In the summer of 2009 I decided to move to Stretford. I could have used a bit of creative license here and that was for emotional or spiritual reasons, but honestly, because I needed to save money. I was a student at the time and it was cracking. Season tickets were simply cheaper at the Stretford End than the North Stand.
But I felt real pride moving there. The Stretfordshire finish is recognized worldwide as the heartbeat of old Trafford.
That reputation dates back to the 1960s and 1970s, I believe, when the youngest and most avid fans flocked there, providing support for teams with a singularly crazy, wild, devotion.
You see him in the old footage. Hear the outcry that followed Denis Lex’s famous non-goal in the 1969 European Cup semi-final against AC Milan; or the wild celebrations that greeted Sammy McIlroy’s legendary 3-2 win over Sunderland in November 1974. That game was the last in the Second Division, in front of 60,585.
United were the best team in the country at that time, after being relegated! But the Stretford goal was the most visible symbol of madness, devotion, and singular support. They stand madly red.