Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are marooned up in Tier 3 somewhere, you’re probably well aware of the singing section’s recent attempt to award Romelu Lukaku his own personalised terrace ditty. Nothing too controversial with that decision, you might assume. Unfortunately, the boundaries of good taste have been well and truly obliterated as the song in question not only acknowledges Romelu’s goal scoring abilities, it also alleges in uproariously graphic detail that his penis size is equally impressive.
A bit weird? Undoubtedly. Was I surprised to hear it? Not in the slightest.
So this month’s burning question then: are the United fans singing this a massive bunch of racists or merely just a bit of an embarrassment? Since we’re living in the era where anything brainless is excused as banter, it’s very unlikely that anyone revelling in the size of another bloke’s cock is not doing it entirely seriously. Consequently, I’m not sure I agree with Marina Hyde’s assertion that all racial stereotyping is racist, but I’d certainly concur that the song is entirely classless and doesn’t reflect well on anyone joining in or United fans in general.
Given that Lukaku has weighed in himself now asking fans to ‘move on’, it’s more than likely the song will die a slow death rather than hanging around forever like the similarly unreconstructed ‘you eat dogs in your own country’ Ji-Sung Park effort. I hope so. Once upon a time attempts to generate an atmosphere at OT didn’t involve marching to the ground from the Tollgate pub whilst singing a song in praise of your leading goalscorer’s penis. I might be a traditionalist lacking a sense of humour, but it just strikes me as a bit fucking zany and needs to be knocked on the head.
It’s not the first time the J-Stand happy clappers have prompted collective groans from many observers and I doubt it’ll be the last. Perhaps I should be full of admiration for people still trying to create an atmosphere in the ground when that ship sailed 20 years ago; but they lost me at the point they called for a new singing section independent of the existing singing section in Tier 2 of the Stretford End. That’s before you get to the fact placing this in J-Stand meant uprooting hundreds of long-standing ST holders in that area. I’m sorry, but any credibility these people ever had evaporated at that point.
Unsurprisingly, 2 years on from their move to J-Stand, the entire venture has been every bit the resounding flop most of us in the ground anticipated. The atmosphere or noise level on an average match day hasn’t improved at all (not helped by the football on view in recent years, admittedly), so the only discernible change is that supporters in the section are given carte blanche to stand for the duration of the game… that and it’s created a safe space for those involved to compare bobble hats and show off their brand new ‘vintage’ Adidas trackie tops.
So let’s re-cap here. A singing section is started in Stretford Tier 2 and it doesn’t work. Singing section is then moved to J-Stand, and again it doesn’t work. Unperturbed by this, it appears the organisers haven’t given up. An email has recently been circulated to their members outlining details of the latest meeting the group’s leaders have had with Dan Schofield, the Head of Venue Operations at OT. As well as blaming ‘day trippers’ for the general lack of atmosphere in there week-to-week, they are also lobbying United to free up a block of unreserved seats in J-Stand so the singiest of their singers can all sit/stand together. Yes, you did read that correctly. Their latest brainwave is to create a further singing section within the singing section that was put in place 2 years ago.
I’m sorry lads, but do you honestly believe that this latest round of proposals is going to work? You’ve already usurped 1,600 people who sat in those seats for years and now you’ve decided half of those who replaced them aren’t worthy of a spot in your section either. It’s utterly mental to assume that inconveniencing another several hundred ST holders you class as ‘day trippers’ is going to achieve anything whatsoever other than pissing a load more people off.
Here’s a novel idea, if you’re that motivated and convinced that your time and energies invested in this can make a genuine difference, how about just singing your hearts out at the match and not attempting to dictate who sits where and who’s worthy of a place alongside you? Without wishing to sound patronising, if I sound defeatist it’s because the battle you’re currently engaged in was fought and lost by a generation of United fans who felt just as passionate about this once upon a time as you feel now.
The average age of those people is probably 45-50 these days, and those of us who haven’t been priced out or simply got bored of the gentrification of the place are still going to the match now. We’ve spent most of our football watching lives being told to shut up and sit down by the club and the authorities; so after 20+ years of seeing the match day experience in steady decline the sense of ennui and déjà vu about proceedings becomes palpable.
I don’t know what the answer is here, but I’ll wish you all the best with your endeavours and trust you’ll count your blessings that at least the club are prepared to listen/pay lip service to your present manifesto. In the meantime, I’ll continue to die a little inside each time you launch into another impassioned rendition of ‘whoa whoa whoa whoa, hey hey hey hey’ and trust you’ll try to refrain from singing about Lukaku’s dick given it makes us all look like… well, dicks. Good luck.
Copyright Red News – September 2017