Why do people hate Manchester United?

Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world, and the second most successful team in England. With 20 league titles and three European Cups, they are clear domestically but only short of Liverpool’s six Champions Leagues. Par for the course, one would imagine that sustaining that level of dominance which they have for a long period of time is incredible and extremely difficult. So why do people hate Manchester United?

Why do people hate Manchester United? Dominating the Premier League for all of the 90’s and most of the 00’s means that Manchester United are hated by rival fans, it gets very boring with the same team winning over and over again.

Thanks to Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United dominated the Premier League for decades with consummate ease. Now that they’ve fallen off their perch, it is much easier for haters to lap up their current short-comings. Poetically, the Red Devils have failed to win a Premier League title since Alex Ferguson departed the club in 2013.

The highly-competitive nature of the Premier League means a minimum of four teams have battled for the title down the years. As you would expect, the manner in which United blitzed to many of their titles upset a number of fanbases. Now, their recent lack of success means the aura and fear factor has left United, rival fans love to hate Man United. With that in mind, we would be looking into four reasons why people hate Man United, despite their ‘success’ as a club.

Fergie Time

Having spent 27 years in charge of the Red Devils, the Scottish godfather amassed 13 Premier League titles and obviously stood the test of time with officiating.

The term ‘Fergie Time’ originated from Ferguson’s knack of winning games at the death of the game. During his long United tenure, opposition fans would notice a trend where Man Utd would be given a substantial amount of stoppage time if they were not winning or in a losing position – giving them more chance to win the game.

Ex-Premier League referee Graham Poll weighed in on the debate and admitted the pressure on referees differs at various grounds.

“I think it would be too easy to just say it’s rubbish. When you analyse and think psychologically what happens, the pressure that’s on you at Old Trafford or the Emirates or Stamford Bridge, the pressure that is implied upon you must have an effect, even if subconsciously.”

United have scored many memorable ‘Fergie Time’ goals in their history. Most notable being Steve Bruce’s stoppage time winner which won United’s first Premier League title in 1992/93 after seven minutes added time, as well as Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s match-winning act in added time of the 1999 Champions League final, to mention a few.

Rival fans pushed the agenda that United were always favored by referees due to the ‘influence’ of Sir Alex Ferguson and that truly made some hate the Manchester outfit the more.

Pride & Arrogance

Manchester United have been the most successful club in the Premier League era, hence, their fans fully utilized the time at the top by poking fun at the other clubs and their supporters. Most of the current hatred is just some sort of payback when they are down.

The rival fans also feel there is an overwhelming sense of entitlement by United supporters.

Well, who can blame them? We all would probably do the same. It just makes their current predicament for pleasurable viewing.

The perceived arrogance of United supporters also extends to their players down the years. The likes of Eric Cantona, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimović are stars filled with self-confidence who have stomped at Old Trafford down the years.

This ‘arrogant’ nature of these superstars annoys rival fans especially when they back it up with lifting trophies for the Red Devils.

The United faithful also regard pantomime villains like Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney as legends. Players almost everyone else would love to hate, were there to lift title upon title in the face of their haters. Good riddance.

Refereeing decisions 

Largely similar to ‘Fergie time’ mentioned above, the Mancunians have famously been accused of influencing the decisions of referees, with Howard Webb in particular under the spotlight having been considered close to United.

Sir Alex Ferguson turned United into a team that got its own way all the time. His team’s constant abuse towards referees led to United getting plenty of favourable decisions over his time.

From standing on the touchline with a stopwatch, to making comments in the media, Ferguson successfully created an aura around Manchester United – pressurizing referees and the authorities to ensure he got his own way.

He was able to build this through his longevity and familiarity with the disciplinary procedure. 

Many a time it, appeared referees got nervous and seemed to second-guess when making decisions around the penalty area at Old Trafford.

This conspiracy lingers to date, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s current side responsible for the most spot-kicks in 2020/21 and have been on the lucky side of several red card calls.

Sir Alex Ferguson

Without him Manchester United would be nothing. It is that simple; the entire success of Manchester United is down to Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Old Trafford side are a big club, no doubt. But they are not a superpower in world football like Liverpool or Real Madrid. The success of Liverpool, for instance, was not merely the work of a single manager, but spanned across four different men in Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Kenny Dalglish.

Ferguson’s winning mentality and dominance rubbed off on his players as the rest of the country watched and prayed for it all to end. Their aggressive reign as the best team in England infuriated rivals for decades.

 Impressively, the Scotsman was able to create a perfect siege mentality within his squad against the constant deriders. That’s why he was the best for decades, and one of the best of all time.

However, the influential manager did leave a raging debate as to whether he was as good as many claimed he was or just rode his luck at the time. For those who came to be rival supporters just around the same time Ferguson stepped foot at Old Trafford, they will all admit the Scotsman made life unbearable for them.


Life long Portsmouth Fan and have followed football since 1993. Is there a better sport on earth?

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