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Igniting The Atmosphere Inside Old Trafford: Manchester United Consider Options

"Old Trafford Manchester United" (CC BY 2.0) by Paolo Camera.
Manchester United has a problem - but it’s not necessarily on the pitch. You could call the 2017/2018 season a unique one for the 13-time Premier League winners. Progress has been made despite wrangling from critics bemoaning the lack of Alex Ferguson-era attacking flair. Were it not for a phenomenal season from the Pep Guardiola-led Manchester City, and a couple of forgettable defeats, Utd would be battling for the title.


But when results don’t go your way, problems seem to appear from the woodwork. Be that the unhappiness of certain players, dressing room bust-ups, or, as we saw in one of Jose Mourinho’s press conferences, 12-minute monologues about past glory and heritage. Now the focus has centred on the atmosphere – or lack of – inside Old Trafford.

The club developed a “singing section” designed to encourage the crowd to join them in recognisable chants, but this has seemingly failed to produce the expected results. The section was recently moved from the north-east corner to the south-east where it appeared to perform better but even this success has been downplayed by those that feel its artificiality is “all that is wrong with modern football”.

Now, song sheets handed out as fans enter the ground are being considered to liven up the atmosphere inside the Theatre of Dreams. But is it another form of manufactured “support”? The disparity in quality between the top divisions in England and Scotland might be best highlighted by Scott Sinclair, named PFA Scotland Players’ Player of the Year last season, given little chance by pundits of making England’s squad for Russia for the 2018 World Cup, according to Oddschecker. But the same can’t be said for the leagues’ respective atmospheres. Teams like Manchester United are crying out for the sort of noise generated at Scottish champions Celtic’s home games, especially when they play local rivals Rangers.

But you can’t manufacture that kind of atmosphere. It’s based on years of rivalry. It’s in the fans’ blood. So, what can teams like Manchester United do when they’re playing, for instance, a lunchtime game against a mid-table team from the south coast?

"Iowa State Cyclone Cheerleaders" (CC BY 2.0) by SD Dirk
There’s the dreaded vuvuzela, that annoying horn that populated the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Or English clubs could try a North American favourite – the cheerleader. Crystal Palace has its own cheerleading troupe which says adds to the “unique atmosphere inside the stadium”.

Continental European teams also get their stadium announcer or elected megaphone enthusiast to conduct supporters. English clubs could also, instead of singing sections and song sheets, try stadium brass bands to get the singing going and soften any quieter moments.

Of course, there’s always one thing a club like Manchester United could do. It’s a tried and trusted method and has never failed to work. Score! Maybe the fans have been looking across the city to their local rivals, seeing the sheer amount of goals they’ve been scoring, and wondering why Utd can’t match them. It is enough to quieten any Old Trafford devotee.

Maybe the pundits do know something Mourinho has chosen to ignore? Play with attacking flair to pepper the opposition goal and they’ll be no needed for singing sections, song sheets or the vuvuzela!
votes: 1
Article Added: 29 Mar 2018, 13:20 pm GMT
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