me on Twitter @Eddie_Edmonds.