No sooner – and probably well before – full-time on Monday, attention had already turned to Wednesday evening at Old Trafford. Everything is riding on the Manchester derby, and the Daily Mirror‘s David Maddock is here for an early preview.
‘The idea that Manchester United fans WANT their team to lose to City tomorrow has become an enduring theme in recent months.’
And Mediawatch is yet to come across a single United supporter who genuinely fits that bill and isn’t just trying to wind people up on social media. Carry on.
‘They would rather be relegated than hand the title to Liverpool, the narrative goes.’
It really, really doesn’t. We cannot possibly stress that enough. It just doesn’t. Neither the narrative nor the truth.
‘Anyone but Liverpool. Manchester City stars have heard the stories that their derby opponents will be urged by the Old Trafford faithful to roll over.’
If United fans that actively want to lose to City on Wednesday do actually exist, they can hardly be called ‘the Old Trafford faithful’. They aren’t going to turn up in droves to cheer them on at the stadium, are they?
‘They have been told in the street by United fans they will be Blues for a night.’
Right, that’s about enough. Is there any proof of all this?
‘City defender Kyle Walker is expecting a backlash from United, no matter what Reds fans might wish for.
Here we go…
‘”United fans are in a difficult situation,” he said. “When I’m out and about or walking my dogs, United fans are coming up to me saying, ‘We’d rather City win the league than Liverpool.”
Here is a list of things that sounds like:
- That some United fans Kyle Walker has spoken to would rather City win the league than Liverpool if offered the chance with all context removed.
Here is a list of things that does not sound like:
- United fans ‘WANT their team to lose to City’ on Wednesday.
- United fans will ‘urge’ them ‘to roll over’ on Wednesday.
- United fans ‘will be Blues for a night’.
- United fans ‘would rather be relegated than hand the title to Liverpool’. Narrative or otherwise.
Mediawatch does not doubt that United fans dread the idea of Liverpool winning the league, and find the thought of City retaining the title more palatable. Mediawatch does, however, doubt that United fans actively want their team to lose a game at home to a bitter rival while Champions League qualification remains in the balance.