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Just as the confusion chaos of who could manage Man United out of the doldrums looked like it was clearing, Manchester United fans prepare for their team’s first Wembley final in six years in the Carabao Cup, only to be completely confused again – only this time not once but TWICE over.

The first confusion is straightforward and a result of the unpredictability of any knockout competition. It has become understood over the decades that anyone saying they support ‘United’, means they are fans of the red half of Manchester. But what happens when they come up against another United – like their fellow finalists, Newcastle United, this weekend? What can they shout to cheer on their own United without confusing themselves?


And – more importantly – why has Manchester United Football Club been shortened to simply ‘United’? The reason is intrinsically linked with the Red Devils’ fan base, according to Professor Tor Kinshite from the Academy of Sports Intelligence Facts (ASIF).

Professor Tor Kinshite at his desk

“The vast majority of their diehard fan base has no idea how to say ‘Manchester’, let alone know where it is,” he explained. “Expecting them to say the place name is daft. They can far more easily say ‘United’ and understand each other, be they from a small fan outpost like Kettering or from a main fan club like Singapore.”

It is clear United have managed to make fans globally feel, er, united. It was a genius move from their (London-based) marketing people. But what about a club like their Carabao Cup final opposition, Newcastle United? Do they mind not being known as United? Professor Kinshite is adamant.

“Certainly not. Our ASIF survey showed that Newcastle fans are proud of their team, their city, and the local nature of their fanbase. It’s there in black and white. It’s like a religion to them. Look at St. James’ Park – on a hill right in the centre of the city – like a cathedral.”


KAF asked the Professor how he thinks the final will go. “I’m not a fan of either side,” he said, “so can’t say what the score will be. What I do know is that the stadium will be packed for two reasons. Firstly, Newcastle fans haven’t been to a final for over 15 years and, secondly, it will be equally crammed with Manchester United fans because it is so close to Heathrow.”


The confusion for United’s global mix of fans going to Wembley doesn’t stop with ‘Which United are you?’. On arrival, they’ll encounter another obstacle. The EFL have announced that there’ll be sections in the ground where fans can stand if they buy seats.

Unsurprisingly, that makes absolutely no sense to anyone.

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