As Manchester United’s fan base increases so does the friction between fans.

As Manchester United’s fan base increases so does the friction between fans. The United fan base ticker has passed the 650 million mark and this brings with it new challenges for fans of Manchester United. Take a look at forums, blogs and websites and you will see Manchester United fans questioning the status of fellow Reds.

Many United fans now feel that they need to withdraw their membership card from their wallet, their season ticket from their chest pocket, and show their battle scars from warring with Scousers. It is important to remember those that have gone before us, the ones that have sat in the Stretford End long before Sir Alex was at United, it is important to remember the legends before the times of Cantona, Beckham, Scholes and Giggs. This history is what defines our great club and respecting those fans, those legends and that history is key to being a United fan. No longer does the term ‘Manchester United fan’ have the same meaning it carried in the 70’s and 80’s. It means so much more now.

It is time the old school realised the times have changed since the 70’s and 80’s. United is a global brand and a global family. It is nothing without its fans who support United with the same passion as those that walk the streets of Manchester every weekend.

75,000 people cram into Old Trafford every home game. There are those that are not able to be there. The fans in London, America, Kenya and Asia. Those great fans long to be at Old Trafford every weekend, to sing the songs with the fans and to breather in the air around Old Trafford. Those fans hate United’s rivals and wish United every success in what they do. Those fans are not “fake” Reds, they have the same deep passion for United that we all do.

In an ever increasingly technological world that drives the Premier League and its exposure, fans are now able to watch the same United matches as those Reds in Manchester. More often than not, watching United from afar results in great sacrifice to sleep and daily routines. The foreign fan has just as much right to share an opinion and verbalise their feelings as those fans in Manchester. It is important to remember that Reds that go to Old Trafford or to watch United do so with great expense. Therefore, it can be hard to deal with overseas abuse from fans criticising the Old Trafford crowd or a player’s performance on the pitch.

To question a fans loyalty to his team is next to spitting in his face. There is no issue with fans supporting United from afar. I have a friend that moved further north in England. He was telling me that when he went to school he heard about this team from Manchester. They played with pride, passion and loved football. He was telling me that he wanted to join with his friends in supporting United. The young boys wouldn’t let him and bullied him at school because he was a ‘southerner’ and didn’t fit in. His Mum supported United so why couldn’t he? My mate supported United regardless because of his desire to be accepted and be a part of the United family. He was attracted to United long before he watched them on television. It was the aura that comes with Manchester United.

The overseas fans that are attracted to United because of what the club stands for: relentless success, the club being bigger than any individual, hard work, passion and pride are what attracts fans to United long before they see them play on television. That is what is so beautiful about United. It’s not the glory or the success; it’s much more than that. Every fan has a reason for supporting United, it should never be questioned.

We all know who the fake United fans are. United shirts come out when they’re winning, highlights were watched on television the next day and every summer they become interested in who United buy.

If United fans have the same passion as me and my friends do in New Zealand, to wake up in the early hours of the morning every weekend and cheer their team on with the same passion as if they were at Old Trafford, then I am happy.

Being a United fan is a magical thing. Let’s not spoil it with silly squabbles. If you say you’re a Red till you die, you’re a Red till you die.