There seems to be something unnatural in the psyche of English football fans, something abnormal. Here we had Chelsea playing their heart out for the prestige of English football in the European Champions League semi final against Barcelona and some English fans where openly jubilant when they lost.
Those same fans are hoping and praying for Barcelona to defeat Manchester United in the final in Rome! This mentality seems to be totally ridiculous!
This opinion comes from thousands of miles away in Australia where the attitude is the absolute opposite to that which exists in England. As an example, Adelaide United got into the final of the Asian Champions League Cup Final last season when every single fan in the country was behind them irrespective of club rivalries.
Why is it not the same in England? Has the hatred for rival clubs become so acute?
I still remember the days back in the 70’s when Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and so on were battling against other European giants, the whole of England was willing them on and rightly so.
Late in the game on Wednesday night, I figured that it would suit United better for Barca to get into the final because of the suspensions to two of their key defenders yet when they equalised, I was absolutely shattered for Chelsea.
Will there be the same hostility towards rival club players during the World Cup? I highly doubt it and I certainly hope not.
My love affair with Manchester United began very shortly after I migrated to Australia with my family in 1956.
Football had already been my passion but being isolated in a country where it meant nothing to anyone except fellow migrants, I began following English football closely through subscription magazines like the Charles Buchan Football Monthly and World Soccer which incidentally, I've still got stored away after more than 50 years.
The Munich disaster happened when I was 15 years old and the bond was formed. Matt Busby, Bobby Charlton and others became childhood heroes. The FA Cup was won just 5 years later then, when that was followed by the European Cup in 1968, the love affair was complete!
With George Best in 1991
Throw in legends like Denis Law and George Best into the mix and it’s not hard to imagine why the club became part of my life even though I was living thousands of miles away from Old Trafford.
The many events connected with the club in the years since has only cemented a connection which will remain until the end of my days.