Stretford End season-ticket holder and United Review editor, Paul Davies, urges fans to show their colours at the Barcelona home game…
The last time I wore colours to the match was as a skinny 17-year-old Mark Hughes fan, still giddy with the euphoria of Rotterdam ’91 and starting to believe that finally the championship drought might be coming to an end.
For years I thought nothing of wearing my shirt to games, but had become increasingly puzzled as to why so many clearly passionate, diehard Reds of my age chose not to.
I remember reading the terms ‘scarfer’ and ‘shirter’ [colloquialisms for fans who wear scarves and replica shirts] in the fanzines, and heard them used increasingly as I went to more and more away games. It was clear that to a large portion of what you’d call United’s hardcore support, of which my mates and I were now thinking ourselves very much a part, wearing a shirt or scarf to the match was deemed uncool, not the done thing.
So I stopped wearing my psychedelic ‘Rave on, Sharpie’ blue away shirt, unless for playing five-a-side, and my scarf is still in a cupboard at home somewhere, possibly moth bitten and almost certainly in need of a good wash.
But I’ll be giving it that overdue rinse for the Barcelona game.
To those who wear their scarves religiously to every game the thought of not doing so is probably a puzzling one, so I’ll try to explain my take on it because what started out as me following the crowd has very much become a conscious decision.
For years a small pin badge was the extent of my open display of support and there have certainly been times when not wearing colours has been an advantage, mainly on trips to places like Elland Road, Anfield, Maine Road, and Upton Park.
I’ve always taken the attitude that as long as I play my part vocally, what I wear doesn’t really come into it. Plus, I know I support United so why do I need to tell people about it?
But for the Barcelona home game I’ll be breaking the habits of the past 15 years, because fans can really make a difference. European nights at Old Trafford are always special occasions, and this one is as big a European game as we’ve had in years - a show of colours can only add to it.