Back in October at the Champions League clash with Real Sociedad, United had a trial of a ‘singing section’ in the old scoreboard paddock (where the away fans usually sit). With another trial announced for later on in January we ask why is it required and what could be done going forward?
Other premier league clubs including Newcastle have toyed with the idea, however United were the first club to trial it.
The red issue makes the point regularly that the atmosphere, especially on European nights can be dull. However, that night as instructed by the club, the fans in the singing section really did ‘sing loud and proud’. Singing and chanting is contagious and on a few occasions that night (even with a pretty boring single goal game being played out) the whole ground was on its feet chanting, even some of the south stand.
The next trial has been set for Fulham next month. We will see how it goes in a Premier League game then, however judging by the Sociedad game it is surely going to be another success.
The atmosphere at Old Trafford is regularly commented on. “For the big games, the atmosphere at Old Trafford is up there with the best of them but, as with most grounds, that is not the same for the lesser matches” said Andrew Kilduff, co-founder of Stretford End Flags. During big domestic games against Manchester City or Liverpool, or important European games (Madrid last year springs to mind) the Old Trafford atmosphere can really send a send a shiver down your spine. But a cold Monday night game against Stoke is always going to be a struggle. But these are the types of games the players will need it most. It’s easy to get pumped up for a semi-final against Real Madrid, but not so when you face the prospect of taking a battering from Stoke. The introduction of a singing section can surely only help this.
Manchester United Football Club by its very nature attracts the day trippers and that’s just the way it is. As one of the biggest football clubs on the planet, people will come from all over the world to visit it. Therefore it’s not surprising that not everyone sings along to ‘kicking a blue’.
The shear size of Old Trafford doesn’t help either, especially when the design of the stadium is based upon maximum capacity and not on atmosphere.
However various clubs with big stadiums around Europe have electric atmospheres. Dortmund, Munich and Napoli to name a few. The volume inside these stadiums can be astounding. That is what old Trafford could be and sometimes is. Intimidating for opposition and uplifting for the United team.
Overall I believe a permanent introduction of a singing section (however desperate it looks), along with the talked about ‘safe standing areas’ will contribute to a better atmosphere at Old Trafford, which will not only help the team on the pitch, but more importantly make the day more enjoyable for both the regulars and the day trippers, which at the end of the day is what’s it’s all about isn’t it?