Man United fans: please get over Sunderland doing the Man City Poznan

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Stephen Goldsmith has more important things to be getting on with but found time to deliver a heartfelt plea to Man United supporters: develop a sense of proportion about that spontaneous spot of fun at the SoL at the very end of last season. He thought it was the Proznan – a calming drug for women who’ve been reading 50 Shades of Grey – until his girlfriend put him, and our headline, right …

Luckily for me, I have come across a distraction to drag myself away from all the speculative transfer nonsense, and it’s pretty much old news that has presented itself in refreshed form through the marvellous medium of Twitter.

I felt inclined to comment on this mini-issue back in May, but didn’t. If I could think of an excuse as to why that is so I would insert it around now.

On the final game of the season the Manchester United fans and players waited in anticipation for the league title to be confirmed; they had beaten Sunderland. But as it was confirmed that Aguero had dramatically saved the day for Manchester City vs QPR, Sunderland fans cheered and a section of the ground proceeded to mock the Manchester United players and fans by acting out this Poznan manoeuvre, an adopted celebration of the Manchester City faithful. Ouch!

Now I’m a Sunderland fan, obviously. Since I have been watching the lads I have witnessed about a billion relegations and on only one of these occasions do I remember not being mocked by the opposition supporters.

The modern generation of Manchester United fans may not know the sensation, but relegation brings a heartbreaking feeling like no other. Lose a title race and you dust yourself down, look to improve and have another go. Being relegated brings with it a whole summer of reflecting on how woefully poor your team have been, followed by the reality of at least a year playing in a league that is weaker and less inspiring. The pain is long-lasting.

Now I know some of the older Sunderland fans (Pete Sixsmith, I’m looking at you) hold a bit of a grudge towards Coventry City following one particular relegation, but that was due to questionable and unethical circumstances that conspired pitchside that day – and in a game Sunderland weren’t directly involved in.

I am not aware of one Sunderland fan that spent the whole of any summer after a relegation bitterly plotting some sort of revenge against the opposition fans who mocked us. I am not aware of any Sunderland fan or news page that would post something like this tweeted image from United fans.

Spelling mistakes aside, I’m not sure if the content of the message is some sort of threat of violence or just a promise that they will beat us when they play us next. Let’s face it, the latter wouldn’t be anything unusual so it’s all a bit mystifying as to what the issue is here why any portion of Salford’s finest are carrying this bitterness.

Now I will take this opportunity to confess that I actually quite like Man Utd; I enjoy watching them represent the Premier League in Europe and I like the way Sir Alex seems to take responsibility in having English players actively involved in his carefully constructed sides. So as news of the Augero goal reached me in the North Stand, I wasn’t overjoyed or elated.

Once my attention was drawn to the South West corner partaking in this Poznan manoeuvre, I found it highly amusing nonetheless. I can understand the initial frustration and resentment of the Red Army towards the Sunderland fans for rubbing their noses in it, and I can understand the constant abuse that the United faithful hurled our way on fansites, social network sites and comments sections of articles spread across the internet. But I certainly thought that by mid-July they might just have – what’s the phrase? – got over it.

The durability of their drawn out reaction probably stems from comments made by Sir Alex and Wayne Rooney following Proznangate. At the player awards ceremony Sir Alex did indeed say: “I said those Sunderland fans who were cheering for City, remember the day. We won’t forget that. I am telling you.”

Well that probably explains the inclusion of “we will never forget” and the reasoning behind stating the exact date of the incident in the above image of propaganda garbage. We as fans do tend to hang on to the every word of our managers when things are rosy in the garden, so United fans are always likely to latch on to whatever the great man says.

Their star striker also waded and was quoted as saying: “When the final whistle went, we didn’t really know what the score at City was. But then we heard the Sunderland fans cheering. It was sad to see that because they should be supporting their own team really. They didn’t have the best of seasons so for them to be cheering like that was sad. It was something myself and a lot of the players won’t forget.”

We can all relate to Wayne’s point that fans tend not to get behind their own team as much as they criticise their rivals. Sunderland and Newcastle supporters display astronomical levels of goading, belittling and abusing of each other. Sometimes you do feel that the support should come more from within and in the shape of encouragement.

But why this particular incident has been taken so personally is beyond me.

I mentioned earlier that all but one of the relegations that I have witnessed has resulted in goading from the opposition fans.

My first full season as Fulwell Ender was the 90/91 season and it saw us relegated at Maine Road with the help of two Niall Quinn goals. This was the exception. Manchester City fans bonded superbly with the 15,000 travelling Sunderland fans and I remember them bizarrely encouraging Sunderland fans to join them in literally sitting down on the floor as they belted out renditions of Sit Down by James.

It was mutual respect and appreciation that I have only seen matched by the Norwich fans a year after in the FA Cup semi-final.

So couple that with the Niall Quinn factor and Sunderland supporters were always going to want Manchester City to win the title, right? Wrong!!!!! This was banter that would have been reversed if it was Rooney scoring the winner against QPR and it was the Citizens suffering heartache at the Stadium of Light.

The day that non-aggressive and clean verbal banter is taken away from football supporters will be a very sad done indeed. The match still represents a chance for society to escape their working week and puff their chests out in honour of the region that their teams represent. It can go beyond that, of course, and become “sad”, as Mr Rooney helpfully points out.

Ironically, he need only look at the image above for confirmation of that fact. Sunderland fans are some of the best in the land, and like others such as Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, Everton and, dare I say it, Newcastle, will wind up the opposition’s during a game to the extreme yet no doubt have a pint and a good natured football discussion with them if their paths cross in different circumstances.

Sunderland fans sing You’ll Never Walk Alone to Liverpool, Everton and Manchester United fans with the intentions of winding them up and creating a hostile atmosphere. Always have, probably always will. I have witnessed countless chants calling us Geordies over the years, composed with the sole intention of winding us up. Add these clubs to the ones who have mocked our relegations and we have quite a few bitter enemies, do we? Of course not. Our intention through the whole Poznangate saga was to wind up the Manchester United fans and I think it’s safe to say we have succeeded with distinction.

I believe that the United fans, and even Wayne himself, have somewhat missed the point of Sir Alex’s intent anyway. If anybody can be bothered to divert away from the headline-making utterances in Sir Alex’s statements, they will notice that he spoke of former experiences before he mentioned Proznangate.

He said; “When we lost the league to Leeds in 1992, the young players – Neville, Scholes, Giggs – came out that day and the Liverpool supporters were asking for their autographs. Then they were tearing the autographs up – I told the players to remember that.”

So while it is clear that Sir Alex is using this incident as extra motivation for his players to get things right next term, forgive me if I refuse to take it as a total personal vendetta against Sunderland fans. The fact he has name dropped players who excelled for the club and brought them umpteen glories, indicates to me that the disappointment of witnessing this type of mockery is to be the platform for them to perform better and make sure that they don’t have to endure this kind of feeling again.

“Remember how opposition fans will make you feel if you fail once more. Make sure you don’t witness that again” – yes.

“We now hate Sunderland fans and are telling our parents of them” – no.

And if I’m wrong here, and Fergie suddenly does hate all things Sunderland, then that makes the whole thing even more laughable. Talk about biting.

Twitter: @goldys_logic

20 thoughts on “Man United fans: please get over Sunderland doing the Man City Poznan”

  1. Followed the link here from Republik of Mancunia.

    Well written article and spot on, Fergie was simply using that sickening feeling of failure as a motivational tool to spur his players on to future success.

    As a Manchester United fan I find the image at the top of the article embarrassing. Please rest assured this is not representative of most United fans! I certainly don’t have anything against Sunderland (you’re practically our ‘B’ team now 😉 )

  2. “cuz U will never know what hit you”

    In text/twitter speak…WTF? If you can’t take a bit of harmless fun, don’t ever do the same to anyone else.

  3. Great article, written by a true fan who knows what it’s like to feel real pain as a fan of your team.

    Those plastic ManU lot are a sad, miserable, bitter bunch. Most have no idea what it’s like to be a real fan.

    They think they have a divine right to win the title season after season, and dish out abuse and contempt for other fans and football clubs by the troughload. They show their true colours when they have to take some of it back though.

    Good on you Sunderland. Looks like you well and truly touched a nerve.

  4. We took 4 points off Man City last year (and it should have been 6). Nobody else did that. If that’s not helping Man U, what is? They screwed up. End of story. I was delighted to see City win and to see our fans celebrate the way they did. Always had a soft spot for City.

  5. I’ll never forget the merciless mocking by the Man U fans after our awful 19 and 15 point relegation seasons. Actual total lie – I have, it was banter. They can dish it out but they can’t take it. Losers.

  6. so i take it there wont be many manu u players arriving on loan this year ? who knows 5under1and might have to splash some cash.

    totally agree with article if you cant have a laugh whats the point, even i cheered when the mackems were taking the mick, fergies face was fantastic,

    heres to a summer of and season of wind ups, the last one will be hard to beat though,

    i have sunderland mates and it winds us all up when we go out together, its great but one thing we all agree on– fergies face that day, fantastic

    have a good summer everyone

  7. Like Ken and Colin say, it was spontaneous and can hardly been deemed offensive. The image that I came across on twitter made me cringe to the core and I still feel that the fans are missing the point of why Sir Alex said what he did. There have been many over-the-top moans and complaints about football losing its working class morals, and while I’m certainly not about to jump on that bandwagon, its true to say that the day it is frowned upon to wind up oppsoition supporters will be a very dark one.

  8. I thought that the two minutes after the end of the game was just rip roaringly funny. The whistle went and they had won and were Champions in waiting only to have it taken away.

    Rooney and his mates, including Ferguson need to threaten us with something we are afraid of.

    Ferguson is the most ungracious bloke in football, and I can only agree wholeheartedly with what the City fans have been saying it. MU have been lauding it over all of us for years and in the blue half of Manchester it must have been hard to take. You deserved to win the title. Your team was great to watch last season. Enjoy it! Pleased to share our little celebration with you 🙂

  9. Great article with great lessons for both footballers & their supporting fans to learn from to enhance and encourage the development of sporting activities. Thanks for the impartial analysis@goldys_logic

    Says J.B

  10. United fans, the new ‘bitters’, always ungracious in defeat, especially after the 1-6 thumping at Old Trafford.

    Spontaneity in football, especially in relation to the quick wit of supporters, is something to be cherished and encouraged. Even the ‘gallows’ humour celebrated by City fans and others over the years should be welcomed. I would be delighted if the ‘quotes’ from Sour Alex are true: it makes the victory even sweeter.

    As to the ‘lot of talk’ about City ‘not winning graciously’, I can only assume this refers to the ramblings of bitter, Rag fans, from Singapore to Katmandhu: such a shame for them all!

  11. Why think you owe United fans anything, they don’t deserve anything other than Sunderland doing the Poznan as a mocking gesture. They deserved to witness Manchester City steal the title from under their noses, for the contempt they have dished out to the rest of the Premier League not to mention non Premier League clubs.

    Do not apologise and certainly do not apologise for those fellow fans of yours that certainly do not wish to apologise.

    • I’m not apologising, indeed the opposite; stressing my beliefs that this stuff should never be taken away from the terraces.

  12. The day you were relegated at Maine Road will stay long in the memory as a day when two sets of fans gelled despite the despair of one group. I will also never forget the gracious way your fans behaved that day.

    W.r.t. the rest, yes it is banter. Like City fans cheering when Bolton were winning and QPR looked like going down, when Liverpool fans cheered the day we went down after drawing against them, Everton fans chanting Rooney’s name when we were struggling to beat them earlier this year and us singing you’re just a small town in Middlesbrough to you lot. It will be a sad day indeed when the PC police outlaw this sort of banter.

    Besides which, is this the same Wayne Rooney that mocked the Toure Brothers on Twitter for being away a month at the ANC and coming back with nothing?

  13. There was a lot of talk about City not winning graciously but I have yet to hear anyone say Trafford Buccaneers were extremely ungracious in defeat. Thanks Sunderland supporters for the laugh and did you know QPR supporters cheered when City scored the third. Everyone likes to see pomposity pricked.

  14. After all the occasions we’ve been cheated out of a result by Fergie-friendly refs in Fergietime did they think we’d love them?

  15. Pleased to see honourable mentions of the Man City and Norwich fans who were both great on the occasions in question.I too will always have some good feeling towards Man U. for their wonderful exploits in grabbing the Premiership in 1996.I thought the Poznan was a bit of spontaneous wit ,all the more enjoyable because of large contingents of United supporters in the boxes behind us in the West Stand who were most annoyingly ‘larging it’ throughout the latter stages of the game.Overall the celebration was hardly the most heinous crime in football.

  16. Man yooo fans with Vailed threats. he he man city fans will not forget manure joke club got smashed outside the etihad. And they want to take on the Sunderland with their men in
    Black ha ha ha

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