Harry Maguire: Fans could have changed our season
Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire believes the presence of supporters might have altered the course of the Reds’ season.
Maguire was speaking to the official matchday programme, United Review, ahead of our match with Fulham on Tuesday (kick-off 18:00 BST), where around 10,000 supporters will return to the Theatre of Dreams for the first time in 14 months.
And, while the centre-half cannot wait to play in front of the Red Army again as he is ruled out with an ankle injury, he suggested that our season could have been even better in ‘normal’ circumstances.
“There have been games where we’ve needed them,” admitted the club captain. “We’ve drawn 0-0 far too many times this season.
“Would the fans have given us that boost, that little bit of energy, that spark to change the momentum and to go and get a winner? You don’t know. But we can’t wait to get them back.“We’ve done our best over a period, but fans make football and the atmosphere they create, you can’t create it yourself. So to get them back in this stadium, even if it’s a small minority, is better than nothing.”
“You only have to look at the statistics to see that,” replied Harry. “The energy a full Old Trafford gives the boys, and the intimidation that they give the opposition team, is going to make a difference, for sure. You still feel at home when you play at Old Trafford, but it’s not the same.
“The fans can definitely help swing the momentum in games. It only takes a corner, a set-play, and the fans get right behind you and the momentum swings.”
And, of course, fans can not only help to swing games, but add a certain, unquantifiable magic to great moments of celebration within football matches – something which Maguire has also missed.
“The Leeds home game would have been such a great spectacle with the atmosphere they could have created. The second half of the Roma game, I couldn’t imagine how the atmosphere would have been.
“It means absolutely everything to us as players. One thing we’ve realised through this pandemic is how much fans mean to football and how much fans mean to this football club. Pretty soo,n we can have Old Trafford rocking and a full stadium again – that’s what we’ve got to aim for.”
You can read Harry’s interview in full within the Fulham issue of United Review. Purchase your copy by clicking here or access the programme for free if you are a season-ticket holder.