A handful of games in season 2020/21 and it’s become apparent that we won’t be seeing the inside of a football stadium for quite some time.
Begrudgingly, we are settling into a life where we have to make do with a cuppa and the television more so than the pre-game beers with your brethren, a sing song and coming together inside the ground to give your support to the lads in red.
As much as this is horrendous to those of us who are match going regulars, even the likes of myself who travel over to Manchester regularly, we don’t have much choice while the pandemic steals our religion of football from us.
One of the biggest downsides I’ve seen to our identity as football fans being taken, is we are now forced to get out pre and post-match football talk online: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, group chats, that’s where we *meet* these days.
An epidemic of negativity is rife amongst our fanbase at current and this is exacerbated online, a Mecca for the miserable, the podium for the plonker.
When United win or play well, a large sector of the fanbase is silent, gone missing, nowhere to be seen.
But boy, if we lose or draw, the claws are sharpened and the keyboard warriors who live and breathe complaining come out in their droves.
Hordes of “Ole Out” style posts are visible, slating every player that put on a pair of boots that day and be-musingly, sometimes even those who weren’t even playing!
A potentially sweeping statement, but I honestly believe that the majority of these posts are from fans who do not attend football regularly, who have spent their time watching United doing so on TV and are so used to sitting alone with nobody to talk to, they take to social media to spout their nonsense.
They have to be, right?
Because I don’t believe this common theme of slating the manager and the players has ever been evident amongst the matchday fans to the level it is online.
Add to this the tabloid version of football outlets, The Fancam Crew.
Their preying ground has been closed off to them, they can’t find content where they spout their drivel after games outside the ground, urging on the negative fans to get it off their chests, they’ve moved on to taking cheap shots on Twitter to get their kicks.
Reactionary, inflammatory comments, borderline ludicrous and damaging at times, with a strong following backing their every thought process.
Race cards being thrown about at will, whimsical lies being created, focusing their ire on certain players and strong willed negativity against our manager.
These do not represent the Old Trafford faithful, these do not represent United supporters who travel around the globe to cheer on our lads, these are simply creations for clicks, earning their crust off the longing for negative ridicule that exists on modern day football social media.
I miss football, I miss meeting up with the same old faces every time, the local reds, the away support, the travel all over the world reds, the Irish lads who make the effort to turn up time and again.
I miss being disgustingly hungover trying to force a beer into my body on the morning of matchday, as we start to slowly build atmosphere towards the game.
I miss normal folk, everyday working class football fans who, although we may not always agree with each other on everything, there’s a sense of maturity, a sense of common thought process amongst the match goers.
When this pandemic finally does one and we can get back to doing what we love most, I will not miss the stench of online negativity we are surrounded by, while sat on the sidelines, watching on TV.