Why do so many people support
Manchester United in Finland?

Before you start to read this, this is NOT from the point of view of a Chelsea fan but the point of view of a FOOTBALL fan. It has nothing to do with the fact that John Terry missed ’that’ penalty in Moscow or the last game we lost 3-1. Honestly…

Although they are very popular in the UK it seems there’s not a country in the world where they aren’t the best ’supported’ premier league team and it’s no exception here in Finland. I wonder why?

For example, a few weeks ago I said to a  (Manchester United fan) business friend of mine: ”Are you coming to watch the big game tonight”. ”No thanks, there’s no good games on today.” I said: ” Well, I’ll be watching Man Utd v Chelsea live so feel free to join me”.

He did come and watch the game but I didn’t. I went somewhere else to watch it. But, I did get the usual text message after they won ( 3-1, bloody Torres ) to say how great Man Utd are. I didn’t answer. Happy days.

So, why do so many people support Manchester United in Finland? I hadn’t really thought about it very much until watching the game last week between Liverpool and Man Utd. When Liverpool scored the place went really quiet, except a little ’YES’ ( I’d had a bet) from me. When Utd scored the roof almost came off the pub and the lady working there actually said she was scared.

Q, Is it because all Finns are secretly from Manchester?
A, No, that’s not even an excuse for supporting them in England.

Q, Is it because Uncle Erkki from Jämsä was a big fan when they were young?
A, Doubt it.

Q, Is it because lots of Finns have played for them?
A, I don’t know any. Liverpool, yes. I can understand those fans of Hyypiä and King Litti choosing them as a team to follow. Although I don’t see a sudden rush to support Arsenal now Carl Jenkinson is playing for them full time. Maybe it’s because they’re not very good this year?

Q, Is it because they are always on TV over here?
A, I don’t think so… Most of the big teams from the premier league are.

Q, Is it because they are very, very successful  and people want a part of that glory?

Finland is a massive sporting country both in people actively doing sport or watching it on TV or at the stadiums. The hockey fans are happy after smashing Sweden (did anyone read about that?) and the basketball  fans are happy  after a fantastic Eurobasket 2011 (although thanks to the media nobody read about that).

But the F1, athletics and football fans are not happy (although Mixu seems to be getting a good team together and, in my opinion, should qualify for a major tournament in the next 6/7 years).

But, at the moment there’s no drivers competing and the under-achieving national  football team are always flattering to deceive. I think it’s just a confidence problem. They can do it, they can win. Can someone tell them please.

So, is this why? Does this group of people need some joy in their sporting lives? Someone to cheer for who actually has a chance of winning? Is it wanting to belong? You know, ”my mate supports Man Utd so i thought I would.”

I think it’s an interesting subject and I look forward to hearing what other people think. I’d like to write more but I need to write a preview for ncbets.com about how Man City can and will beat Man Utd this weekend…

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