They say never feed the troll and by writing the below I guess I’m doing just that. However, there seem to be a few “super reds” determined to spread lies about me, and more importantly destabilise The United Stand, so I thought I’d feed the troll with so much truth it chokes.
It’s a sad state of affairs that it’s always Manchester United fans who are determined to cause trouble and try to shut The United Stand, especially when it’s sole purpose is to be an independent fan channel where fans can really say what they think about the club they love. When we started the channel we never anticipated just how severe the infighting and hate was amongst some United fans. Without doubt we have some of the best football fans in the world but as with any large group there’s a vocal minority determined to ruin it for others.
I’m not naming names – I don’t know most of them – so where their hate and disdain for something that has only ever been an outlet for United fans to share their views comes from I don’t know? But what is clear, is these people are absolutely determined to shut us up. Why? I could speculate and say they have their fingers in other outlets that would benefit from a United fanbase with no United Stand in it? Or maybe they just can’t stand the look of my aids victim face and would like to repeatedly kick my alien head in – just a sprinkle of the torrent of abuse I get from fans of our own club whom I’ve never met, spoken to, or given them reason to dislike me for, other than present a show that talks about the club we all apparently love…..
Which brings me nicely on to one of the main reasons for writing this piece. Apparently I don’t support Manchester United. Some Columbo detective types have been trawling the internet and old tweets – I don’t know whether to be proud or worried that there are actually people out there spending hours of their time researching me but each to their own, some people spend hours every week watching Jeremy Kyle – and they’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a Forest fan….
I say Columbo types but that’s undoubtedly doing a major disservice to the cunning raincoat wearing American sleuth. These so called whistle blowers are actually showing all the investigative skills of Dot Cotton in a coma. Because the harsh reality is that the Forest connection doesn’t come from a fake photoshopped website post from 2014 that I apparently wrote…. it comes from a video where I mentioned quite openly my past connection with the Nottingham based club.
So you admitted you’re a Forest fan Mark? I hear the handful of people who will actually read this article cry – one of which will be my Gran – and that’ll be the Alzheimer’s kicking in. No I’m not a Forest fan. The Forest fan angle is just the twist the haters want to spin to try and discredit The United Stand. To which I’d quickly like to make this point. I’ve always been vocal that The United Stand is the fans channel. Obviously as the presenter I am the main face of the channel as things stand – no pun intended. However, I’ve made no secret of my desire to take a step back in the next couple of years. Like any decent football team it’s important to freshen things up with new talent and leadership and that is the vision for The United Stand. So if these dissenters think that by discrediting me they’ll achieve their true aim of silencing an independent fan channel that’s sole aim has always been to give football fans a voice in a football world dominated by money and greed. They’re in for a shock. The United Stand is here to stay. It’s never been about me and it never will be. So many people have and continue to contribute to making this channel what it is. Some of them you will know and some of them choose to keep their names out of the public eye. But their efforts and dedication to the cause are immense.
“Stop dodging the subject you fraudulent Forest Fan and get to the point!” I hear my Gran cry – the other four readers have given up by this stage. Well the point is this, and I apologise for those who watched the video a few months ago and have heard all this before. I grew up in Nottingham. My Grandfather, from whom my passion for football was born, idolised Duncan Edwards. Not because he was born a Manchester United fan but because in the fifties a side emerged that even in a time before television captured the imagination of a nation. A young side comprising the best youth talent from around the United Kingdom was making history. Because of that innovative, new and exciting approach to football many new United fans around the country were born and many many more would be drawn to the club in the immediate aftermath of the Munich tragedy. Although as my Grandad always said, they would never get to see play the fantastic talents the club lost that fateful day.
I can hand on heart profess that the only reason I support United is because of my Grandad. If he hadn’t been so passionate about the club and how it rose from the ashes of tragedy to greatness there’d have been no influence on me to mould me in to the United fan I am today.
Mark Goldbridge the Forest Fan…
But what a reason to support Manchester United. Some support them because they’re born in Manchester or because they saw a United game and fell in love with the club. Some like Alex, support them because they fell in love with David Bellion – or it might have been Beckham? I support them because my Grandad idolised Duncan Edwards and the Busby Babes.
It’s not a competition though and that’s where I believe a lot of this hate comes from. Some of the criticism of The United Stand comes from those who believe they are superior over those of us who aren’t from Manchester and don’t go to games. Personally, I’ve never been in to fan superiority, mainly because it’s total nonsense to suggest a fan from Manchester matters or feels it more than one from Essex or Australia. I agree that nothing compares to watching football live and our match going support, especially the loyal away support, is undoubtedly the best in the country. But to say you’re a better fan because you go to games is ridiculous. I know fans who go to Old Trafford every game simply to wine and dine clients. The reality is it’s what’s in your heart that matters not where you park your backside.
So why after all of the above do some fans say I’m a Forest fan? Because they want to discredit me and by association The United Stand, is the short answer. They took something I openly discussed with our viewers in a video a few months ago and have twisted it to try and bury the channel.
To repeat that truth I spoke in that video a few months ago. I’m from Nottingham, my Mum – a United fan – and Dad – a Chelsea fan – don’t ask – separated when I was seven and on the weekends when I used to go to my Dad’s he started taking me to Forest games. We’d never been before and when he married again I didn’t go again. But for a few years in between we used to go quite regularly. I’ve asked him about this and his explanation was that he knew I loved football and it was something to do when we visited at the weekend. Like I said above, you can’t beat live football and as a young boy I got to see some great players in that couple of years.
Amongst those games I saw the likes of Gazza, Waddle, Hoddle, Lineker live. I got to regular witness one of the greatest manager’s that ever lived in Brian Clough, and I saw some things I never ever want to see again.
The late eighties wasn’t a particularly family friendly environment at football matches, the mood was edgy and quite often there was trouble. Most of the games I went to were at the City ground – Forest ground – but the FA Cup mattered in those days and when it came to an FA Cup quarter final between United and Forest at Old Trafford near my birthday I begged my Dad to take me. He obliged and I experienced a day I’ll never forget. My first visit to Old Traffford. We arrived late because of traffic but the atmosphere, the old Stretford end with the Wonderfuel Gas logo along the top. It was amazing for a young boy to experience and whether you crave the good old days or revel in the fact we’ll never go back to the hooligan culture, I have to say the atmosphere was nothing like we’ll ever see again in football grounds. The edge was slightly taken off the day by a Garry Parker goal for Forest in a one nil win but the bonus was a semi final against Liverpool at Hillsbrough.
I grew up with a few Liverpool fans in my class and even back then my dislike for them ran deep. So the prospect of going and watching Forest knock them out was one I was looking forward to. Of course what I would actually witness from the Forest end of the ground was a tragedy that no football fan will ever be allowed to forget.
People often ask what do I remember of the day and if I’m honest alot of it I try not to, the ground was on lockdown for what felt like a couple of hours afterwards and having front row seats to the horror that was unfolding in front of us was something I’ll never forget. Of course the tragedy is all about the people who lost their lives , their families and the people of Liverpool. But there were thousands of people in the ground that day, many of which weren’t from Liverpool, and I’m sure every single one of them carry round those memories with them to this day.
So that’s my Forest connection. I don’t support them. I was lucky enough to go and watch them for a few years in the late eighties and I don’t regret those opportunities. The last time I went to a Forest game was 1989. I continued to grow up and live in Nottingham until I was nineteen and never once went to watch my local team play again, despite a number of my school friends being Forest fans and going down their most weekends. United were and are my club and that will never change for the reasons stated above.
Let the haters hate. Let them photoshop websites declaring me as something I’m not. Let them produce old tweets from two years ago where I was winding some Forest and Liverpool fans up about how the old European cup between 1970 and 1985 was so easy it was like winning the Auto Windscreens cup. The truth is what is written above.
For those who’ve been asking about the Forest fan comm
ents I hope the above explains it. For those who think I am a Forest fan I look forward to attending the Oscars in February and receiving my award as best Actor. Because to spend the last two years talking as in depth and passionately about United as I have with all of you would take acting skills of epic proportions.
As I always say, I’ll talk United with anyone. I have no issues with anyone. And I certainly don’t spend my live hating on people. Life is too short and hatred clouds your judgement.
Thank as always. Mark Goldbridge