The 'amazing journey' of Manchester United Women's Supporters' Club

Friday 17 November 2023 10:33

Old Trafford will host its biggest crowd for a Manchester United Women game on Sunday, when the first Manchester derby of the WSL season takes place.

It's the latest indication of the incredible growth of the women's game and, of course, the rising popularity of our own team, which finished second last term and also reached the FA Cup final.
This weekend's meeting with our local rivals Manchester City is an important moment not only for Marc Skinner's side, but also our loyal Manchester United Women's Supporters' Club, which will celebrate its five-year anniversary on the same day as the match.
"It's been an amazing journey," according to Marc Henry, who is the group's secretary.
Marc (left) getting behind the team at last season's women's FA Cup final.
He takes up the story: 
"At the very beginning, we just went to watch a team. There was a group of us all huddled together, singing the same songs, and that was really the birth of the supporters' club in its infancy. 
"I remember there was maybe about 10 of us, just singing songs. I think it might have been the second home game in 2018, against Sheffield United. That was, for me, where it all began and started. You look to where we are now... it's just amazing. Today we've had our 550th member join us!"
Growth has been near continual since those early days, helped by a variety of factors.
"Year on year – with the exception of Covid – our membership numbers have always gone up," he notes. "Obviously, last season, with the Lionesses winning the Euros, that obviously jumped the numbers as well. 
"But this year, we've already beaten last year's total completely, partly because of what the team did last season on the pitch, but also there have been some coming through from the Trailblazers film. I think people could see that we are just so inclusive of everyone. It showed our journey going to games and everything else, which was great. The women's team has its own core fanbase and I don't think the other women's teams have that." 
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Hopes are high that the growth can continue, but Henry accepts that much of the future depends on the success of the team itself. Encouragingly, the Reds lead City by two points heading into Sunday's game (16:30 GMT), and Marc is feeling optimistic about the campaign ahead.
"Any supporters' club, it depends on the success of the team on the field, and I think with the team we've currently got now, we're only going to get better and better," he says. 
"But the one thing we can't do as a supporters' club is sit down and go: 'Well, that's it, job done.' We have to now keep pushing to think of new ways to get members involved, and things for our members. I think that's where we've been unique: in thinking of our members.
"On Sunday, there's going to be a pre-match shirt presentation [to mark MUWSC's anniversary]. Instead of it just being the committee and the board, we've actually invited members to be a part of it. Some of them have been there from day one, some are newer members. We're trying to constantly push ourselves to be better and do better things for the members."
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And as for the game itself?
"I don't like Manchester derbies!" he chuckles. "It's the one game of the season where I get nervous, [because] City are our local rivals. But I think the rest of the committee and all of the people that we spend our time with, we'll just have a laugh. The result will be the result! 
"All we can do is do what we have been doing for the last five years: supporting the team. And that's what we'll be doing on Sunday."