We’ll be back to your regularly scheduled Manchester United news ‘n views in a bit, but I wanted to introduce myself properly before I got too far, and I also wanted to learn a little more about the great community we have here on RR.
Whichever part of the world we live in, however long we’ve been following the club, and whatever our individual views are on players, tactics, results, on down to the kits, we’re all here for the same reason: because we’re passionate about Manchester United.
It all had to start somewhere, and here’s how it happened for me. It took time, but the fire just needed the right opporrunity to be stoked.
Growing up in the southeastern U.S., my first loves were naturally what I was most exposed to – baseball, basketball, and American football. But football and me were always meant to be, and the same can be said for my love for United.
When I was nine, I was introduced to the ‘other’ football, thanks to World Cup ’94. I was immediately drawn in, despite the lack of cable TV in our home meant I only saw a handful of matches.
And by saw, I mean listened to. A few years prior, I’d spilled a drink all over our black and white, and as a new TV wasn’t a top priority for a single mother raising two kids on her own, actual TV watching was rare (safe to say I’ve never put a cup on top of a TV since). So, you could say I fell in love with football sight unseen.
MAfter the World Cup was over, I built on my interest as best as possible, buying FIFA games for my Game Boy and following MLS when it kicked off in 1995. The World Cup came around again in ’98, and with my own black and white now, soaked it all up again.
Still, I only got to feed my footy fix in small, irregular doses, and it dropped on my list of interests for a while. Then when I was 16, I got my first computer. I rekindled my relationship with FIFA, and when World Cup 2002 rolled around, I was able to follow closer than before, thanks to the internet.
But that wasn’t enough. I wanted to learn more, to get my fix more often, but I didn’t know where to start. Then, one random day a few months after the World Cup, I decided to take a look at expanding myself beyond the world of FIFA, which was great fun but didn’t satisfy my desire for the in-depth, career mode-style play that I liked to have with sports games.
Enter Football Manager, or Championship Manager as it still was. I procured the 2000/01, 2001/02, and 20002/03 editions…and proceeded to let them sit, unplayed, uninstalled for a good while. Then one day, I decided to give 20001/02 a whirl, started an English league game, and when it came time to choose my team, I took what limited knowledge I had withnames (knew Beckham, knew Roy Keane, and knew of and thought Ruud van Nistelrooy’s name was just awesome) and picked Manchester United.
See, for years, I’d played FIFA not truly knowing much at all outside of the basics and top players like Zidane, Beckham, Owen, and Ronaldo. My only experience with club football was MLS, and so I didn’t really know anything about European clubs or leagues, the Champions League, or promotion and relegation. I just loved watching.
But for the sake of being able to really play and enjoy the game, I felt it was time to learn, to really learn the beautiful game inside and out like I knew my other favorite sports, and I wanted to learn more about the team I was playing with.
As I dived into the game and quickly immersed myself into United’s ongoing season, it didn’t take long to suck me in. All of this came about as United were making their run to overtake Arsenal to win the title in 2003, and it was absolutely amazing to see the way they erased the deficit to win the title.
Fast forward seven-plus years later, and I’ve only become more rabid as time’s passed. I haven’t touched FIFA or Football Manager much in the last few years, but I’ve been busy expanding my knowledge and love of the game and of United, and it’s safe to say I’m a full-on fanatic. Beckham, Keane, and RVN have all moved on, but my interest hasn’t and won’t.
I was even able to turn my last girlfriend into a United fan, to the point where she learned players well, would be as into the matches as me, could tell me what I missed if I had to leave the room at any time, and understood when I pouted after poor results.
To be able to write about my favorite team in my favorite sport is something I’m all too excited to be able to do, and I hope I can share my passion here for a long time.
Now that I’ve told my story about how I came to be a United fan, I’d like to get yours. Where did it start for you, and why do you love the club? What’s your favorite United-related memory? What match is most memorable for you?
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