I live in Boston, Massachusetts but grew up in Arkansas, knowing little about soccer (football, I know!). I never played it. There are two things from my youth that I can remember having anything to do with soccer.
In 1994, I had a German World Cup cap that I bought on sale from JCPenney. Also, my little brother played a season or two at the age where the only position that exists is “chase the ball, no matter what.” Needless to say, I was clueless about the greatest club in the world.
Fast forward to 2017, when the red shirts of Manchester United caught the attention of my kids when we watched our first Premier League Mornings. As my children were gaining interest in the game, we started watching and had to pick a team to pull for during each match. For me, it had to be United.
Before long, I was regularly reading Manchester Evening News articles online (for better or worse!) and beginning to care way too much about a club, in a sport I didn’t know, from a city in a country I’d never been to. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I was hooked.
In fact, our whole family is … except my three-year-old who appreciates Mo Salah, a little too much. Three out of four kids isn’t bad, right?
Let’s fast forward through the arrival of Sanchez, the sacking of Mourinho, the hiring of Ole and multiple disappointing transfer windows. In November 2019, I attended my first Premier League fixture at Old Trafford to watch United win 3-1 over Brighton and Hove Albion. I know what you’re thinking: Brandon Williams and I both got our first starts at United on the same day. You’re right! Bright futures ahead.
So now I’m with you all. “We love United … We do!”
But I’m new. I’ve walked through the museum and seen the trophies, but I wasn’t watching when they were won. I’m learning about the rivalries, but haven’t seen the classic games. I know some of the names, but haven’t watched the George Best 30 for 30 yet.
In short, I’m learning. But I’m guessing that I’m not the only one. I feel certain there’s a bunch of people like me, who are all-in on United but still learning the game, the club, and what songs are safe to sing with your pre-teen kids. I’m looking forward to writing, learning and enjoying this great sport as a new fan of the greatest club in the world!